Maritime Security Summer Research Institute

Maritime Security Summer Research Institute

Beth Austin-DeFares (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA), Julie Pullen (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA) and Barry Bunin (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5946-9.ch005


In its efforts to respond to national workforce imperatives and central to its mission as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence in Port Security, the Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR), led by Stevens Institute of Technology, has created an intensive summer research program tailored to undergraduate and graduate-level students. The Summer Research Institute (SRI) is designed to engage multidisciplinary student teams in rigorous, hands-on research in collaboration with the Center's researchers and industry and government partners. The research fields include maritime security, remote sensing technologies, emergency response and management, and Marine Transportation System (MTS) resilience. The program aims to enhance the professional development of students while increasing their interest in advanced academic study and careers in the maritime/homeland security domain.
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Organization Background

In 2008, Stevens Institute of Technology was designated as the lead university in the National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR), a Department of Homeland Security Center (DHS) of Excellence (COE) in Port Security. CSR is one of two DHS centers (the other is led by the University of Hawaii) that together form the National Center of Excellence for Maritime, Island, Remote and Extreme Environment Security (MIREES). The Center supports DHS efforts to provide for the safe and secure use of the nation’s maritime domain and a resilient Marine Transportation System (MTS), through the advancement of the relevant sciences and the professional development of the current and prospective maritime security workforce.

Central to CSR’s mission is the transfer of its research and expertise into innovative educational programs designed to enhance maritime domain awareness and MTS resiliency, and the interest, knowledge, technical skills and leadership capabilities of the nation’s current and future maritime security workforce.

Since the Center’s inception, CSR in collaboration with its academic partners, Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, University of Miami, University of Puerto Rico–Mayaguez (UPRM), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Monmouth University, have worked together to develop a comprehensive portfolio of maritime security-centric educational programs. These include:

  • The Summer Research Institute,

  • Professional development programs, seminars, and certificates tailored to maritime security practitioners,

  • The Maritime Systems Master’s Degree program, including the DHS-funded Maritime Systems Master’s Degree Fellowship program.

CSR leverages the existing programs, research assets and teaching talents of its academic partners to develop, support and deliver the Center’s educational programs. Committed to advancing the Center’s educational portfolio and outreach to current and prospective maritime/homeland security practitioners, CSR hired a full-time Director of Education in 2010 to coordinate and evolve its programs.

To date, the Center has successfully delivered multiple professional development courses and seminars to stakeholders, it has been awarded three consecutive DHS Career Development Grants to support nine full-time students in Stevens Institute of Technology’s Maritime Systems Master’s Degree program and has engaged 70 high-achieving engineering and science students from 16 U.S. universities in its Summer Research Institute.

The eight-week intensive Summer Research Institute (SRI) brings together CSR’s academic partners, together with its robust partnerships in industry and government, to provide a rigorous, hands-on, multidisciplinary research program for undergraduate and graduate-level engineering and science majors.

The concept and framework for the SRI was modeled after a Maritime Security Summer Institute pilot program coordinated by CSR researcher Dr. Scott Glenn, Director, Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Engineering Laboratory. The ten-week pilot program leveraged funding support by DHS, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Vetlesen Foundation, to expose undergraduate students to ocean sensing and modeling technologies used in maritime security applications. Nineteen students representing four U.S. universities participated in the experiential research program.


The Need: Maritime/Homeland Security Workforce Development – Experiential Learning

Preparing students to compete and be successful in the global economy and workforce is of paramount concern and interest to the U.S. government, business community, policy makers, citizens, and academic institutions. Studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century (2007, 2010) and reports prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor (Jobs for the Future, 2007) suggest that the strength of the U.S. economy relies heavily upon the nation’s ability to make long-term investments in the research capabilities and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills of our next generation workforce.

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