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NSA and DHS Designate MC’s Cybersecurity Program as Center of Excellence

Montgomery College has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD), a program jointly sponsored by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the CAE-CD program is to reduce vulnerability in the nation's information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense; and to produce a growing number of professionals with expertise in the discipline, contributing to the advancement of state-of-the-art cyber defense knowledge and practice.

cybersecurity students reviewing data on a display
Montgomery College's cybersecurity lab on the Germantown Campus is used for skills training, academic competitions and research activities.

“We acknowledge the threat that all of us face through cyber-attacks, and we are committed to training professionals who will contribute to countering those threats,” said Silvia Vargas, professor of Cybersecurity and Networking. “The honor represents hard work of MC faculty and staff, but also our students, who have been exemplary representatives in the workforce.”

Montgomery College offers a cybersecurity associate in applied science degree and has transfer agreements with some of the best colleges in the area for cybersecurity: Capitol Technology University, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Marymount University, University of Maryland Global Campus, and SANS Technology Institute. The College also offers two certificates: an advanced network security certificate and Cisco certified network associate + security preparation certificate.

“We acknowledge the threat that all of us face through cyber-attacks, and we are committed to training professionals who will contribute to countering those threats.” 

In addition to the prestige of attending a CAE-CDE institution, students attending designated schools are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

Vargas adds, “We are delighted to be a part of the CAE-CD designation, as we thrive to raise cybersecurity disciples that protect our networks, starting from home to small businesses, corporations, and our state and federal government. Cybersecurity has a direct impact on our economy and as a result, we can impact the MC community by enhancing our program with better opportunities.”

Cybersecurity banner next to display of world map with server hub locations marked.
At Montgomery College, students gain hands-on, practical skills in cybersecurity from seasoned industry professionals.

The MC program emphasizes computer security and information assurance concepts augmented with current industry-standard techniques. Topics cover threats and vulnerabilities, prevention at the technical (hardware and software) and human levels, detection, response, and management aspects of security.

Montgomery College’s state-of-the-art cybersecurity lab on the Germantown Campus provides significant virtual computing and networking capabilities. The cyber lab is used for academic competitions and research activities, and it can host 100-plus virtual servers, 250-plus virtual desktops, isolated networks, and wireless and forensic technologies.