U.Va. Engineering School Beefs Up Alliance with Major Science and Technology Firm to Support Programs, Research

September 22, 2008

September 22, 2008 — The University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science has strengthened its relationship with a Fortune 500 company to provide significant support for the school's educational programs and research.

The new alliance includes a five-year master research agreement which will support a collaborative, cyber-security speaker series co-hosted by the Engineering School and Science Applications International Corp.

SAIC will also provide funding for student research projects and scholarships for SAIC employees.

The first lecture on cyber conflict, cyber deterrence and imperatives in national cyber security, to be given by Robert J. Giesler, SAIC's vice president for cyber programs, will be held Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Mechanical Engineering building, 122 Engineer's Way on the U.Va. Grounds. All lectures are free and open to the public. 

The alliance between this leading science and technology firm and the School of Engineering and Applied Science is mutually beneficial, Dean James H. Aylor said.

"While SAIC continues to find great talent in our graduates, we are excited and thankful to have such a respected firm support our educational programs, research and technology transfer efforts," he said.

From SAIC's perspective, the company will benefit not only from being on the radar of well-qualified engineering graduates, but also from access to commercially viable research.

"Maintaining strong ties to universities is important for a science-and-technology based company like SAIC," said John Thomas, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. "We see the pursuit of joint research and educational initiatives as highly important in meeting future challenges in business and technology, and we are excited to expand our relationship with U.Va."

SAIC is a San Diego-based scientific, engineering and technology applications company with approximately 44,000 employees working to solve problems in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure and health. One of its major units, the Cyber Program Management Office, is based in McLean, Va.

Its clients include the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. government civil agencies and selected commercial markets.

The master research agreement, a keystone of SAIC's alliance with U.Va.'s Engineering school, will enable prompt funding of research over a five-year period. Often, research funding is delayed by the contractual paperwork required at the onset of each new research project. With this agreement in place, the school will be able to more easily roll out faculty projects, including wireless technology and data mining research.

SAIC will offer research stipends that will fund graduate or undergraduate student projects. These stipends will range from $5,000 to $20,000 and support research that addresses technical challenges and issues that are of interest to SAIC and its customers, including cyber security, knowledge management and large data networks.

The Engineering School also plans to host a cyber-security lecture series that will serve as an educational experience for students and faculty, as well as SAIC employees. This will involve faculty traveling to SAIC in McLean for four lectures and SAIC employees coming to the school for an additional four lectures.

In addition, select SAIC employees will receive scholarships for the full 18 months of the U.Va. Systems Engineering Accelerated Masters Program. This high-intensity program readies graduates for consulting positions that fit SAIC's business model.

The dates and times of the fall cyber security lecture series are as follows:

Sept. 26:  Robert J. Giesler, vice president for cyber programs, SAIC.
Giesler is responsible for developing corporatewide strategies, programs and investments in all facets of the cyber domain. Prior to coming to SAIC, Giesler was a member of the senior executive service and served as director of information operations and strategic studies in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He will be speaking on trends in cyber conflict, cyber deterrence and imperatives in national cyber security

• Oct. 24:  Scott Aken, cyber operations manager, SAIC.

Aken is the vice president for cyber security for SAIC's Cyber Program Management Office in McLean. Most recently, he was a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While with the FBI, Aken was as¬signed to the Counterintelligence / Counterterrorism Computer Intrusion Cyber Squad and con¬centrated on complex cyber counterintelligence investigations.

• Nov. 21: Christopher Milner, senior software engineer, SAIC.

Milner is a senior computer scientist at SAIC. His most recent focus has been a project implementing multi-lev¬el secure access to data. This MLS problem has been researched and studied over the past 30 years with the goal of storing data of multiple security levels accessible by multiple security zones. This will lead to the capability to store multiple levels of security labeled data in one place avoiding data duplication.

• Jan. 23: Hart Rossman, assistant vice president and chief security technologist, SAIC.
At SAIC's center for information, physical security and secure information sharing, Rossman leads exploration and assessment of existing and emerging technolo¬gies, vendors, tools, devices and applications to promote continuous integration of the best into client and in-house solutions. His interests include security and information-sharing issues, including enterprise system security, secu¬rity convergence, network operations, electronic communication, incident response, risk management and secure system integration practices.

All lectures will be held at 2 p.m. in room 205 of the Mechanical Engineering building, 122 Engineer's Way in the McCormick Road area of U.Va. Grounds. Food and refreshments will be provided. All lectures are free and open to the public.