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Federal Cyber Service:
Scholarship For Service (SFS)

Student Placement Issues:
Exploration of the Solution Space

A report from a NSF workshop
held August 5 -6, 2003.

I. Executive Summary
II. Introduction
III. Actions Taken in
Response to Problem
IV. Recommendations
Meeting Participants

SFS Program Statistics

Agencies That Have
Hired SFS Students
NSF Disclaimer and
Contact Information

III. Actions Taken in Response to Problem

Special Projects to Increase Awareness
Since June 2003, NSF has supported several special projects, most aimed at increasing awareness about the SFS program among potential students and employers:

  • Pilot project: Forming Academic Partnerships with Local Federal Activities, a Florida State University effort to hire an individual dedicated to recruiting and placing SFS students in the region. (Award #0342008)

  • A workshop to define a National Cyber Defense Exercise Competition, a showcase for SFS students intended to raise visibility of the SFS program, particularly among the Armed Forces community. West Point Military Academy and George Washington University representatives are among those involved in this effort. (Award #0342739)

  • Federal Cyber Service Initiative: Computer Forensics Curricula. (Award #0342296)

  • Regional information assurance (IA) workshop for underrepresented groups. (Award #0342794)

  • IA educational support program: workshop for course development and more. (Award #0343292)

  • Partners in Securing Cyberspace through Education and Service Capacity Building. (Award #0338494)

  • A summer workshop for beginning information systems security educators. (Award #0341259)

  • Trustworthy Computer Systems: Undergraduate Research Experience. (Award #0342038)

Students Awaiting Security Clearances
The program has limited funds available to support graduates who have not been placed or are waiting for security clearances. So far, seven institutions have requested such funds, and the total has reached about $170,000. NSF emphasized that these support funds are limited, and PIs should continue to seek placement opportunities for graduates as soon as possible after graduation.

Program Rules Revised
New solicitations are to be published three months before the January 2004 deadline. The fiscal year 2004 SFS program solicitation includes the following revised language:

It is important for all PIs and SFS scholarship students to understand that OPM expects and needs active participations on your part to help assist with both summer internship and permanent placement at a Federal agency. The program has a (as near as possible to) 100 percent placement goal, which can only be reached through active cooperation between all parties involved. Material to assist PIs in this process developed at a recent NSF workshop dealing with this issue is available. Contact the lead program director for SFS for details.

NSF and OPM Raise Awareness About the Program
NSF, OPM, and a number of SFS Principal Investigators and their students have given numerous presentations and attended numerous conferences to raise awareness about the SFS program among potential employers. They have addressed Department of Defense (DOD) Computer Forensics Laboratory representatives, as well as the Committee for National Security Systems, which involved representatives from 23 Federal agencies. Upcoming presentations include the NSF/National Institute of Standards and Technology Invitational Workshop on Cybersecurity: Workforce Needs, Assessment, and Educational Innovation and the Interagency Resources Management Conference. Presentations will be provided as frequently as feasible and suggestions for opportunities to reach gatherings of potential employers are welcome.

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