TEXAS — A&M-Central Texas was awarded a $4.2 million cybersecurity contract from the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Air Force.
The university recently opened a new Center for Cybersecurity Innovation.
A triple threat of women in STEM are leading the way, using their own experiences and passions to fight off cyber crime.
Gail Wallin’s passion for protecting others started with criminal justice and led her to a career in cybersecurity.
“Threats have increased substantially with telework,” Wallin explained. “Routers just not being properly set at home. Firewalls just not what they are in corporate.”
Wallin is the chief information officer at A&M-Central Texas.
According to Accenture’s 2021 State of Cybersecurity Resilience, the average cyber attacks per company increased 31% from 2020 to 2021.
A&M-Central Texas recently launched the Center for Cybersecurity Innovation.
“We need to protect our environment and the students are going to learn firsthand on hacking techniques and learning about what bad actors [are], a way to protect themselves as well as their community,” Wallin said.
Dr. Faiza Khoja is the dean of the College of Business Administration.
“That center has three arms,” Khoja said. “One of the arm[s] is the research arm. One is teaching, and the other is outreach.”
Computer Information Systems Chair Dr. Anitha Chennamaneni says that outreach includes young people.
“This summer we are offering summer Cyber Camp to high school students in the region,” Chennamaneni said. “Free to all participants.”
The ultimate goal is to advance cybersecurity research, education and workforce development in an effort to keep the community safe.