This January, the first class of Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS) students will graduate from the I School, and for the first time, one outstanding MICS Capstone project will be awarded the Lily L. Chang MICS Capstone Award.
The Chang Capstone Award was established through a gift by Lily L. Chang, VP of the Strategic Transformation Office at VMware. In 2001, Lily established the Dr. James R. Chen Award for the winning final project of the Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program in memory of her late husband, a scholar at NASA. Upon hearing of the new MICS program at last spring’s commencement, Lily was inspired to create a prize for the program. As a career technologist and business leader, Lily is dedicated to cultivating security professionals.
The 14 students currently completing capstone projects, the culmination of the MICS students’ work in the Master of Information and Cybersecurity program, will graduate with a MICS degree in December 2019, and will be the School of Information’s first-ever cohort to graduate from the program. The students’ professional experience ranges from two to more than 20 years, and their current employers include Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Cobalt, U.S. Army, and the University of California, Berkeley.
This semester, five capstone projects are competing for the award. Throughout the program, students learn a wide range of skills that prepare them for successful careers. Throughout the program, students learn both core cybersecurity technical skills, and study the social impact of cybersecurity. Students are encouraged to engage in discussions to understand the societal factors that impact the cybersecurity domain and how cybersecurity issues impact humans.
At the end of the term, MICS projects are evaluated by an invited panel of judges who are responsible for selecting the top projects. Judges will assess the originality of the project, and consider if the tool created is productively aimed at addressing a specific need. The panel will also examine how teams demonstrate their application of security thinking and security knowledge to the problem space. Other criteria include the appropriate use of tools and techniques, a clear and concise presentation and the overall quality of the project.
This graduating cohort reflects the diversity in experience and background that the School of Information believes is critical for the field of cybersecurity. There are healthcare experts, from a small-office medical practice security consultant to a risk management leader for an industry giant. There are software engineers, from a security engineer in the most valuable tech company in the world to an early-stage architect of the company that now has the most active users in the world. There are veterans and active-duty military personnel, who are protecting national infrastructure. There is a journalist, who is trying to bring hidden stories about cybersecurity and national security to the public eye. These are individuals who are architecting, managing and protecting the technology of the university, city government, industry, and nonprofits.
Among this wide breadth of unique skills and perspectives, these students have banded together into a tight-knit cohort of cybersecurity professionals who will grow together throughout their cybersecurity careers. Being recognized for the Lily L. Chang Award will be several MICS students’ next step into a prosperous career in the cybersecurity field.