New program encourages minority students in security analysis

DAYTON, Ohio — Local college students are getting hands-on experience in analysis through a new program aimed at addressing the “severe lack of diversity” in the field.

Students from the Central State University, Clark State Community College and the University of Dayton are getting training and internship experience through the “Nanotechnology-Focused Minority Analyst Project.” Nine students are participating in the first year of the project, according to UD.

“It’s a really good program where you get on-the-job training and experience at the same time, as well as getting paid,” said Melody Wilson, a Central State alumnae and current graduate student at Wright State University.

The information security analysis field is expected to grow 22 percent between 2010 and 2020 — which is faster than average, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual pay is $75,660, according to the government agency.

But less than 13 percent of analysts and people in related fields are black or Hispanic, according to the bureau. And that is seen by experts as a significant shortcoming, said Jeff Kramer, University of Dayton Research Institute sensor systems division research analyst and Nanotechnology-Focused Minority Analyst Project advisor.

“In intelligence, diversity is important, because if everyone has the same background and experiences, you only get one point of view,” Kramer said in a news release. “Minority analysts can provide multicultural perspectives that are essential for success in this increasingly global world.”

Wilson, 23, said the program has exposed her to what she could use the statistics master’s degree she is working toward for other than a more traditional career, such as teaching.

The Dayton resident said it is also giving her valuable experience and professional contacts that she hopes will help her land a job after graduation.

“It’s a very good program to participate in because a lot of jobs, you may have all the education, but you need some type of experience under your belt,” she said.

The project is a part of a Clarkson Aerospace program with the Air Force, according to UD. Students this spring worked at the University of Dayton Research Institute’s location in TechTown, on the campuses of UD and Central State and at the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center in Beavercreek, according to UD.

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