FBI, This Week: FBI Cyber STEM Program Expands Nationally


October 10, 2019

As the FBI and its partners encourage Americans to take proactive steps to enhance their cybersecurity during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an FBI program aimed at preparing students for careers in cybersecurity expands.


Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: As the FBI and its partners encourage Americans to take proactive steps to enhance their cybersecurity during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an FBI program aimed at preparing students for careers in cybersecurity expands.

The FBI Cyber STEM Program is designed for high school students with an interest in cybersecurity and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.

Heather Schoch of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office says the program was born in 2015 out of concerns over a future gap in qualified cybersecurity professionals.

Heather Schoch: We realized that the Pittsburgh AOR [area of responsibility] had developed into a technology hub, but we were having challenges hiring cyber-trained folks.

Halpern: FBI Pittsburgh partnered with the University of Pittsburgh and a local school to develop a modified STEM curriculum for high school students.

The curriculum focuses on computer forensics, big data analysis, ethics, and leadership.

The pilot program exceeded expectations with 150 student applications.

Schoch: Since then, we’ve expanded to a total of six high schools with the max enrollment in 2018 of 700 students. And then we’ve also see an increase in the number of candidates with cybersecurity backgrounds applying to our internship programs.

Halpern: What the students learn in the Cyber STEM Program extends beyond the curriculum.

Schoch: So, the FBI participates in providing touchpoints to high school students to give them background on real FBI cases and also about making good life decisions.

Halpern: The goal is to encourage these students to one day apply their cyber savvy to a career at the FBI.

The program is currently offered in the Pittsburgh, Miami, and Washington Field Offices and efforts to roll it out to other offices are underway.

Halpern: Learn about National Cyber Security Awareness Month at fbi.gov.

With FBI, This Week, I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.

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