First Two Cyber Corps Scholarship Students To Graduate from Georgia Tech

July 30, 2003

The first two Georgia Tech students in the National Science Foundationâs Cyber Corps scholarship program graduate this semester with highly sought after information security expertise. Cyber Corps, a scholarship opportunity for students in either the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program or the NSF Scholarship for Service Program, is designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of Federal information assurance professionals that protect the government's critical information infrastructure.The program provides full scholarships for qualified students attending an approved institution of higher learning. In addition, students in the program work in paid internships with a Federal agency and may be offered permanent employment upon graduation.

Christopher Messer, Master of Science in International Affairs, and Charles “Chad” Sellers, Master of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Information Security, were selected for the NSF’s Scholarship for Service program for students studying information security. Georgia Tech as a Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Education (CAE/IAE) coordinates these efforts through the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC). At Georgia Tech, the College of Computing and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts both offer graduate-level information security concentration or degrees.

“Cyber Corps is intended to cover the broad spectrum of information security from policy to technology,” said Mustaque Ahamed, professor of Computing and co-director of GTISC. “That the first two Cyber Corps graduates from Georgia Tech are graduating with degrees in International Affairs and Computer Science really fits the mission of the program.”

“The best part of my studies here at Georgia Tech has been exploring the cutting edge of security,” says Sellers. “At Georgia Tech, I have been able to explore the technologies of tomorrow, as well as analyze the technologies of today in order to improve upon them.”

Messer has accepted an offer to work in the Information Assurance Directorate of the National Security Agency (NSA) and will focus on information security policies and procedures. Sellers, a self-described “technical guy,” plans to work in network security with the NSA Information Assurance Directorate as well.

“The Cyber Corps program has given me the opportunity to get in on the ground level of a field of huge importance to national security,” says Messer. “It has helped me to make professional and career contacts with leading scholars and practitioners across the country, and it has provided the finances necessary to do this.”

Georgia Tech as a Center of Academic Excellence has a unique relationship with three historically black colleges and universities in Atlanta. Georgia Tech has partnered with Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College for a NSF Scholarship for Service grant, enabling each school to award scholarships to qualified information security students.


The Georgia Tech Information Security Center, a National Security Agency (NSA) Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education, conducts interdisciplinary research and development on all aspects of information security, including systems-vulnerability assessment, theory development, and public and organizational security policies. GTISC's three-pronged mission includes: conducting research that will lay the foundations for a discipline of information security and that contributes to the development and testing of systems, devices, strategies, policies, practical concepts, and techniques; educating and training information security professionals through degree and continuing-education programs, and to insure that information security awareness is instilled in all Georgia Tech students; and assisting industry, non-profit organizations, government, and individuals to solve information security problems through outreach programs and support of groups devoted to information security.

The interdisciplinary center is housed in the College of Computing and involves faculty from Computing, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, and the School of Public Policy.

Cyber Corps Scholarship Programs