Dr. Denise François and Brian Stokes accept award

NCC was recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) conference in Atlanta, GA. Professor of Information Security in Computer Science, Brian Stokes, and Dean, Business & Industry, Dr. Denise François, accepted the award at the ceremony held this June. The designation from the National Security Agency, a national-level intelligence agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, acknowledges that the information security program at NCC meets the highest academic standards in preparing students for careers in cybersecurity. 

This recognition is, in part, due to the work of the 2019 NSF (National Science Foundation) Advanced Technological Educational grant NCC used to build a culturally responsive degree program in information security that aligns with students’ life experiences and the skills needed to succeed in the industry. This grant work was built upon the substantial body of research confirming that classroom and campus climate have a major influence on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in STEM (Science Technology and Math).  

“Community college students are the most culturally and racially diverse population in higher education. Limited attention is given to the impact these differences have on their college experience. This degree program can provide a foundation on which NCC can advance strategies that broaden participation in STEM careers, particularly in the skilled technical workforce,” noted François. 

The NSF Advanced Technological Education grant program along with the PPL Foundation sustaining grant assisted in NCC’s efforts to expose high school students to the world of cybersecurity during a summer camp held in 2021 and again this year. Since the inception of the camp, over thirty students have come to the Bethlehem campus for hands-on experiences in the world of drones, bots and all things cyber. 
The 2019 grant included a three-year comprehensive plan to attract underrepresented students into the cybersecurity field, focusing on completion, transfer and career placement of students. It will also allow the College to leverage the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R) Program, which focuses on diversity and global engagement in the field of information technology. Through the S-I-R Program, institutions host a scholar from outside of the United States for a semester or full academic year to teach courses, assist in curriculum development, and engage with the campus and the local community. S-I-R was inspired by the advancements in Mauritius, a country in Africa, with relation to the global market. The interest in Mauritius, was due in part to its multi-lingual society, relationships in European business markets, performance in transforming its economy, and advancement in telecommunication and cybersecurity operations. 

NCC has received an extension on the grant to carry on the great work through 2023 instead of wrapping up in July 2022 as originally planned. This will allow NCC’s Information Security program to support the institutional mission of building a culturally competent learning environment, industry opportunities and a strong student support system can improve student success in highly technical fields such as cybersecurity.  

Learn more about NCC’s information security program