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NSA and UMBC: Partners for 20 Plus Years

By Betsy Stein, NSA/CSS Communications Officer

Landscape photo of UMBC sign at entrance to the campus during a sunny day. Three academic buildings are visible behind the sign.University of Maryland, Baltimore County has been partnering with the National Security Agency for more than 20 years to develop the talent and tools needed to meet national security challenges. Photo by Marlayna Demond '11 for UMBC

First in a new Featured School Series recognizing academic partnerships that support national security

Specialized cyber classes, joint technology research labs, and career opportunities for students are just a few of the benefits of the National Security Agency's (NSA) investment in strong partnerships with colleges and universities.

NSA is celebrating these partnerships with a new Featured School Series campaign on that will highlight schools that help develop the talent and tools needed to meet national security challenges. Academic partnerships are so vital to national security that NSA invests more than $100 million annually in support of academic partner programs, including educational grants, research and recruitment efforts. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is the first to be featured.

"NSA collaborates closely with academic institutions to cultivate deep relationships that benefit colleges/universities, the Agency and, ultimately, our Nation," said George Barnes, Deputy Director of NSA. "Our relationship with University of Maryland, Baltimore County spans more than 20 years and has contributed greatly to our national security mission."

A bronze sculpture of UMBC's mascot True Grit, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, stands proudly next to the main walking path between UMBC's academic buildings. Students can be seen walking on the path and there is canopy of trees and black and gold decorative flags overhead.UMBC houses more than 14,000 square feet of NSA research space on its campus and 200 plus graduates have been hired to work at NSA in the past five years. Photo by Marlayna Demond '11 for UMBC
The series' first installment highlights facts about NSA's partnership with UMBC - such as the 1,100 plus NSA employees with UMBC degrees. The Featured Schools page for UMBC also includes several profiles on those with interesting connections to both institutions - such as Darniet Jennings, whose groundbreaking work begun in college led to a patent once he came to NSA.

"UMBC's long-standing partnership with NSA has provided valuable experiences for our students, faculty, and alumni to pursue internships, careers, and collaborative research opportunities," said UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski III. "Through this work we are helping to address the need for well-trained cyber professionals by creating a network of talented people to protect the state, nation, and world."

UMBC and NSA's partnership helps provide students the skills they need to be successful for the workforce of tomorrow in science, technology, engineering, math and cyber fields. Collaborations such as this also help to develop curriculum for rapidly-growing career fields such as cybersecurity and expand innovative research opportunities. UMBC has more than 14,000 square feet of NSA research space on campus.

NSA aims to introduce a new featured school every few months, highlighting schools designated as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) that have a depth and breadth of engagement with NSA. The series will also have a presence on and will be featured on social media.

"We really value our exemplary relationship with UMBC and all of our academic partners and look forward to highlighting the many colleges and universities we partner with in the upcoming months and years," said Kathy Hutson, Senior Strategist for Academic Engagement.

Learn more about UMBC and NSA's partnership.