Florida Southern College (FSC) has received a $250,000 grant from the Truist Foundation to launch a new Cybersecurity Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. This gift will create an innovative program to address the nation’s urgent need for well-educated cybersecurity experts with the entrepreneurial acumen to help shrink the skills gap in cyber careers while creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurism.
“As we see so frequently, cyber breaches affect business, government, and our economy. Our cutting-edge program will be enhanced further with this generous gift from the Truist Foundation as we continue to develop the future leaders in this field,” said Dr. Anne B. Kerr, president of Florida Southern.
There are three key components to the gift. The first will create a new state-of-the-art lab that includes a virtual cyber range for customized training environments in the soon-to-be opened Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center. In addition to learning new technical skills, FSC students will also be able to participate in a new cyber entrepreneurship accelerator program. In this program, students will present their cyber application solutions to business leaders and venture capitalists in this field, developing mentoring relationships between the students and professionals in the industry. Additionally, Florida Southern will host a Cybersecurity Forum to advance shared discussion and best practices in cyber technologies, tools, and techniques.
“This grant will help train the next generation of cybersecurity experts, promote local innovation and build upon our strong relationship with Florida Southern College,” said Truist Central Florida Regional President Sandy Hostetter on behalf of the Truist Foundation. “This is the type of partnership which will benefit so many stakeholders, and I’m proud of what we’ll be able to achieve together.”
The Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center, due to open and host classes for the first time for the Fall 2021 semester, will provide a state-of-the-art computing environment for the computer science department. In addition to high-tech classrooms and collaborative learning spaces, the new structure will house a cybersecurity and informatics learning lab in a flagship computer cluster that also includes a virtual cyber range for customized training environments, a logistics center, a workshop for autonomous vehicle research, an artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics lab, a makerspace workshop, and an esports competition arena.
Established in 2020, the Truist Foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity.