RSA® Conference announces the RSA Conference Security Scholar program – a new initiative sponsored by RSA to connect the brightest up-and-coming cybersecurity students to leading experts, peers and conference attendees during this year's conference.

"Currently, there is a great need in the market for cyber professionals. The industry is seeing a dramatic rise in job openings juxtaposed with a lack of incoming talent,” said Sandra Toms, vice president and curator for RSA Conference. “We created the Security Scholars program to directly address this issue by sparking an interest in the cybersecurity industry with future thought leaders. This initiative presents an exciting opportunity to connect a wide variety of students to cybersecurity professionals, ultimately allowing students to develop a clearer understanding of how their skill set can help them pursue a career in cybersecurity.”

For its inaugural year, RSAC identified leading private and public universities across the country and asked them to select three of their top scholars to represent their university at the conference. Universities were purposely selected to represent different information security specialties ranging from policy to cryptography to digital forensics and sent students to work in the private, public and academic sectors. Scholars chosen cover a variety of majors and industries, emphasizing the need of security experts in a wide range of fields.

"At the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley, we recognize the importance of building stronger relationships between the academy and industry, said Betsy Cooper, executive director for the Center. “We are pleased to serve as partners in the inaugural RSA Conference Security Scholar Program in order to give our students exposure to top-level industry officials and their interests, as well as to give those officials better insight into the amazing work our students are doing at Berkeley.”

Attending students begin their conference experience with a team-building activity and welcome reception on the Expo floor, where they meet and mingle with top corporate security companies in attendance. The following day, scholars enjoy reserved seating at the opening keynote, listen to industry luminaries discuss industry trends and participate in Learning Labs, where they can gain a deeper understanding of security culture through various hands-on exercises.

Conference attendees have the opportunity to meet the scholars during the RSAC Security Scholar Poster Exhibition in the Viewing Point on Wednesday, March 2 from 5-6 p.m. where scholars demo and discuss their work while connecting with industry leaders.

Participating universities include:
• Carnegie Mellon University
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Mississippi State University
• New York University
• Purdue University
• Pennsylvania State University, College of Information Science and Technology
• Stanford University, Stanford Cyber Initiative
• University of California, Berkeley, Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity
• University of Texas at San Antonio
• University of Washington Bothell, Cyber Security Engineering