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Program Legacy

The GenCyber Training Center at SHSU will be an outreach for our services through the College of Education to promote and enhance cybersecurity learning modules for those first-year teachers at middle and high schools. Each personnel and participant will receive a polo shirt printed with GenCyber’s logo. We expect to see the outcomes from this training program foster the participants’ interest and desire to include cybersecurity in their teaching subjects and continue incorporating their unit plan to expand cybersecurity awareness in their school.

Summary of this project

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) hosts a GenCyber Training Center for prospective educators pursuing a teaching certificate in all level of educators. Annually, SHSU cultures approximately one thousand five hundred certified teachers. About fifteen percentage of certified teachers are secondary STEM teachers. This center will provide three phases of support, including a semester-long pre-workshop: an online learning program; a one-week summer workshop; and a one-year post-workshop: mentorship program. The online pre-workshop will deliver the concepts of cybersecurity curriculum design and needed skillsets. A needs analysis survey will be distributed to the participants before they start the online program to understand the learners’ knowledge and competency in the use of cybersecurity tools. The one-week summer workshop will provide training in GenCyber cybersecurity concepts, ethics, cybersecurity careers, and curriculum developments. A Continuing Education Credit and Certificate will be issued to the participants who complete the training and required tasks. The ultimate goal will be to build a mentorship program during the post-workshop implementation process. We aim to support our future teachers in becoming competent and confident in teaching and integrating cybersecurity during their first year of teaching.

  • Phase One: March 20, 2023 – June 30, 2023 (16 weeks-long Online self-pace pre-workshop)
  • Phase Two: July 24th – July 28th 2023 (One-week in-person workshop)
  • Phase Three: Fall 2023 & Spring 2024 (Post-workshop mentorship)

Contact the Program Director for questions/comments/additional information.

  • Program Director: Dr. Li-Jen Lester

    Dr. LesterDr. Li-Jen Lester, Associate Professor of Computer Science, will oversee all GenCyber Training Center activities including hiring program staff, managing recruitment and program duration, ensuring safety on campus, overseeing program budget, co-teaching ethics and robotics drones' modules, and coordinating learning plan development with the instructors and K-12 pedagogical expert. She has been in the leadership team teaching masters and doctoral programs in Instructional System Design Technology (ISDT), which has graduated more than 250 P-16 teachers from these ISDT programs in the past 13 years and built a well-supported network with surrounding community partners. She taught more than five years of robotics design and programming to twenty-four Middle and High school teachers and students to prepare them for the Boosting Engineering Science Technology (BEST) Robotics Competitions. She also has been teaching a required core course: Professionalism and Ethics for the past three years. She has been actively serving the surrounding independent school districts to promote STEM curriculums and mentoring their robotics programs. From 2018 to 2021, she served as the board member of Information System and Computing Educators and chaired several international conferences.

  • Lead Instructor: Dr. Qingzhong Liu

    Dr. LiuDr. Qingzhong Liu, Associate Professor of Computer Science, will serve as the lead instructor to oversee the learning plan including developing the online 30 hours learning modules, implementing professional development for other instructors and program staff, providing feedback to instructors, and carrying responsibilities of the instructional leadership. Dr. Liu has been the team leader for cybersecurity research at Sam Houston State University. He is currently supervising three Ph.D. students. His primary research interest includes AI and applications, multimedia security and digital forensics, cybersecurity, bioinformatics. His study has been funded by the US Army, National Institute of Justice, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Health. In 2020, He was selected by Stanford University as one of the top 2% of scientists in Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing. Since 2010, the subjects primarily taught by Dr. Liu in cybersecurity include Digital Forensics and Information Assurance Fundamentals I, Digital Forensics and Information Assurance Fundamentals II, Cryptography and Steganography, Network Security, Operating Systems Security, Multimedia Forensics, Information Security, Mobile Forensics, File System Forensics, Deep Learning, and Computational Forensics.

  • Instructor: Dr. Bing Zhou

    Dr. ZhouDr. Bing Zhou, Associate Professor of Computer Science, will serve as an instructor for a few of the learning modules. She has been actively teaching and training students in computer science and cybersecurity for more than 10 years. Several of her former MS students have joined Ph.D. programs. She was recognized with the Faculty and Student Team Awards from the Center for Enhancing Undergraduate Research Experiences and Creative Activities (EURECA, SHSU) in 2016 and 2018. Dr. Zhou is also an impactful scholar in the professional community. Four of her journal articles are recognized as the top 1% highly cited papers by the Web of Science. Her research interests include Database Security, Database Forensics, Big Data Analytics, and Soft Computing. Dr. Zhou served as computer programming consultant of Region 6 Educational Service Center’s WeTeachCS Academy and offered free programming lessons to high school students in Conroe ISD during the 2017-2019 summer. In addition, she has been involved in programs to increase the representation of women in STEM.

  • Instructor: Dr. Amar Rasheed

    Dr. RasheedDr. Amar Rasheed, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, will serve as an instructor for a few of the learning modules. Dr. Rasheed has more than 15 years of research and teaching experience. He has held multiple research and teaching positions before joining Sam Houston State University in Spring 2020. He worked as an assistant professor and was the director of the IoT and Embedded Systems Security Lab at Armstrong State University, where he conducted and managed multiple undergraduate and graduate research projects in the areas of Authentications, Industrial Control Systems, and Data Privacy protocols for IoT systems. His research works were published in high-quality IEEE Transaction papers and conference proceedings. Dr. Rasheed also held a position as a postdoctoral fellowship in the Information Science and Technology Division at Applied Research Lab at Pennsylvania State University. During his appointment at ARL, Dr. Rasheed was able to develop multiple key distribution algorithms for stationary and mobile unmanned vehicle systems, his works were funded by the Air Force Lab.

  • K-12 Pedagogical Expert: Dr. Ashley Brittain

    Dr. BrittainDr. Ashley Brittain, Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning will serve as the K-12 Pedagogical Expert. The vision of the School of Teaching and Learning is to prepare leaders to impact a diverse and evolving world where they offer undergraduate degrees in science and art, 8 content area-specific certificates, 6 master’s degree programs, 3 professional certifications, and one doctoral program. Dr. Brittain has delivered professional development for K-12 teachers in all content areas and has 5 years of experience teaching elementary and secondary math and elementary science. Dr. Brittain has also served as a Campus Intervention Coach for 3 years prior to joining the Sam Houston State University faculty. Dr. Brittain’s pedagogical knowledge and teacher-coaching experience will be invaluable in mentoring participants on their incorporation of cybersecurity within their curriculum.

  • Staff

    Two graduate students from the SHSU, Computer Science Department, will serve as camp staff during the Summer One-Week Workshop. Their main responsibilities are to assist in each instructor’s teaching modules, manage lab equipment, organize the group experiments, and ensure the safety of participants. The lead instructor will provide professional training before they join the Summer One-Week Workshop.