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UNG: power player in cyber security education in Georgia

UNG's National Cyber Warrior Academy will be held June 21- July 1.

This summer, the University of North Georgia (UNG) hosts its second National Cyber Warrior Academy (NCWA) – a free 10-day, residential summer camp for area high school students.

"Last year, we introduced 40 of north Georgia's brightest high school students to cyber operations and cyber security through the use of drones and robots," said Dr. Bryson Payne, director of UNG's Center for Cyber Operations Education. "This year, we're hoping to do the same thing for a new batch of the area's brightest, rising sophomores, juniors and seniors."

The academy will be held from June 21 - July 1 and will be free for up to 40 participants, thanks to an $86,000 grant from the GenCyber Grants Program, sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The academy includes 80 hours of instructional learning, including 40 hours of hands-on labs in classrooms using the Certified Ethical Hacker iLabs curriculum. 

"Our summer program emphasizes personal, organizational, national cybersecurity awareness, and ethical cyber operations training, all in one," Payne said.

NCWA is a collaboration between UNG's Center for Cyber Operations Education, Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies, and Department of Computer Science and Information Systems in the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

In 2016, UNG was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The designation is from the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA, which jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program. 

UNG is one of only seven universities in Georgia with the designation.

"In the face of ever-evolving attacks from our adversaries, we must strengthen our cyber defense capabilities and support cyber security education efforts," said U.S. Senator David Perdue. "I'm proud Georgia is on the front lines of training the next generation of cybersecurity experts and I will continue working to expand on cybersecurity innovation."

UNG's growing role in cyber security education is why the university was included in the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program Act of 2017. Introduced by Perdue, the act expands scholarships to students pursuing degrees at one of the CAEs.

"As associate, bachelors or advanced degree in cyber can change not just a student's future, it can open up opportunity for entire families and communities," Payne said. "And, scholarships for service programs are a key factor in filling the workforce gap in government and public sector job openings."

Applications for NCWA are due May 1. Applicants will be selected and notified of their application status no later than May 31. For more information about the camp, visit the NCWA website.


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