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home : community : community July 1, 2022

5/5/2022 4:40:00 PM
Gaston College Helps With Cyber Defense
NSA designates college national center of excellence

Lincoln Herald Staff

Gaston College is playing its part in the nation’s wider maintenance of cyber defense.

According to college spokeswoman Linda Vespa, the school recently met the stringent requirements of the National Security Agency, which recognized it as a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense. Institutions receiving this designation have met rigorous requirements established by the NSA and have a commitment to “producing cyber security professionals that will reduce vulnerabilities in our national infrastructure,” as per the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security, according to college president Dr. John Hauser.

Thursday, Hauser said that this “designation is a testament to the strong and rigorous academic community that exists at Gaston College. The need for cyber security jobs is at an all-time high in our region in all industry sectors, and this will be a tremendous asset to the continued economic growth of our area.”

The designation is for the college’s information technology networking and cyber defense program. All of the program’s curriculum and select course assignments were reviewed and approved by a team from the NSA. In January, the college received program-of-study validation. The letter from the NSA stated that the college’s “ability to meet the increasing demands of the program validation will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the national information infrastructure.”

Dr. Mark Shellman, the college’s information technology department chairman, along with information technology instructor Jimmy Warren and Dr. Lisa Jurs, the dean of career and technical education, spearheaded the efforts to earn this designation.

“I am extremely proud to have been part of this major achievement for Gaston College,” said Shellman. “This is only the beginning in network and cyber defense education here, with new accomplishments on the horizon.”

With the help of $2 million in state funding, cybersecurity labs will be coming to all three of Gaston College’s campuses as early as autumn. The funds will be used for the renovation of facilities and the purchase of specialized equipment. With this enhanced focus, Gaston College is poised to become a leader in cyber security and defense.

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