In the spring of 2016, ACES began its mentoring program, Cybersecurity Connect. Ten NSA professionals signed up to mentor 20 ACES students the first semester. It has grown from there. Now students can partner with industry professionals from NSA, Northrop Grumman, Talos, and the United States Secret Service.
Before the semester begins, students apply to Cybersecurity Connect, and ACES Partners recruit mentors and match them with students who are interested in their organization. Each semester, the mentors and mentees meet in person at two ACES staff-organized dinners on campus and at least one other time on their own for coffee, lunch, or at an optional ACES event. In between the in-person meetings, the mentoring groups regularly communicate via phone, email, or Skype to discuss progress on goals and the field of cybersecurity. Over the course of the semester, all students and mentors receive four emails with discussion questions to encourage communication and relevant discussion. Students switch mentors each semester to better expand and build their networks.
In any given semester, up to 100 students and 50 mentors are participating in the Cybersecurity Connect program. Students can be a part of the LLP or the Minor. Mentors are cybersecurity professionals working at one of our corporate partners, including the NSA, Northrop Grumman, the United States Secret Service, and Talos.
An increasing number of students who participate in Cybersecurity Connect secure summer internships with NGC and NSA. Students gain increased exposure to and knowledge of these organizations through the mentoring program and are heavily recruited for internship positions.
Sign-ups for Cybersecurity Connect are in August for the Fall semester and in December for the Spring semester. Students will receive an email with a link to sign-up.