Middletown, Conn. (Oct. 9, 2019) — A graduate from Middlesex Community College is among 100 finalists in the U.S. Cyber FastTrack competition who have each been awarded a $22,000 scholarship to attend the SANS Technology Institute as part of an accredited college program called Applied Cybersecurity.
The scholarship winner from Middlesex Community College (MxCC) is Ian Bartolomei of East Haddam, Connecticut. Bartolomei earned an associate degree in computer information technology, cum laude, from MxCC in December 2018.
“I have been provided with a running start into a cybersecurity career. Cyber FastTrack, and the scholarship award for SANS Technical Institute’s undergraduate certificate program in applied cyberecurity has given me the opportunity to gain a competitive edge for which I am truly thankful,” said Bartolomei, who also received a communications networking certificate from MxCC.
Bartolomei says his class in Network Security Fundamentals at MxCC and a Unix/Linux class at Capital Community College prepared him for the competition, along with his MxCC academic advisor and professor Donna Hylton.
Currently, Bartolomei is completing a bachelor’s in cybersecurity and information assurance at Western Governors University. He begins study at the SANS Technology Institute in November. Aside from seeking employment, Bartolomei plans to further his education and earn a master’s degree.
U.S. Cyber FastTrack is an innovative nationwide competition that provides high-aptitude students with the practical cybersecurity training that employers demand. In the six months since the 2019 competition began in April, the finalists outperformed more than 13,000 other candidates. Across the nation, program finalists represent 63 colleges in 28 states.
“Cybersecurity is a fast-growing field where the demand for skilled workers surpasses the current supply,” said Alan Paller, president of the SANS Technology Institute, which sponsors the competition, “These winners will set a new, high bar for candidates for entry-level positions and demonstrate to employers that Cyber FastTrack graduates are the among the best prepared and most effective new cybersecurity employees they have ever hired.”
The scholarship recipients are expected to complete three advanced immersion courses in the SANS Applied Cybersecurity Program, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Students must also earn the professional GIAC certifications associated with each course, which employers recognize as validation of their skill set. Upon completion of the program, students will be introduced to select cyber employers for internships and employment.
The aim of SANS Applied Cybersecurity is to prepare students with the knowledge, tools, and techniques needed to launch a rewarding career in cybersecurity. The program is designed to produce graduates who (1) are among the top 1% of all students in the United States in reliably measured cybersecurity aptitude, (2) embody a high level of tenacity, curiosity, and rapid learning capabilities, and (3) have fully mastered the skills critical to success as cybersecurity professionals, ranging from networking to operating systems and programming.
Most finalists in the 2019 competition are in their third and fourth years of an undergraduate degree program or pursuing graduate degrees. Students come from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels and range in age from 18 to 63. A quarter of the finalists are women and one-eighth are minorities.
Paller said SANS aims to make the Cyber FastTrack competition available to all students in four-year and community colleges in the United States. “If these finalists are as successful as we expect them to be,” he said, “we will be on our way towards our goal to close the nation’s cybersecurity skills gap in the next 48 months.”
Registration for the next Cyber FastTrack competition opens in March 2020.
Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high-quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, enhancing the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. A part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, MxCC offers more than 70 degree or certificate programs at the 38-acre campus in Middletown, MxCC@Platt in Meriden, and online.
The SANS Technology Institute is a regionally accredited college that offers master’s degrees in cybersecurity as well as the Applied Cybersecurity Certificate. SANS was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today it is by far the world’s largest provider of cybersecurity education, training, and certification for professionals in government, commercial, and not-for-profit institutions.