A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Through curricular and experiential learning, START educates, mentors and trains the next generation of national security scholars and practitioners.

Cyber Security Fellows (CySeF) 2013-2016

Cyber Security Fellows (CySeF) 2013-2016


START's Cyber Security Fellows Program (CySeF), is a comprehensive, one-year program designed for three undergraduate students at the University of Maryland. Students will enter the program at the beginning of their junior or senior years, and their program experiences are aimed to transition students from their undergraduate experiences to professional positions in the homeland security science and technology arena (HS-STEM), with particular emphasis on transition into positions related to cyber security.

Summary of Program Components

Students will participate in three program components:

  • A traditional classroom learning component, in which students will enroll in six credits of coursework on cybercrime and cyber security, and in three credits of coursework on terrorism;
  • An experiential learning component, in which students will participate in a part-time academic-year research assistantship and a full-time summer internship with a cyber-security research team at the University of Maryland; and
  • A customized program of career development activities designed to introduce students to career options in the field of homeland security and to help them develop and refine their professional skills.

Participant Benefits and Requirements

Each student selected to participate in this program will receive financial support, allowing students to focus their time and energies on their homeland-security studies and professional development, rather than having to take on part-time employment to ensure that they have sufficient funding for school-related costs. Each student selected for the program will receive:

  • In-state tuition and mandatory fees for one academic year (two semesters);
  • Monthly stipend during the academic year of their fellowship;
  • Salary for a 10-week summer research internship at the University of Maryland's cybercrime and cyber security research laboratory;
  • Support to attend the annual DHS Career Development Conference; and
  • Support to attend the START Annual Meeting.

In return for the generous support the CySeF students will receive, they will be required to maintain full-time student status, participate in START programming designed to best prepare them for successful transitions to positions in the HS-STEM arena, particularly Cyber Security, following graduation from UMD, and graduate with at least a Bachelors degree within one academic year of completing the CySeF program. Should a student not satisfactorily meet all requirements, the student may be required to pay back all funds associated with the CySeF program. 

2015-2016 Academic Year

  • Completion of one one-credit course in the fall and one two-credit course in the spring, "Cyber Security and Digital Terrorism, Parts 1 and 2"
    • Students will register for one 1.5 credit course in the Fall and one in the Spring
      • The fall course will be formatted as a bi-weekly seminar during which students will focus on a brief history of cyber security and digital terrorism attacks working collaboratively to compile an extensive list of attacks and groups.
      • During the spring course, the students will focus on one of these case studies previously identified and work on an extensive research paper examining the group, the attack, the consequences and policy recommendations.
  • Completion of one three-credit course related to cyber security/cyber crime
  • Courses will be drawn from departments throughout UMD, including: CCJS418B: Cyber Crime, and ENME 442/ENRE 684 – Information Security.
  • Experimental Criminology in Cyberspace: How Does Warning and Surveillance Impact Attackers Behavior?
    Project Description: A recent report to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs emphasizes the need for the development of security protection programs for information technology and control systems that address the real-time environment of cyber attacks. Addressing this challenge, we integrate criminological, statistical and cyber-security knowledge, and propose an experimental research design for studying how system configurations determine the dynamic of a real time computer attack and affect attackers decision making and behavior while in the system. This project's goal is to explore how different configurations of warning and surveillance in the target systems affect attackers' probability to gain control over attacked systems and use the compromised computer for building attacks. The students will collect attackers and attacks data using a large set of target computers built for the sole purpose of being attacked. This architecture allows collecting information at the host application and network levels, filtering user traffic from malicious traffic and controlling the target computers from an isolated monitoring network. Once collected, the students will analyze data using multilevel logit models with robust standard errors. The students will assess the simultaneous effects of attackers attributes and system configurations on the probability to access certain files vs. others, download data into and from the system, and launch attacks.
  • Students will network with other START researchers and attend faculty research presentations on a variety of topics related to the study of terrorism.
  • Students will network with other DHS students and representatives and attend presentations on a variety of topics related to homeland security
  • Students will participate in START Career Profile Sessions, a speaker series in which individuals from the homeland security community discuss their professional biographies and the skills necessary for their work
  • Students also participate in START Research Roundtable Series, in which START faculty and students present their research-in-progress
  • Completion of 10 hours/week part-time research assistantship with Dr. Michel Cukier
  • Attendance at 2015 START Annual Meeting
  • Attendance and participation at 2015 DHS Career Development Conference (pending scheduling)
  • Participation in suite of START professional development activities

2016 Summer

  • Completion of a 10-week, full-time, summer research internship at the University of Maryland's cybercrime and cyber-security research laboratory
    • Students will design and conduct experiments, analyze data, handle specialized equipment, write research reports and papers for publication, and present their research at disciplinary conferences.


  • Completion of one-year "service commitment" to work in the field of homeland security (or related fields) after successful graduation from UMD.

CySeF Application Process 

Applications for the 2015-2016 cohort are now closed.

Eligibility and Application Process

To be eligible to apply for the program, students must demonstrate the following:

  • Will be entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year in fall 2015, with intentions to be enrolled at Maryland full-time until graduation in spring 2016. (Preference will be given to seniors.)
  • Have and maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, averaged over the student's full undergraduate career.
  • Be pursuing a major in a priority HS-STEM area.
  • Willingness and ability to complete all of the CySeF requirements presented above, including a commitment to one year of professional employment at a HS-STEM venue following graduation; and
  • U.S. citizenship.

Students who meet these eligibility criteria are invited to submit an online application to be considered for the CySeF program – applications must include the following (incomplete applications will not be considered):

  • One copy of the application form and essays – the application form will be available here when the application period is re-opened.
  • One copy of your unofficial transcript.
  • One copy of your resume, which should present your experiences relevant to homeland security.
  • A statement of financial aid received by the student for the past academic year (optional but recommended). (This financial aid information will not play a role in admission to the CySeF program which is need-blind. This is intended to help the education office better administer the scholarship from the beginning and to work with financial aid for the student.)
  • Submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty member from the University of Maryland.