UWO Opens New Cybersecurity Center

The University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh (UW Oshkosh) has opened a new cybersecurity center.

The Cybersecurity Center of Excellence was delivered in partnership with the Wisconsin Cyber Threat Response Alliance (WICTRA), a Madison-based nonprofit information technology and services organization.

Sited in the Culver Family Welcome Center on the university’s Oshkosh campus, the Center of Excellence will support research, training, and outreach in the field of cybersecurity among both university students and Wisconsinites.

Among the new center’s features are classrooms, a training lab, a small data center, and a live-fire cyber range that allows users to take on threats facing the cybersecurity industry today within a controlled learning environment.

Michael Patton, UW Oshkosh information systems lecturer and the director of the new center, said that the new facility’s goal was to demystify cybersecurity for students and the wider Oshkosh community.

“There is no Wisconsinite today who doesn’t have a cyber presence – from a Facebook account to your banking information. And yet, to most people, cybersecurity is this mysterious, specialized body of knowledge that they hope ‘the experts’ are taking care of for them,” said Patton.

“In reality, cybersecurity is more like automotive knowledge: You may not know how all of the systems in your car work, but you have to know about filling it up and when to change the oil. Our goal is to take away the mystery and intimidation so we can elevate everyone’s cybersecurity awareness one notch.”

Students at the university will be offered the chance to expand their cybersecurity awareness and learn marketable skills through free courses, events, lab work, and internship opportunities.

Plans are also under way to create a cybersecurity training program and related practical workshops for local schools and the wider Oshkosh community.

“We really want to be the embodiment of the Wisconsin idea that the universities here in the UW system are not just here to educate students, but to be meaningful in the lives of everyday Wisconsinites,” said Patton.

Services offered to K-12 schools via the new center will include a mobile lab for classroom activities, IT staff training, guest speakers, competitions, and summer camps.