FSU’s Cyber Competition Center awarded third grant

Greg Gogolin is looking forward to the new changes coming at the Cyber Competition Center. He is the director of the Information Security and Intelligence program at Ferris State University. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State University’s Cyber Competition Center continues to grow with its third grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The $212,000 grant, which comes from the Department of Defense’s cyber scholarship program, will allow for an expansion of the Cyber Competition Center and give more students statewide the ability to participate in cyber competitions.

With competitions starting in the fall of 2018, Greg Gogolin, director of the Information Security and Intelligence program at Ferris, said the amount of students wanting to participate in competitions grows each year.

The new grant will expand the center to accommodate up to 200 students, which is 80 more than it currently holds.

“The idea that we’ll be able to expand is great. There was definitely a greater interest from schools than we originally anticipated. Now we can focus on serving as many people as possible,” Gogolin said, noting the competition center had already received interest from 1,000 students in Kent County alone when it originally opened.

The competitions, which test students in a range of computer science related topics, allow students the opportunity to learn about data in ways they wouldn’t be able to without the aid of the Cyber Competition Center, said Gogolin.

“The competitions expose high school students, not only to what a career in cyber security would be like, but also to what college is like, which is really important because not all of these students are exposed to the idea of college at home or in school,” he said.

While funding will be able to provide space for a larger amount of competing students, the grant money also will be used to provide new video technology so spectators can view the competitions in real time.

The expansion also will include cloud curriculum and dual enrollment opportunities for state high schools, allowing students to engage in cyber security and data analytics even when they are far from Ferris’s campus.

“There is such a shortage of students with these skills and it’s a competitive field,” Gogolin said. “Our goal is really just to reach out to as many schools as possible and give students the skills they need.”

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Posted by Catherine Sweeney

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