Cyber Service attracting students

The Federal Cyber Service program, which offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students to study information assurance in exchange for two years of federal service, could have as many as 200 to 300 students by the end of the year, said Sujeet Shenoi, professor of computer science at the University of Tulsa.

The University of Tulsa, which is one of six universities that received Cyber Service scholarship money last year, expects to increase its own roster to 50 students — up from the current 23. About half are undergraduate students and half are graduate students, Shenoi said.

Here's what the overall cyber corps looks like now:

Sixty-six students are finishing their first year in the program. The students are from ages 20 to 64, and they include three married couples, a rock singer and a former NASA employee who worked on the Apollo missions. The students have summer internships at various agencies, including NASA, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Treasury Department.

Students at the 2002 Cyber Corps Symposium this week praised the program and the opportunities it provides, but said there are some kinks in the system that need to be worked out. For instance, many federal agencies still don't know about the Cyber Service program and students were offered little help by the government in finding summer internships, some students said.

"We need to get the word out," said Dan Blair, deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM plans to work with the Human Resources Management Council and the Partnership for Public Service to increase awareness, he said at the symposium.

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