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NSA Seeking Proposals from Colleges for New Scholarship Program for Students

By Betsy Stein, NSA Communications NSA

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The National Security Agency is introducing a new program to generate partnerships with colleges and universities and increase its employee pipeline of underrepresented minorities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) fields. 

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Academic institutions can submit proposals for the OnRamp II program, which will provide scholarships and internships for students, sabbatical opportunities for faculty, and the chance to collaborate in mission-focused cybersecurity research.
 
“We are really excited about this new chance to partner with colleges and universities and to provide opportunities benefitting students, faculty, the institutions, as well as NSA,” said Kathy Hutson, Senior Strategist for Academic Engagement at the Agency. “Our initial OnRamp Program was incredibly successful in supporting students in STEM fields, and we hope the new program will take it a step further to bring these students to NSA.”

 The initial OnRamp program began in 2009 and supported students preparing for STEM careers in STEM aimed at minorities, women, and others not traditionally involved in these fields. The program provided tuition, academic support, professional development, and more in order to develop competitive candidates for graduate programs. OnRamp II focuses on fostering educational partnerships between NSA and academic institutions to increase the pipeline of students in STEM disciplines pursuing employment with NSA while enhancing their academic caliber. The program will provide the following for OnRamp II selected schools:

  • Academic scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in return for a service obligation to work at NSA 
  • Internship opportunities for students
  • Academic and career advice and assistance for students 
  • Sabbatical opportunities at NSA for faculty members to enhance collaboration between the school and NSA
  • Contract-based, mission-focused cybersecurity research

“The main objective of this effort is to promote the technical health of a strongly diverse STEM pipeline for NSA and to increase collaboration between NSA and academic institutions,” Hutson said. “While this program is not restricted to underrepresented students in STEM fields, proposals that demonstrate success advancing students in these groups will be the most competitive.”

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NSA is currently seeking proposals from educational institutions desiring to enter an OnRamp II Educational Partnership Agreement with NSA. All regionally accredited four-year and graduate level institutions in the United States and its territories designated as NSA and/or Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence are eligible to submit proposals. For details about how to submit a proposal, visit the OnRamp II Description and Submission Guidelines here. Approximately four schools will be chosen as OnRamp II Schools the first year. Proposals are due by April 24, 2020