ASU center, Allstate partner to address cybersecurity challenges


June 17, 2016

Arizona State University’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics (CDF) is partnering with Allstate Insurance to address digital security challenges by advancing cybersecurity research, education and entrepreneurship.

As the founding, platinum-level member and industry partner of CDF, Allstate Insurance will pledge $1.5 million over three years to support scholarship, student fellowships and competitions related to cybersecurity and digital forensics. In return, it will receive assistance in sourcing ASU students for internships, opportunities to partake in CDF-sponsored events, and office space at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. The ASU Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics and Allstate Insurance are partnering to address cybersecurity challenges with the help of research, education and entrepreneurship. Pictured, from left: Todd Hardy, senior economic development adviser, Knowledge Enterprise Development; Stephen Yau, professor, School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, who set up several information assurance programs in computer science; Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, executive vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development; Gail-Joon Ahn, director of Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics; Jamie Winterton, director of strategic research initiatives at Global Security Initiative, who leads cybersecurity strategy for the initiative; and Nadya Bliss, director of Global Security Initiative. Download Full Image

“In addition to managing sensitive and valuable data, Allstate is also arming itself against potential risks that might accompany emerging cyber-related technologies, including smart vehicles and home automation,” said Gail-Joon Ahn, director of the center and professor at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, who will be leading the partnership. “Allstate’s partnership with the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics will help identify and understand potential risks to help the insurance company continue to provide excellent service and fulfill its business goals.”

“Allstate provides innovative protection and retirement solutions to more than 16 million households across the country. We are also committed to the protection of confidential information,” said Paul Black, director of security engineering and operations at Allstate Insurance Company. “Our partnership with ASU aligns perfectly with our goals; to keep ahead of evolving cyber threats and constantly deploy innovative methods to protect our valuable information assets. We’re excited to collaborate with ASU to share cutting-edge academic research and apply what we learn to real-time corporate issues.” 

The partnership is expected to be the first of many that will link the center to industry, university and government entities that will play a vital role in producing a skillful workforce in the area of national security and contribute to economic growth.

To extend the impact of ASU cybersecurity and digital forensics research even further, CDF also aims to promote commercialization and technology transfer activities to advance innovation and entrepreneurial activities in the field.

“This partnership fits perfectly with the center's mission, bringing together expertise from private industry and academia, and giving students an opportunity to get hands-on experience. I look forward to working with Allstate to continue to establish the Valley as a leader in cybersecurity research, entrepreneurship and education,” said Nadya Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative that houses CDF.

The Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics focuses on three pillars — education, research and innovation — to help produce an outstanding workforce in the area of national security. It tackles short-term and long-term security challenges via top-notch research expertise and activities; and significantly contributes to economic growth in Arizona and the U.S. by transferring innovative and patented technologies to the marketplace.

Learn more about ASU’s Global Security Initiative and the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics at globalsecurity.asu.edu. For further information, contact Gail-Joon Ahn, director, Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics.

The Allstate Corporation is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names.

Media projects manager, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

 
image title

Making the case for arguments

ASU workshop gives teachers lesson in effective argument-writing.
June 17, 2016

Phoenix area teachers convene at ASU for summer argument-writing institute, learn techniques to take back to classroom

Some of the most significant turning points in history began with a compelling argument.

Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.” Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” Martin Luther’s “Ninety-five theses.”

Clearly the ability to express one’s opinion in a thoughtful, well-constructed manner is a powerful thing. That fact that has been further proven by a recent National Writing Project (NWP) study that found introducing argumentative writing curriculum into schools improved teaching results.

So for two weeks in June, 22 middle and high school teachers from throughout the greater Phoenix area convened at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus for the Central Arizona Writing Project 2016 Invitational Summer Institute to focus on improving their argument-writing teaching skills.

Supported by a NWP College Ready Writers Program grant, the institute is unique because it allows local teachers to experiment with a research-based teaching model while collaborating with ASU professors, past and present doctoral students, and each other.

“They get to come here to participate in workshops and work together as a professional community of writers,” said Jessica Early, co-director of the program with Christina Saidy. Both Early and Saidy are also ASU English professors.

During a workshop led by Saidy on June 16, teachers huddled together in small groups, listening to what each had written for a hypothetical podcast. Afterward, they took a few minutes to write letters to one another detailing what they liked and what needed work. Then they read their letters aloud, listened, took notes and asked for clarification.

In effect, they were demoing a lesson they could incorporate in their own classrooms.

teachers conversing during a workshop

Compadre Academy English teacher Cindy Glick (right, listening to feedback about her podcast script June 16) said the methods she has learned at the CAWP summer institute help to make argument writing “more interesting" and "more relevant” for students. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 

When they went home after the workshop, their “homework” was to rewrite and record the podcast based on the feedback they received.

“This thing we’re doing right now — this peer editing — is something I adopted from a previous class I took with Dr. Saidy that I have my students do now. And it’s revolutionized the way they edit and revise their work,” said Tricia Parker, who has taught 10th- and 11th-grade English at local schools.

That may be because the way students have been “peer editing” each other’s work isn’t nearly as effective. As Saidy explained to the class, “This is something that has been documented in schools. Students aren’t really reading each other’s writing.”

Instead, they’re simply filling out checklists — not expressing what they like or don’t like, not asking how they can improve, not having an actual, engaging conversation about their writing.

Cindy Glick, who teaches English and creative writing at Compadre Academy in Tempe, said the methods she has learned in the workshops help to make argumentative writing “more interesting, more attainable and more relevant” for her high school students.

According to Mesa Westwood High School 10th-grade English teacher Katie Garza, the workshop content is relevant for teachers, too.

“Everything we do in here as writers, as teachers of writers, is something we can do in the classroom with our kids,” said Garza. “Every single thing.”

That being the goal, a part of the day is set aside solely for the teachers to prepare lesson plans and units for the upcoming school year based on the day’s exercises.

And they aren’t just taking lessons from a single source; they’re learning from each other.

Steven Arenas, who participated in the institute last year as part of the requirements for his master’s in English education at ASU, now teaches at Alhambra High School in Phoenix. He came back to participate in the institute again this year, this time as a facilitator.

“My favorite part has been breaking up into groups and being able to listen to other teachers present their demo lesson and how they teach writing in their classrooms,” he said. “So I get to learn more and steal some ideas for them.”

As the institute came to a close, many of the teachers were looking ahead to the upcoming school year with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the experience.

“It’s been really helpful building these argument units that we’re going to take back to our classes this fall,” said Anthony Colaya, who teaches English at Dobson High School in Mesa, “and it’s been great being a part of this community of teachers working together.”