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Payne receives Order of Thor for efforts to train cadets in cyber

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Dr. Bryson Payne, shown with his wife, Bev, was honored with the Order of Thor by the Military Cyber Professionals Association.

Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and director of the Center for Cyber Operations Education at the University of North Georgia (UNG), has been honored for his work to prepare cadets for military cybersecurity careers.

Payne was inducted into the Order of Thor by retired Lt. Gen. Burke Garrett, '81, who represented the Military Cyber Professionals Association (MCPA) in delivering the honor to Payne on Feb. 28. The Order of Thor "recognizes excellence in (and special contributions to) the American military cyber community," according to the MCPA website. "These recipients demonstrate duty, loyalty and excellence."

"Dr. Payne merits this recognition for his inspired leadership in establishing a cyber education program at the University of North Georgia and growing America's next generation of cyber leaders," Garrett said. 

Payne pointed to the efforts of Dr. Billy Wells, a retired Army colonel and senior vice president for leadership and global engagement at UNG; the Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies; faculty, staff, donors, and all others who help support UNG's cybersecurity efforts. As of spring 2020, 55 cadets are pursuing bachelor's degrees in cybersecurity through UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business. Seven UNG graduates have commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army Cyber Corps, with numerous others entering the Signal Corps and Military Intelligence branches.

UNG is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

"This award was really recognizing the team effort," Payne said. "I was honored to be able to accept the award on behalf of the team."

The MCPA is a nonprofit organization and counts service members, retirees and civilians in the cyber community among its members.

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