Top graduate students pursuing careers in cybersecurity worked alongside Sandia and other prominent cybersecurity experts in a weeklong summer institute sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories at the Livermore Valley Open Campus.

Cyber Security Technology, Policy, Law, and Planning for an Uncertain Future, which followed last year's institute on energy technology and policy, focused on cyber law, policy, information sharing and other cyber-related issues. Three mentors led the students through a robust series of high-level talks, discussions and workshops from Aug. 5-10.

"Having worked in cyberdefense for many years and with multiple federal government customers, Sandia is well-versed in the deep technical questions and tools being developed to counter the cyber terrorism threat," explained Susanna Gordon, manager of the systems analytics department in Sandia's computer sciences and information systems center. "We're now developing an interdisciplinary approach to cybersecurity to complement that technical expertise, hence our decision to include policy, law and planning, as well as technology in this institute."

Participating students included those pursuing advanced studies in computer science, law, public policy and other disciplines. In addition to a strategic planning exercise, students chose one of the following focus areas:

  • Assured Sharing: Post-WikiLeaks Era Tensions in National-Security Information Sharing and Safeguarding
  • Public-Private Sector Responsibilities and Legal Issues in Our Nation's Cyber Defense
  • Trusted Digital Systems Designed with Field-Programmable Gate Arrays

"It was an amazing experience," said James MacAulay, a Syracuse University student who is pursuing graduate degrees in Public Administration and Telecommunications and Network Management. "I came away with some amazing insight and ideas into the subject matter. The speakers and mentors were top notch and had great wisdom and insight."

Institute organizers hope the experience will help persuade the students to consider careers focused on improving US cybersecurity, including future employment at or collaboration with Sandia.

"We'd love to have some of the students return to Sandia as employees, so exposing them to our laboratory and to the cyber work we're engaged in was an important objective," said Gordon. "But even beyond that, we generally are interested in helping students to learn about national security and motivating them to look into our nation's defense as a potential career path."


Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia media relations contact: Mike Janes,, (925) 294-2447

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