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Associate professor receives award from Department of Homeland Security

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A new minor program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville will help prepare STEM students for careers in Cyber Intelligence.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded $466,324 to the university to develop a multidisciplinary minor and certificate program at the College of Engineering’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.  

The minor will begin in Fall 2021 and will provide Texas A&M-Kingsville students with cyber intelligence and security education, training, awareness and professional development skills.

The project “Building Cyber Intelligence Workforce through AI-Based Cybersecurity Education and Training”  is led by Dr. Mais Nijim, associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and principal investigator. Other faculty on the team include Dr. David Hicks, associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Dr. Ayush Goyal, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Dr. Avdesh Mishra, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Dr. Hisham Al-bataineh, assistant professor of Physics.

“The team is pleased that the Department of Homeland Security recognized our efforts and selected our project idea for this prestigious award. This is not only recognition of our work but also the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as the Texas A&M University-Kingsville,” Dr. Nijim said. “The team is excited to research, design, and apply Artificial Intelligence techniques to solve critical DHS problems as well as produce Cyber Intelligence workforce that can take cyber security positions at DHS and various other federal agencies.”

The project’s goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities working in the cybersecurity field, Dr. Nijim said.

The project will be a collaboration with the DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Cross Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense (CBTS) at Texas A&M University, Del Mar College, South Texas College, Blinn College and Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Nijim said these collaborations will enhance the program’s recruitment, summer research activities and internships.

Dr. Goyal and Dr. Mishra will design and apply artificial intelligence techniques for remote biometric authentication and cyberattacks detection, which are critical to countering homeland security threats. Under this program, Dr. Goyal and Dr. Mishra will be visiting the DHS CBTS COE at TAMU to work with the researchers during summers for two weeks each year for the period of three years.

 With growing cyber security threats that have become increasingly costly to busines—some estimated indicate that cyber crime will cost the world $6 trillion in 2021—career prospects for cyber security professionals are strong. Careers in cyber security are expected to grow by more than 30 percent in the next several years.

Category: Engineering , General Univ

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