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    NERC Seeking Cybersecurity Specialist


    The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is hiring a Bulk Power System Cybersecurity Specialist to join a team working with industry to help advance the concepts of a cyber-physical system and integration of cyber and physical security into conventional grid planning, operations, design, and restoration activities.

    The position requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university.

    Download more information about the position here.

    Visit the NERC Career Opportunities webpage here.

    Position Summary

    The Bulk Power System Cybersecurity Specialist is responsible for providing cyber and physical security subject matter expertise in support of the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise evaluation and management of risks to reliability, security, and resilience of the bulk power system (BPS). This role will assist, lead, and manage various projects related to supporting industry integration of cyber and physical security into all aspects of system planning, operations, and restoration. It will also help industry with integrating new technologies and addressing emerging reliability and security issues. The role will coordinate with other departments within NERC as well as with the E-ISAC. This position reports to the Senior Manager of Bulk Power System Security and Grid Transformation.


    The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid. NERC develops and enforces Reliability Standards; annually assesses seasonal and long‐term reliability; monitors the bulk power system through system awareness; and educates, trains, and certifies industry personnel.


    Guy Hembroff Presents Invited Talk at HIMSS Meeting

    On May 18, 2021, Dr. Guy Hembroff, Applied Computing, presented an invited talk at a meeting of Michigan’s Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Dr. Hembroff discussed his work developing a trusted framework architecture designed to improve population health management and patient engagement.

    The talk demonstrated his team’s work in the development of accurate geo-tagged pandemic prediction algorithms, which are used to help coordinate medical supply chains to care for patients most vulnerable to COVID-19, an innovation that can be extended to help improve general population health management.

    The framework of the pandemic prediction architecture, which aggregates longitudinal patient health data, including patient generated health data and social determinants of health, is a holistic and secure mHealth community model. The model can help Michigan residents overcome significant barriers in healthcare, while providing healthcare agencies with improved and coordinated population management and pandemic prediction.

    The architecture’s machine learning algorithms strategically connect residents to community resources, providing customized health education aimed to increase the health literacy, empowerment and self-management of patients. The security of the architecture includes development of unique health identifiers and touch-less biometrics capable of large-scale identity management.

    Dr. Guy Hembroff is an associate professor in the Applied Computing department of the Michigan Tech College of Computing, and director of the Health Informatics graduate program. His areas of expertise are network engineering, medical/health informatics, biometric development, intelligent medical devices, data analytics, and cybersecurity.

    The event was sponsored by HIMSS and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM).

    A mission-driven non-profit, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS) is a global advisor and thought leader supporting the transformation of the health ecosystem through information and technology, according to the organization’s website.


    Guy Hembroff Presents Talk to Digital Health Startups


    Dr. Guy Hembroff presented a talk to representatives of a number of digital health startup companies May 20, 2021, as part of an event hosted by the the HealthSpark program of 20 Fathoms, an entrepreneurial-focused member organization in Traverse City, Michigan.

    The startup companies, in many U.S. locations, are being mentored by 20 Fathoms members.

    Dr. Hembroff is an Associate Professor of Applied Computing and director of the Health Informatics Master of Science degree program at Michigan Tech.


    Dr. Hembroff’s talk, “Cybersecurity and Privacy + X: Best Practices for Health Startups,” was designed to help startup companies gain awareness of and plan strategically for the cybersecurity and privacy elements of their company, affiliations with vendors, and the rights and protections of consumers.

    Talk topics included an overview of data security and privacy, web security, scams and fraud detection and protection, mobile device security, network security, incident response, digital health data integration and interoperability, and protection from ransomware attacks.


    The HealthSpark program is Traverse City’s digital health accelerator. The organization advances innovation and facilitates solutions that will resolve today’s challenges in rural healthcare. A community-focused initiative, HealthSpark work sto bring world-class healthcare solutions to rural patients through the advancement of digital technology.

    20Fathoms is a membership organization for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, tech professionals, creatives, and other innovators in the the Traverse City, Michigan, region.

    Led by a team of experts who have walked-the-walk, we provide services, resources, support, and a robust network to help our members accelerate both their careers and businesses, according to the 20Fathoms website.


    Mechatronics Master of Science, Class of ‘21


    The Michigan Tech Master of Science in Mechatronics, launched in 2019, has congratulated its first graduates this spring: Chinmay Kondekar (EE), Chukwuemeka George Ochieze, and Ahmat Oumar. Read their stories below.


    Ahmat Oumar


    Ahmat Oumar was very interested in finding an engineering discipline combining the new engineering principles of the age of automation.

    “I was looking for a discipline that will combine principles in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science,” he explains. “And the College of Computing Mechatronics program has been the right answer.”

    “Michigan Tech Mechatronics has been a great learning experience for me,” Oumar says. “The frequent lab practices to apply the principles learned in class especially enhanced my learning. This will make it easier to make a smooth transition into industry.”

