REU SITE: Enhancing Undergraduate Research Experiences in Cybersecurity and Privacy-Enhanced Technologies

Project Details


As secure software and trustworthy cyberspace are vital to combat diversified threats, this Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at Montclair State University focuses on training students to solve real-world cybersecurity problems and aspires them to be the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. The REU site provides a diversified group of undergraduate students with immersive research experiences on advanced topics in cybersecurity and engaging professional development activities. Faculty mentors use a hands-on, inclusive teaching approach to effectively train students using state-of-the-art cybersecurity tools and techniques. The Site will pursue the following primary objectives: (i) recruit and engage undergraduate students, especially those from underrepresented groups, on transformative interdisciplinary research activities in cybersecurity, (ii) train the students on fundamental research methodologies and instill a computational thinking approach to understand and solve problems effectively, (iii) stimulate teamwork spirit as well as self-directed learning that lead them to research-independent status and successfully work on research projects in a collaborative manner, (iv) motivate students to apply for graduate programs and aspire for a variety of careers in cybersecurity, and (v) promote the rich experiences of the Site students and their home institutions to attract more new students into the related fields. The Site students and the partnering institutions will act as ambassadors to disseminate their unique research experiences among their peers which can attract more undergraduate students into cybersecurity education and research.

The main goal of this REU Site is to promote Montclair State University (MSU) as the next-generation Cybersecurity research hub by nurturing a diversified group of undergraduate students with immersive research experiences on advanced topics in Cybersecurity. The Site will provide unique opportunities for students to invigorate their Cybersecurity knowledge and skills with research-intensive summer projects and engaging professional development activities. The REU project trains women and underrepresented minorities predominantly from institutions where research opportunities in STEM fields are limited. Given the scarcity of cybersecurity workforce, the Site will contribute to the growing efforts of developing a more diversified cybersecurity workforce. The Site will: (i) engage a diversified pool of students in cutting-edge research projects in three major subareas of cybersecurity, namely cryptographic protocols, machine learning for cybersecurity and human aspects of secure software development, (ii) expose students to scientific research skills and rich cybersecurity knowledge that increase their creative capacity and confidence in cybersecurity R&D, and (iii) establish sustainable mentor relationship with the Site students and cultivate a strong desire to apply for advanced degrees in the related fields. The Site will create a vibrant cybersecurity learning environment that encompasses interesting group discussions, weekly seminars, poster presentations and industry visits that foster students' passion for cybersecurity research. It will also open up new opportunities for participating students in academia, industry and government that would not otherwise be possible at their home institutions.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date15/03/2129/02/24


  • National Science Foundation: $395,470.00


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