Evergreen awarded cybersecurity grant from National Science Foundation

Evergreen faculty member Richard Weiss shares a laugh with students in August 2016. (photo: Shauna Bittle/Evergreen)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded The Evergreen State College a $124,889 grant for a project titled Collaborative Research: Modeling Student Activity and Learning on Cybersecurity Testbeds.

The grant is part of a $499,854 award going to three partner institutions, Evergreen, Lewis & Clark, and University of Southern California.

The two-year project aims to develop tools to measure students’ cybersecurity learning and provide actionable feedback to students and instructors. Student and faculty researchers will develop a framework for the automated assessment of student learning in practical cybersecurity exercises, which will both build a knowledge base of successful and unsuccessful paths and inform future instruction.

At Evergreen, the project will be directed by Richard Weiss, a faculty member who has been awarded four NSF grants since 2003.

“Cybersecurity is about how computers violate our assumptions about how they work,” explains Weiss, who is currently working on another cybersecurity projected funded by NSF called EDURange: Supporting cybersecurity education with hands-on exercises, a student-staffed help-desk, and webinars.

As he has with previous NSF-funded projects, Weiss will incorporate the new grant into his teaching and programs at Evergreen.

“Evergreen is ideal for this because we create learning communities that are the containers not only for reading and examining bodies of knowledge, but also for collaborative research,” says Weiss, who teaches computer science and mathematics.

“The way programs focus on investigating known questions leads naturally to exploring those that haven't been addressed before.”

Funding for the grant comes from NSF’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program in the agency’s Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE). Weiss and his collaborators applied in response to a call for applicants in the field of “Defending America’s Cyberspace.”