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IU Cybersecurity Clinic to expand training to undergraduates with grant from Google

For Immediate Release Oct 18, 2023

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana University Cybersecurity Clinic, which offers free cybersecurity assistance to local governments, nonprofits, schools, small businesses and other organizations across Indiana and beyond, will expand training opportunities to undergraduate students who want to gain skills in the rapidly growing field of cybersecurity under a $500,000 award from Google’s Cybersecurity Clinics Fund.

Scott Shackelford. Scott Shackelford.

The funding from Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm, is part of a $20 million collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics, of which IU is a founding member. All award recipients were announced Oct. 18.

“This support will allow us to scale up our clinic over the next few years,” said Scott Shackelford, IU Provost Professor of Business Law and Ethics at the Kelley School of Business and founder of the IU Cybersecurity Clinic. “We’re excited to be able to offer a new undergraduate section and open other opportunities to graduate students as well. The relationship with Google will also provide us valuable access to their expertise as well as some security hardware.”

The expertise includes scholarships for IU students for Google’s Career Certificate in Cybersecurity as well as mentorship opportunities with Google employees, or “Googlers,” Shackelford said. The security hardware includes Titan Security Keys, a small hardware device that adds an extra layer of physical security to online accounts.

“These clinics have been designed to provide the next generation of professionals with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the ever growing field of cybersecurity,” said Royal Hansen, Google’s Vice President of Privacy, Safety, and Security Engineering. “We’re proud to lend a hand to help grow a strong security workforce responsible for strengthening and protecting our infrastructure for years to come.”

Established in 2019, the IU Cybersecurity Clinic is a first-of-its-kind program that leverages student and faculty expertise in cybersecurity to help organizations who could not otherwise afford cybersecurity services, providing the tools they need to manage cyberattacks, protect intellectual property and improve privacy.The clinic engages students from multiple degree programs and disciplines across the university, including students studying law, cybersecurity and global policy, cybersecurity risk management and public policy at the Maurer School of Law; the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering; the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs; and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, among others. The clinic engages about 40 graduate students and plans to recruit about 40 undergraduates over the next year.

The clinic’s beneficiaries are a wide range of clients from the public and private sector, such as schools, hospitals, small businesses and governments from local municipalities to international partnerships, including projects advising cybersecurity policymakers in Kosovo, Ghana and, most recently, Macedonia. Active projects closer to home this semester include partnerships with the Bloomington Fire Department, the IU Center for Rural Engagement and the Monroe County Clerk Office.

“The scope of the clinic’s projects clearly demonstrates IU’s sustained dedication to service in the state, region and beyond, and to training top-quality talent to meet a growing critical need in this country and our world,” said Isak Nti Asare, executive director of the IU Cybersecurity Clinic and co-director of the Cybersecurity and Global Policy Program at the Hamilton Lugar School.

Isak Nti Asare. Isak Nti Asare. Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Lugar School.

Shackelford said the clinic also gives students an unparalleled opportunity to gain real-world skills in a field that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected to grow over 30 percent in the next 10 years.

“There’s a negative unemployment rate in cybersecurity, so there’s loads of opportunity,” he said. “But what’s most valuable is applied work experience; that’s what differentiates a graduate entering the field. The opportunity to do this type of work in the classroom is powerful.”

Because of its focus on policy as well as technical skills, the clinic’s work is particularly valuable to students interested in public-sector careers, Asare added.

In addition to his leadership role at the cybersecurity clinic, Shackelford is the executive director of theIU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, which is a part of a four-year, $4 million award from the Indiana Office of Technology to conduct cybersecurity risk assessments for local governments in the state. Many of these assessments are expected to translate into new projects at the IU Cybersecurity Clinic. Shackelford is also the executive director of the Ostrom Workshop, which is the administrative home of the IU Cybersecurity Clinic.

“There’s nearly 400 cybersecurity assessments that will be completed as part of CACR’s partnership with Purdue University and the Indiana Office of Technology, which will likely reveal a lot of work that needs to be done,” Shackelford said. “There’s no shortage of opportunities for our students to gain real-world skills in this field.”

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