    Oumar also credits his professors as instrumental in his success. “They make themselves available to students, not only in teaching and guiding, but also through mentoring.”


    Chukwuemeka George Ochieze


    Chukwuemeka George Ochieze—now enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Michigan Tech—checked out the College of Computing Mechatronics master of science program a few years ago.

    He was intrigued by the equipment available to students and the many research projects that could be accomplished within the program. Both aligned perfectly with his interests. And he regards the location of Michigan Tech and the region’s weather conditions as a good atmosphere for study.

    “Mechatronics is important in this century because every system consists of different subsystems that require a particular mechatronics application,” says Ochieze. “For example, people who work on fluid power systems should understand automation and controls.”

    Ochieze says that working with faculty and researchers in the various fields of mechatronics helped him to think differently with respect to the subject of application.

    “I pursued so many projects while here on campus,” he adds. “My work with wearable devices shaped my interests and allowed me to apply what I’ve learned so far in the Mechatronics program. His current focus is on the robotics field, which Ochieze says stems from his exposure to robotics and programming in the Mechatronics M.S. program.

    Ochieze was a mechatronics instructor in the 2020-21 academic year for the Career Technical Education (CTE) program in Mechatronics, recently launched by Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD). The 12-month Career CTE program is for high school juniors or seniors. Read the story.

    And Ochieze tried many indoor and outdoor events that includes, “skiing, indoor and outdoor soccer, skating, tubing, winter carnivals, career fairs, late nights in the library trying to figure out projects, passport to the world, to mention but a few.”

    “Personally, I think the best memories I have was the career fairs events, having the opportunity to exchange information with people who have similar interests and also sharing your thoughts to people who have worked for a long time in the industry,” Ochieze says.

    Chinmay Kondekar


    Read Chinmay Kondekar’s story.

    Graduate student Chinmay Kondekar heard about Michigan Tech during his undergraduate studies. Sometime later he read a social media post about work opportunities in the robotic and automation labs, and Michigan Tech again came to his attention.

    “At that time, I was working as a controls engineer in India,” he says. “Robotics and automation interest me, and when I saw who had written the post (a former graduate student of Sergeyev’s), I knew I had found the perfect degree program.”

    Kondekar’s final design project was to create an interconnected system that is flexible, reconfigurable, and controlled from a central control interface to emulate a production process. The system is used to machine different patterns on a block of foam.

    “I enjoy solving problems and coming up with a solution to make things work,” he shares. “When starting the [final] project, I had a lot of unknown variables but I knew how to approach them and, eventually, I came up with solutions and made the system work. It’s highly rewarding to watch the finished system come together, and then to see it work automatically after pressing just three buttons.”

    Kondekar’s project would not have been possible without generous support from Mr. Mark Gauthier and his team at Donald Engineering. “Mark has helped the department acquire the best industry-grade hardware, and his expertise in pneumatics helped the project concept become reality,” Kondekar says.

    Kondekar says he has enjoyed his learning and life experiences at Michigan Tech. Plus, he loves the outdoors. “I am an outdoors guy and I love the UP, especially the summers. It’s full of good people and great beer!”


    Pursue a Cybersecurity Career with this Generous NSF CyberCorps Scholarship


    Apply now for Michigan Tech’s 2021-22 cohort of Cybersecurity Scholars and jumpstart your cybersecurity career!

    The deadline to apply is June 1, 2021.

    This generous scholarship opportunity provides up to three years of tuition and annual stipend.

    Then, following completion of your degree, you’ll work in a cybersecurity-related position for a federal, state, local, or tribal agency for up to three years– a period equal to the length of your scholarship.

    See full guidelines, requirements, and application information on the SFS website: mtu.edu/sfs.


    Eligible Degree Programs

    1. BS in Cybersecurity (CyS)
    2. BS in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA)
    3. BS in Computer Science (CS)
    4. BS in Software Engineering (SE)
    5. BS in Computer Engineering (CpE)
    6. BS in Electrical Engineering (EE)
    7. BS in Management Information Systems (MIS)
    8. MS in Cybersecurity

    Ready to apply? Visit mtu.edu/sfs

    Questions? Email sfs@mtu.edu


    The Michigan Tech SFS Program

    The SFS program at Michigan Tech involves multiple programs and departments, including the College of Computing and its departments of Applied Computing and Computer Science; the College of Engineering’s Department of  Electrical and Computer Engineering; and the College of Business’s Management Information Systems B.S. program. 

    “The U.S. is facing a significant shortage of well-trained and well-prepared cybersecurity professionals,” said Dr. Yu Cai, professor of applied computing and the principal investigator of the grant. “This new scholarship will continue to develop Michigan Tech’s national and international reputation as a leader and innovator in cybersecurity education, research and outreach activities.”

    The five-year, $3.3 million NSF grant provides up to three years of full scholarship support for 20 Michigan Tech undergraduate and graduate students.


    About the NSF Scholarship

    Protecting worldwide digital infrastructure has become an urgent focus of industry and government. And employment in this sector is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

    In response, the National Science Foundation CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program was introduced as a nationwide program to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals, and security managers.


