University of South Alabama School of Computing Student Awarded $22,000 Scholarship in the U.S. Cyber FastTrack Competition

Posted on September 27, 2019 by Spencer Radford
Spencer Radford

Trinity Stroud, a student from the School of Computing at the University of South Alabama is among 100 finalists in the U.S. Cyber FastTrack competition who have been awarded $22,000 scholarships to attend the SANS Technology Institute as part of an accredited college program called Applied Cybersecurity.

U.S. Cyber FastTrack is an innovative nationwide competition that provides high-aptitude students with the practical cybersecurity training that employers demand.  In the six months since the 2019 competition began in April, the finalists outperformed more than 13,000 other candidates. Across the nation, program finalists represent 63 colleges in 28 states.

“Cybersecurity is a fast-growing field where the demand for skilled workers surpasses the current supply,” said Alan Paller, president of the SANS Technology Institute, which sponsors the competition, “These winners will set a new, high bar for candidates for entry-level positions and demonstrate to employers that Cyber FastTrack graduates are the among the best prepared and most effective new cybersecurity employees they have ever hired.”

The scholarship recipients are expected to complete three advanced immersion courses in the SANS Applied Cybersecurity Program, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Students must also earn the professional GIAC certifications 

associated with each course, which employers recognize as validation of their skill set.  Upon completion of the program, students will be introduced to select cyber employers for internships and employment.

The aim of SANS Applied Cybersecurity is to prepare students with the knowledge, tools, and techniques needed to launch a rewarding career in cybersecurity. The program is designed to produce graduates who (1) are among the top 1% of all students in the United States in reliably measured cybersecurity aptitude, (2) embody a high level of tenacity, curiosity, and rapid learning capabilities, and (3) have fully mastered the skills critical to success as cybersecurity professionals, ranging from networking to operating systems and  programming. 

Most finalists in the 2019 competition are in their third and fourth years of an undergraduate degree program or pursuing graduate degrees. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels and range in age from 18 to 63. A quarter of the finalists are women and one-eighth are minorities.

Paller said SANS aims to make the Cyber FastTrack competition available to all students in four-year and community colleges in the United States.  “If these finalists are as successful as we expect them to be,” he said, “we will be on our way towards our goal to close the nation’s cybersecurity skills gap in the next 48 months.” 

Registration for the next Cyber FastTrack competition opens in March 2020.

About SANS Institute

The SANS Technology Institute is a regionally accredited college that offers Master’s Degrees in Cybersecurity as well as the Applied Cybersecurity Certificate. SANS was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today it is by far the world’s largest provider of cybersecurity education, training, and certification for professionals in government, commercial, and not-for-profit institutions. More than 165,000 SANS alumni hold important roles in cybersecurity through the United States and 70 other countries. Renowned SANS instructors teach 60 different courses at more than 400 live cybersecurity training events and online each year. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner’s qualifications via 31 hands-on technical cybersecurity certifications. SANS also offers a myriad of free resources to the cybersecurity community, including consensus guidance, research reports, and newsletters. In addition, SANS operates the Internet Storm Center, a cybersecurity early warning system.  At the heart of SANS are thousands of security practitioners who represent varied global organizations, from corporations to governments to universities, and are working together to advance the science and practice of cybersecurity.

For more information, visit the SANS website.

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