Doctoral Bound: Computer Science and Information Assurance PhD Fellowship Program

Principal Investigator/Project Director

Meline Kevorkian

Colleges / Centers

College of Computing and Engineering


U.S. Department of Education

Start Date



The College of Engineering and Computing at Nova Southeastern University (classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) will use GAANN grant support to generate knowledge by examining the effectiveness of a combination of evidence-based and evidence-generating academic and student support strategies impacting the recruitment and degree progression and attainment of Computer Science (CS) and Information Assurance (IA) PhD students. This new GAANN fellowship program will provide much-needed financial support for eligible academically talented lower socioeconomic students, targeting those who are underrepresented in STEM, a group of particular importance to NSU (a Hispanic-Serving Institution). The CEC is a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense, attesting to the quality and rigor of its information assurance/ cybersecurity curriculum. Combined with existing high impact outreach and support services at no cost to the grant, the result will be a model that is responsive to the goal of GAANN, helping diverse CS/IA students earn PhD degrees in areas of national need, and enter the highest levels of scientific research, education, or professional careers, ultimately increasing the collective intellectual capital of the US, especially among underrepresented groups who have the potential to succeed in greater numbers. This project is an important piece of the Dean’s bold multi-year plan to transform graduate CS studies at the College of Engineering and Computing. Innovative strategies that will supplement existing effective programs and services include establishing a new training program that mentors and prepares PhD students to serve as Teaching Assistants, and implementing more formalized processes to facilitate the identification and support of academically talented diverse graduates of the MS in Computer Science and MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity to pursue the PhD. Measureable objectives are: (1) increase enrollment in CS-related PhD degree programs by a minimum of 20 percent; (2) increase underrepresented minority (URM) enrollment in CS/IA PhD degree programs by a minimum of 15 percentage points; (3) increase enrollment of Females in CS/IA PhD degree programs by a minimum of 10 percentage points; (4) increase the number of students in the Fall 2019 entering cohort who complete CS-related PhD degree programs within five years by 25 percentage points; (5) achieve the number of URM and Female GAANN fellows who complete CS/IA PhD degree programs within five years at 25 percentage points higher than 2018 baseline.

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