New grant will educate high school students on cyber security

PNW received a $482,926 grant for a three-year project to develop course curriculum modules that will educate high school students about cyber security.

The course curriculum modules will include virtual reality three-dimensional games, robotic programming games and practical labs based on simulated cases on educating students about cyber security. The first year, PNW will identify publics and modules; the second year, the modules will be created and the third year, the modules will be finalized and sent out to high schools in 30 states.

Michael Tu, assistant professor of Computer Information Tech and Graphics, says that the purpose of the grant is to inform high school students about cyber security and to encourage students to pursue a career in the field.

The Department of Computer Information Technology Graphics already hosts one-week GenCyber Summer Camps for high school students and teachers from the

Chicago Metropolitan area. Tu hopes that the GenCyber camps combined with the modules will further students’ understanding of cyber security.

“The problem is that we have less students in cyber security. Research shows that cyber security in high school increases the chance for students to go into a cyber security major,” Tu said. “There are lots of instances where the city takes care of cyber security issues and students should learn about it.”

The grant was received from the National Science Foundation. PNW is considered a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, which is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. There are two undergraduate assistants who will help in the development of the modules.

Tu, along with Ge Jin and Take-Hoon Kim, associate professors of Computer Information Technology and Graphics, and Anastasia Trekles, clinical associate professor of Instructional Technology, were all a part of the grant investigation that led to the creation of the grant.

“This project allows us to develop something for the nation,” Tu said.

Keyuan Jiang, department head and professor of Computer Information Technology, is excited to see how this grant will impact students.

“We are coming up with ideas that will attract the students to activities in cyber security. I think every student should know how cyber security works. A lot of students are not aware of it and they can be victims,” Jiang said. “We are teaching students to protect their private information.”