Winners Announced in National CyberWatch Center’s 2018 Innovations in Cybersecurity Education Program

August 7, 2018

In its second annual Innovations in Cybersecurity Education awards and recognition program, the National CyberWatch Center has selected five original ideas to help educators approach and teach the sometimes complicated subject of cybersecurity.

A number of creative and unique ideas were submitted to NCC, but only five were selected, one from each of the following categories: Curriculum, Faculty Development, Lab Activity, Local Partnerships, and Student Learning Aid. “These winning submissions show that the education sector continues to deliver much needed creativity in solving some of the country’s biggest information security related challenges, and highlights the important coordination role the National CyberWatch Center plays at national level”, said Casey O’Brien, director of National CyberWatch Center.

In Curriculum, the winner was Community Initiative Center of Excellence for Secure Software (CICESS) – Employer-led secure software development dual model apprenticeship partnering with community colleges. “The successful launch of the employer-led CICESS was made possible by an innovative collaboration between industry, government and academia. This dual model apprenticeship is readily scalable to other in-demand cybersecurity work roles and provides significant value and return on investment to employers, community colleges and workforce and economic development agencies,” said Girish Seshagiri, executive vice president of CTO, Ishpi Information Technologies.

The Lab Activity winner was Have My Smart Lightbulbs Been Weaponized: Introducing Computer Security Issues Related to IoT Devices. “Receiving this award further validates to me how important it is to challenge students with real world, hands-on activities that increase their security awareness,” said winner, David Zeichick at California State University (CSU) Chico.

The Local Partnerships winner was Guiding Girl Scouts through a Computer Science Journey. “It turned into the largest community service event in the team’s five-year history. This was a student-initiated effort, and they pulled off an exciting event for more than 100 girls. The girls could easily relate to college students who could be their older sisters, and they saw them handling complex technology, providing instruction and leading the operation,” said Guy Garrett, associate professor of cybersecurity at Gulf Coast State College and Corps Tigris commander.

Comic-BEE: branching, interactive web comics for cybersecurity education and assessment for learners of all ages and levels won in the Student Learning Aid category. “We’ve been excited to see how our pilot partners have used this in different ways to aid cybersecurity learners. As a visual, interactive education technology, it’s sometimes hard to explain what Comic-BEE is in words without pictures. We hope this is the first step to gaining a broader adoption of it and this new approach for understanding cybersecurity,” said Laurin Buchanan, principal investigator for Secure Decisions at Applied Visions Inc.

The final winner in Faculty Development was the Industrial Control Systems Security Curriculum Resource kit. “It is a culmination of five years of hard work. We hope this small contribution to the advancement of cybersecurity education and the enhancement of our nation’s critical infrastructure protection would stimulate the expansion of pedagogical materials and the growth of professional development activities in this area of national need,” said Dr. Guillermo Francia, director of the Center for Information Security and Assurance and professor at Jacksonville State University.

These winning ideas, and other submissions, will be shared nationally on the National CyberWatch Center website. For more information, visit

About National CyberWatch Center
National CyberWatch Center (NCC) is a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education-funded cybersecurity consortium working to advance cybersecurity education and strengthen the national workforce. Since 2005, NCC has played a key role in developing, promoting and providing cybersecurity education solutions nationally. To learn more, visit

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