UWF Cybersecurity Director Appointed to Florida Cybersecurity Task Force
Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, director of the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity, will serve on the newly established Florida Cybersecurity Task Force.
Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed El-Sheikh, the only higher education Gubernatorial appointee on the task force. The task force will be chaired by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and includes the state chief information officer, state chief information security officer and representatives from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Division of Cybersecurity Management. Cybersecurity executives from Florida Blue, Memorial Healthcare System, NextEra Energy, PartsHawk, Publix and Walt Disney World Resort will join El-Sheikh on the task force.
“Dr. El-Sheikh has provided tremendous guidance in many aspects of cybersecurity for UWF and the community,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “We're not surprised she was chosen as a member of the Florida Cybersecurity Task Force as securing our state becomes increasingly important.”
Florida law requires the task force to review and assess the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure, governance and operations. The task force will analyze and identify potential improvements of state government cybersecurity programs, including individual state agencies, and prioritize the risks posed by identified threats.
“I'm truly honored to be appointed to the Florida Cybersecurity Task Force by Gov. DeSantis,” El-Sheikh said. “Enhancing cybersecurity across state government is essential for economic prosperity and securing the data of Florida's citizens. I look forward to serving on the task force and supporting efforts to enhance cybersecurity for our state and citizens and advance Florida as a leader in cybersecurity.”
El-Sheikh serves as a professor of computer science and the director for the UWF Center for Cybersecurity, guiding UWF’s efforts as one of eight cybersecurity regional hubs in the nation. The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated UWF as the Centers of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S. As the Southeast region hub, UWF provides leadership to advance cyber defense education among colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and South Carolina.
Under El-Sheikh’s guidance, the UWF Center for Cybersecurity also supports cybersecurity workforce development for the State of Florida, including training programs for State personnel in partnership with the Florida Department of Management Services and the Florida Department of State. Last year, the Center provided cybersecurity training to personnel across all state agencies and county elections offices. In September, the Center launched the Cybersecurity for All® program, courses developed to provide accelerated, flexible education and training pathways for organizations of all sizes and across sectors, including government, defense and the private sector.
El-Sheikh has extensive expertise in cybersecurity education, research and workforce development and conducts research on artificial intelligence and machine learning for cybersecurity. El-Sheikh earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the American University in Cairo and her master’s and doctorate degrees in computer science from Michigan State University.