ATU Touts New Cybersecurity Lab

ATU Touts New Cybersecurity Lab
ATU cybersecurity students Spencer Massengale of Dover (left) and Zachary Spadoni of White Hall utilize the software resources available in school's new cybersecurity lab.  (Liz Chrisman)

Arkansas Tech University has a new cybersecurity lab on the first floor of Corley Hall on its campus in Russellville. 

The lab was built in pods that enable team-based activities, such as hackathons and programming contests. The renovated space also includes a server room dedicated specifically to the lab, an upgrade that allows students to engage in more project-based learning in a secure environment. 

In addition, the lab provides students with real-time data about online threats that exist around the globe. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who facilitated funding for the ATU cybersecurity lab, toured the facility during a visit to campus on July 30. 

"The demand is extraordinary across the country," he said in a news release. "Arkansas has as great of a demand as anyone because of Walmart and the industry that is here. They must have those information technology and cybersecurity professionals. You are in a good field, and you should have great opportunities right here (in Arkansas). 

"This is so critical, what you are doing at Arkansas Tech, for our state," Hutchinson continued. "We have to produce professionals in cybersecurity, information technology, computer science, software engineering and electrical engineering. We must have these graduates because otherwise we are going to lose companies and be unable to attract companies. It is so beneficial to us."

The ATU cybersecurity program was launched in Fall 2017. It is part of the Department of Computer & Information Science, which serves 400 students pursuing five bachelor's degrees, two associate degrees and a master’s degree in information technology. 

About 100 of the 400 students are majoring in cybersecurity.