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Whatcom awarded $5 million from the National Science Foundation

Post Date:09/25/2018 11:37 am

Whatcom Community College (WCC) was recently awarded five grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that total nearly $5 million. The grants focus on improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and cybersecurity.

This month, WCC was awarded a $3.6 million dollar grant titled “Collaborative Research: Community College Cyber Pilot (C3P) Program.” The project will pilot the NSF CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program—which only universities have been allowed to administer in the past—in a community college setting. The C3P program will provide scholarships at five community colleges, including WCC, to 25 student veterans or students with prior bachelor’s degrees who are interested in pursuing cybersecurity careers. WCC will lead the grant in collaboration with California State University, San Bernardino. 

A $232,000 grant will fund a project to improve undergraduate STEM education by using 3D-printed models and hands-on activities to enhance student learning in calculus and engineering classes. The project is led by WCC engineering faculty Eric Davishahl, co-led by WCC math faculty Lee Singleton, and features a collaboration with Western Washington University psychology faculty. “Collaborative Research: Improving Representational Competence by Engaging with Physical Modeling in Foundational STEM Courses” will use 3D printing to not only improve students’ understanding in the classroom, but will also help students develop skills critical to success in the STEM field such as spatial visualization.

The College also received $720,000 to fund the CyberWatch West Resource Center, led by Corrinne Sande, WCC’s Director for Computer Sciences and Information Systems. The grant positions CyberWatch, which is hosted at WCC, as a national resource center supporting U.S. colleges that want to develop or enhance their cybersecurity educational programs and strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity workforce. In addition to mentoring faculty in cybersecurity program improvement, funds also support participating colleges to build regional cybersecurity community through enhanced industry engagement.

WCC’s current CyberWatch West grant also received supplemental funding totaling more than $261,000. This funding will allow Whatcom to collaborate with the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance to study cybersecurity student employment outcomes and further expand CyberWatch West’s mission to strengthen cybersecurity education around specific knowledge, skills and abilities as outlined in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education framework.

Finally, nearly $145,000 will supplement the College’s existing “Catalyzing Computing and Cybersecurity in Community Colleges” (C5) grant program, which works to establish and support a national network of community colleges that meet exceptionally high standards in cybersecurity and computing education.  The grant funds will be used to investigate the effectiveness of teaching cybersecurity modules, developed under the C5 project, in two different formats including an online learning platform. 

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