Kennesaw State University has recently received a $50,000 grant to improve its annual conference for students studying cybersecurity, a growing field the university is hoping to expand.

The Virginia-based National Science Foundation awarded KSU’s Center for Information Security Education the grant. Housed in KSU’s Coles College of Business, the center was notified of the grant in July and plans to use it to fund programming for graduate and undergraduate students at its 12th Cybersecurity Education Research and Practice Conference on campus in October.

Herb Mattord, associate director of the Center for Information Security Education, said the grant will fund a graduate student research workshop that will include mentorships with five information services experts from across the country.

“I think it will greatly elevate the status and recognition for the work that we already do,” said Mike Whitman, executive director Center for Information Security Education. “It will allow us to begin increasing interest in cybersecurity as a field.”

KSU’s information security and cybersecurity division is also growing in other ways.

Last week, KSU formed the Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development. Whitman said the institute will be able to offer degree programs while the Center for Information Security Education specializes in community outreach.

He said the center has been around since 2002.

About 33,000 students are enrolled at KSU, the third largest university in the state behind the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Mattord said usually about 185 students are enrolled in information security classes.

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