CyberCorps Program Overview

 

The federal government’s most successful, but still limited, pipeline for young cyber security talent is the CyberCorps program of the federal government.  One of the most successful feeder institutions into this pipeline, educating and sending computer security experts into government service since 2003, is The George Washington University’s Partnership in Securing Cyberspace through Education and Service (Project PISCES).  This program has produced 106 federal government employees to date, and 11 more scholars are on track to graduate by 2021.

The George Washington University (GW) is designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency (NSA) in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  GW provides cybersecurity education opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds to become cybersecurity professionals and help protect the safety and security of our nation’s information infrastructure. It does this by combining scholarships, university courses in computer security and information assurance, internships, laboratories, and government service, with a unifying and reinforcing Seminar that prepares students with the knowledge, perspective, and expertise to perform competently in their future government positions, repay the federal government its hefty investments in their education, and serve their country.

The GW CyberCorps is a group of scholarship students supported by the Scholarships for Service (SFS) program of the National Science Foundation and the Cybersecurity Scholarship Program (CySP) of the Department of Defense. Our multidisciplinary academic program in information assurance, our signature government guest lecturer Seminar, and our location at the center of the government cyber security workforce make this effort attractive for students and the government, and our graduation and placement rate of more than 95% for CyberCorps students reflects that. 

Academic Program for CyberCorps Students

GW CyberCorps students pursue a degree in a major that incorporates many aspects of cybersecurity.  They must take a minimum number of cybersecurity-related courses in their home department beyond the courses required for their degree. They may also be required to take additional cybersecurity courses outside of their department that are appropriate for their major. 

Our CyberCorps students have received or are currently pursuing degrees in these fields from GW:

  • cybersecurity in computer science
  • cybersecurity policy and compliance (online with required weekly in-person attendance in Washington)
  • computer science
  • electrical engineering
  • engineering management and systems engineering
  • business administration
  • public policy
  • information technology 
  • high tech crime investigation (no longer offered)

A required seminar for all CyberCorps students provides support, connections, networking, and “insider” information sets us apart, expands the base of prospective students, and serves the students, university, and government well, by creating a learning environment where a heterogeneous cohort learns to work (and sometimes play) together and to appreciate the contributions that persons from various backgrounds and disciplines can make to solving cybersecurity problems in the workplace.

Student Demographics

Since 2002, more than 100 students have graduated from the program. While the majority of our students are in their twenties and in computer science, we do not limit our recruiting to only technical specialists; nor do we recruit only rising juniors or those just graduating with a bachelor’s degree.  We have also selected applicants who were older or had limited computer science experience but significant potential.  Each one has gone on to succeed in their federal careers.  One even was described in Government Computer News as “the model for a federal scholarship initiative.”

GW Cyber Corps  Men (Underrepresented) Women TOTAL
Graduates as of July 2021 68 (16) 38 106
In Program as of July 2021 4 (0) 7 11
Withdrew from program 1 (0) 1 2
TOTAL Enrolled 72 45 117