Davenport gets $4 million in cybersecurity scholarships

The 2019 Cybercrime Study conducted by Accenture shows the U.S. has seen an 11% increase in security breaches, and cyberseek.org says hundreds of thousands of cybersecurity jobs will remain unfilled across the country.

Dr. Richard Pappas

Dr. Richard Pappas, president of Grand Rapids-based Davenport University, knows something needs to be done about the lack of talent entering the pipeline.

Now, after receiving a five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to train and educate the nation’s next generation of cybersecurity experts, Davenport University is doing something about it with its CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.

“With a large number of open positions and growing security attacks, the need to strengthen and address the cybersecurity talent pipeline is more important than ever,” Pappas said. “This grant validates the quality education Davenport University provides and the confidence the federal government has in our ability to deliver the talent needed to address one of our nation’s most pressing issues in cybersecurity.”

28 scholarships
The program – with Lonnie Decker and Mark McKinnon of Davenport and Grand Rapids Community College’s Andrew Rozema at the helm – will provide 28 students with scholarships covering their full tuition, any education-related fees and living costs.

In return, graduates are guaranteed a full-time cybersecurity role at a government entity.

The program drew praise from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. The governor’s adviser on economic prosperity, Doug Ross, said the program – and others like it – will be a big help in reaching the administration’s goal for students earning a credential or degree after high school.

“Programs like this, that support students in their career and educational pathways, lend a great hand to helping reach our goal of 60% of Michigan high school graduates earning a credential or degree after high school by 2030,” Ross said. “And when students are supported on a path to earn these credentials, employers gain a highly-skilled talent pool to fill the 545,000 jobs coming open through 2026, and the state grows closer to filling the skills gap – it’s a win-win.”

Open to anyone
Anyone interested in this scholarship is welcome to apply. The scholarship covers the costs of a student’s junior or senior year at Davenport University. It also extends coverage to sophomores at GRCC, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education (CAE2Y).

“Collaborating with community partners creates more opportunities for our students to gain in-demand skills in growing and evolving fields, including cybersecurity,” said Dr. Bill Pink, GRCC president. “We’re proud to be a partner with the National Science Foundation and Davenport University – and also our local high schools to inspire the students of the future.”

As part of the program, participating students mentor local high school students looking to pursue a career in cybersecurity. Additionally, students will travel to a national cybersecurity conference and complete a paid summer internship with a federal, state, local or tribal government organization to further their learning in the cybersecurity field.

Since 2011, Davenport University has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – one of only nine schools in Michigan. In addition, Davenport University is one of only 16 institutions nationally to be recognized as a Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) by the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3).

Davenport University is accepting applications now. Those interested in learning more about the scholarship may visit davenport.edu/cybersecurity.