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EFSC’s Cybersecurity Program Gains Prestigious U.S. Designation

February 22, 2022 - Eastern Florida State College’s Cybersecurity bachelor's program has achieved an important designation from the U.S. government for helping protect the nation’s information infrastructure.

The prestigious recognition came from the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of an initiative to validate programs of study and applies to the Cybersecurity Specialization in EFSC's Computer Information Systems Technology Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

Federal officials said the four-year EFSC program will “serve the nation well” as more attention is focused on safeguarding digital systems that make the country run.

“The National Cyber Strategy addresses the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyber space,” said Karen Leuschner, an NSA program manager.

“A highly skilled cyber security workforce is a strategic national security advantage.”

 
 
Cybersecurity lab with two people at keyboard
 
EFSC's Cybersecurity Lab on the Palm Bay Campus supports both bachelor and associate level degree and certificate programs.

EFSC officials called the designation an important moment for the college and its students.

“This is a major step forward because any student who pursues this baccalaureate program will have an NSA and DHS validated degree in cybersecurity education,” said Dr. Randy Fletcher, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Chief Learning Officer.

“That will make them highly employable in a Space Coast job market that includes major defense, aerospace and other high-tech companies.”

Nicole Dyess, Program Manager for EFSC’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics on the Palm Bay Campus, led the effort to gain the Cyber Defense Program of Study Validation.

“This is very exciting for our students. They really helped drive the initiative because of their interest and dedication in this highly complex field. It will open a lot of doors for them,” she said.

Dyess is now working on the next step, which is to get EFSC designated by the NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.

That would make students eligible for a Defense Department cybersecurity scholarship program, which covers the cost of tuition, books and provides a stipend.

Enrollment in EFSC’s Cybersecurity program is strong. Associate in Science Degree students in corresponding areas of study can also seamlessly transition to the Bachelor track upon graduation.

An EFSC Cybersecurity Industry Advisory Board that includes companies such as Northrup Grumman and L3 Harris provides valuable input to the college on the program.

Experts from EFSC also go to high schools and middle schools to talk with students about cybersecurity careers.

For more information on the Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree specialization and other 4-year degree tracks in Computer Information Systems Technology, visit easternflorida.edu/go/cyber.