Cyber at The Citadel: A look back at Cybersecurity Awareness Month and more

The Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences at The Citadel is reflecting on a busy October, as they hosted several events to celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month and help the campus and local communities improve their safety online.

Kicking off the month was The Citadel DoD Cyber Institute, or CDCI, and Charleston Women in Tech hosting a speaker event with Lynn Dohm, Executive Director of Women in Cybersecurity. Citadel cadets and students, as well as members of Charleston Women in Tech, attended the event to hear Dohm speak on the topic of diversity and inclusion in cyber, in an event titled “Powering Up the Cybersecurity Workforce by Keeping an Eye on the “I” In Inclusion.”

As The Citadel Bulldogs took the field on Saturday, Oct. 14, for their home game at Johnson Hagood Stadium, cadets involved in CDCI and CLDP, Cyber Leaders Development Program, hosted a Cybersecurity Awareness giveaway as fans entered the stadium. For the third year in a row, CDCI gave away items to fans to spread the department’s mission of cybersecurity awareness. This year, fans were given color-changing confetti stadium cups and rally towels, showing that Citadel team spirit and cybersecurity can go hand in hand.

Following the giveaway, The Citadel’s Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences hosted a workshop, CECIP 2023 Cybersecurity Education for Critical Infrastructure Protection, funded by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. Over the course of one and a half days, Citadel cadets and students, along with members of the Charleston cyber community, explored this important topic through several sessions. Sessions included Curriculum for Critical Infrastructure Protection, Curriculum for Cyber Physical Systems and more. Norwich University Applied Research Institute hosted a student incident response scenario during the workshop that allowed cyber cadets to participate in real-world scenario involving cybersecurity.

One of the keynote speakers for the workshop was Julius Gamble, Regional Director for Region 4 of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA.

The CDCI Cyber Village event saw a range of fun activities, such as a capture the flag event, lock picking station, backdoors and breaches game station, a security assessment tools and demonstration station, and interview and resume review. This event took place in the Cyber Range, which is located inside the new Capers Hall. In addition to cyber cadets, several Citadel students and staff members stopped by to attend this event.

The last event held during Cybersecurity Awareness Month was a K-12 outreach presentation on cyber safety and cyber hygiene. Six CDCI and CLDP students shared cyber safety presentations to more than 400 students at East Cooper Montessori Charter School in Mount Pleasant. First through eighth graders engaged in cyber activities as well Q&A sessions with the cyber cadets.

“The Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences, along with CDCI, provides experiential learning opportunities with internships and cyber competitions that are required for the cyber workforce. Being a leader in the cyber, it is The Citadel’s responsibility to teach basic cyber defense skills to our community. By teaching students from first grade to eighth grade at East Cooper Montessori Charter School, our CLDP students educated more than 400 students on the topic of Cyber Safety and Fundamentals which will encourage them to be good cyber citizens, while also planting the seeds for future cyber warriors. Events like this provides our cadets and students an opportunity to promote The Citadel’s cyber programs and activities to the community as well,” said Shankar Banik, Ph.D., professor, head of the Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences and director of The Citadel DoD Cyber Institute.

The Citadel President General Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Ret.), ’79., The Citadel Provost Sally Selden, Ph.D., SPHR, and Banik attended the National Security Agency’s National Center of Academic Excellence, or NCAE, Executive Leadership Forum at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois on Sept. 21. This by-invitation event is held annually to provide Presidents and Executives from the NCAE community an opportunity to network and collaborate with peers and hear updates on the state of the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber, or NCAE-C, program. Walters provided a keynote address at this forum.

The Citadel has been designated as a NCAE-C Defense by the National Security Agency and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency since 2016.

“This NCAE designation helps our students apply and obtain Department of Defense cyber scholarships. Currently seven students from The Citadel are the recipients of these scholarships. Our cyber operations program prepares our cadets and students with the skillsets that are required to be successful in the DoD cyber workforce,” said Banik.

Housed in the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics, the Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences aims to develop principled leaders knowledgeable in cyber and computer sciences to meet the needs of the 21st century through education, research, experiential learning and service activities.

The Citadel has been named Best Public College in the South by U.S. News & World Report for 13 consecutive years and the Number 1 Best Public College for Veterans in South for six years.