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Shaping the Next Generation of Leaders

The SENTRY Workforce and Professional Development Program includes unique projects that were developed to build networks among Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stakeholders to enhance the educational, training, and research experiences of the current and future DHS workforce. These stakeholders include center students and researchers, DHS and Homeland Security Enterprise professionals, as well as relevant industry, government, and community members.

Reconnect Workshops

The Reconnect Workshop series is a long-running program at Rutgers University’s Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science. An annual event, Reconnect Workshops became part of SENTRY’s workforce and professional development program in 2022. Our goal is to use these workshops as a vehicle to foster broader participation of underrepresented groups at community colleges and undergraduate institutions by engaging their faculty in the exploration of specific research themes related to the SENTRY effort to protect soft targets and crowded places.

Reconnect Workshop 2024: AI for Security and Security for AI

Teaching Modules

The annual Reconnect Workshops encourage participating community college faculty to utilize the concepts discussed with SENTRY researchers to develop instructional modules for us in their classrooms. These modules are intended for five to eight days of instruction in mathematics, science, and computer science classes. Previous modules have covered a variety of homeland security topics related to research conducted by CCICADA and other Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence. Over the years, these comprehensive, cutting-edge teaching modules have enhanced learning for students nationwide, better preparing them for entry into the workforce.

Reconnect Educational Modules

Student Opportunities

Students are integral participants in SENTRY research projects at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Established in 2023, the SENTRY Student Leadership Council is a team of students working with our leaders to plan development opportunities for fellow students. Initiatives include networking events, internships, research experiences, and professional development programming. One such planned program is the annual round table event, connecting students with the SENTRY Industry Advisory Board. The two groups will engage in networking and career development activities for their mutual benefit.

Student Bulletin Board

Annual Student Design Challenge

Beginning in 2023, SENTRY joined forces with the Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency (CAOE), a fellow DHS Center of Excellence (COE) to co-lead the newly named Designing Actionable Solutions for a Secure Homeland (DASSH) student design challenge. This annual invitation-only event is open to student teams from COE-affiliated universities and minority-serving institutions and engages students from multiple disciplines at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. In the course of one weekend, specific problem statements related to real-world challenges within the DHS mission space are introduced and students are tasked with working collaboratively to develop potential solutions. DHS and COE mentors are available to provide guidance and advice as the students formulate their ideas and create a final presentation. At the conclusion of the event, teams present their solutions to a panel of judges who select the first, second, and third-place winning teams who receive prize money in recognition of their efforts.

DASSH (Designing Actionable Solutions for a Secure Homeland) Student Design Challenge

First Responder Information Sessions

Education is a critical component of security. That education includes not only discussions of the actual threats but of the precursor activities suggesting that a threat may be eminent. Those whose task is to ensure our security must understand the reason for the techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP) put in place to ensure it. As SENTRY develops improved TTP, we have an obligation to engage with the stakeholders and responders. Who are these people? Typically, we think of police and fire, but we must include also the on-the-ground personnel of any facility. For school safety venues, key stakeholders include superintendents, principals, teachers, custodians, security guards and students and parents as well. Reaching out to this diverse group of people in diverse venues is the goal of this effort.

Engineering PLUS Alliance

SENTRY is proud to support the Engineering PLUS (Partnerships Launching Underrepresented Students) Alliance, one of 17 National Science Foundation INCLUDES Alliances of higher education institutions and the only Alliance focused on engineering. NSF INCLUDES is a nationwide initiative designed to build U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by increasing the participation of individuals from groups that have been historically underrepresented in STEM. The Engineering PLUS Alliance posits that networked communities are needed to build an inclusive infrastructure that will drive the transformative, systemic, and sustainable change needed to achieve 100K undergraduate and 30K graduate engineering degrees awarded annually to BIPOC and women students by 2026.

Engineering Diversity Challenge

Driving Diversity in STEM

The DHS PEERs (Practitioners Enhancing Engineering Regionally) program is a transformative collaborative effort by SENTRY and the Engineering PLUS INCLUDES Alliance, with funding provided by the DHS S&T Office of University Programs. The program aims to empower a cadre of DHS PEERs affiliated with the DHS Centers of Excellence and their partners to join the Engineering PLUS stEm PEER Academy and a growing national community of engineering education equity leaders. These dedicated individuals will implement evidence-based practices at their institutions, fostering increased participation of underrepresented individuals, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, especially in areas related to homeland security. To join us on this journey toward diversity and excellence in STEM education and careers, contact Elizabeth Blume at for further information.

Changing the Face of Engineering