    Sidike Paheding, AC, Awarded R-D Grant by Purdue University


    Sidike Paheding (AC/ICC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $19,037 research and development grant from Purdue University. The two-year project is titled, “Cybersecurity Modules Aligned with Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Curricula.”

    The project aims to serve the national interest by improving how cybersecurity concepts are taught in undergraduate computing curricula.

    The grant is a sub-award of a $159,417 Purdue University NSF project . View that project here.


    Abstract

    This project aims to serve the national interest by improving how cybersecurity concepts are taught in undergraduate computing curricula. The need to design and maintain cyber-secure computing systems is increasingly important. As a result, the future technology workforce must be trained to have a security mindset, so that they consider cybersecurity during rather than after system design. This project aims to achieve this goal by building plug-and-play, hands-on cybersecurity modules for core courses in Computer Engineering, and Computer Science and Engineering. The modules will align with the curricula recommended by the Association for Computing Machinery and will be designed for easy adoption into computing programs nationwide. Modules will be designed for integration into both introductory and advanced courses, thus helping students develop in-depth understanding of cybersecurity as they progress through their computing curriculum. It is expected that the project will encourage more students to pursue careers or higher degrees in the field of cybersecurity.

    The project will examine how the modules may be best integrated into existing curricula and the effects of the modules on student learning and interest in cybersecurity. Assessment will leverage several methods including (a) a task load index to quantify rigor, (b) surveys to gain insight into the development of students’ security mindset and perceptions of cybersecurity, and (c) analysis of learning using analytical course rubrics. Deliverables of this project will include a suite of plug-and-play cybersecurity modules for Computer Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering courses that span from introductory to advanced levels and that meet standards for content breadth and depth. The results will be disseminated through publications, presentations, press releases, and social media to ensure that project outcomes are shared widely. The NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools.


    GenCyber Teacher Camp Is July 19-23, 2021


    An NSA/NSF GenCyber Cybersecurity Teacher Camp for K-12 teachers will take place at Michigan Tech the week of July 19 – 23, 2021. This residential camp is offered at no cost to all participants.

    Topics include fundamental security knowledge, cyber hygiene, and other topics such as email phishing, password management, and cyber ethics. Participants will also learn how to develop lesson plans to teach cybersecurity in K-12.

    Room and board are included. Each teacher participant will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities. Commuting is also possible. Camp activities will count for 25 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH).

    Find complete details and apply here.  The application deadline is May 1, 2021.

    Funding of the camp is provided jointly by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant award led by Professor Yu Cai and Tim Van Wagner, both from the College of Computing Department of Applied Computing.

    Watch a video from the 2019 GenCyber Teacher Camp below.

    Gencyber Teacher Camp @ Michigan Tech 2019


    Assistants, Helpers Needed for Cybersecurity Teacher Camp, July 19-23


    Dr. Yu Cai, Applied Computing, is seeking motivated students to help with this summer’s GenCyber Teacher Camp, which takes place on campus July 19-23, 2021.

    1. Twenty K-12 teachers attending the camp.
    2. Students will work as teaching assistants and camp helpers. They will set up the lab, help during hands-on activities and games, manage the website, and help the assessment. Students will be paid for 3 weeks of work during July.
    3. Contact Dr. Yu Cai (cai@mtu.edu) for details and to apply.

    Computing Majors on Team that Takes 3rd in Lockheed CTF Competition

    Two College of Computing RedTeam students are part of a five-member team that finished 3rd in last weekend’s invitation-only Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Laboratories (ATL) Capture the Flag cybersecurity competition.

    The multi-day virtual event involved 200 students on 40 teams. It opened for answer submission Friday, January 8, at 8:00 p.m., and closed Sunday, January 10, at 8 p.m.

    The 3rd Place team, GoBlue!, trailed the 2nd Place team by only 14 points. RedTeam members are Michigan Tech undergraduates Dakoda Patterson, Computer Science, and Trevor Hornsby, Cybersecurity, and three University of Michigan students from the RedTeam’s partnership with that institution.

    Michigan Tech RedTeam faculty advisors are Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, and Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science.

    “We were lucky to be one of the 40 teams invited,” said Cai. “This was no small task, as the CTF included a large number of points in Reversing and “pwning” challenges, which proved to be fairly difficult. Other challenges were Cryptography, Stegonography, Web Exploitation, and miscellaneous challenges.”

    CTF competitions place hidden “flags” in various computer systems, programs, images, messages, network traffic and other computing environments. Each individual or team is tasked with finding these flags. Participants win prizes while learning how to defend against cybersecurity attacks in a competitive and safe arena.

    Top Three Teams

    PlacementTeam NameInstitutionTotal Points
    1st PlacenullbytesGeorge Mason University3697
    2nd PlaceChrisSucksGeorge Mason University3330
    3rd PlaceGoBlue!Michigan Tech and University of Michigan 3316