West Virginia Research Trust Fund Awards Matching Grant to FSU

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Open Source Intelligence Exchange at Fairmont State University (OSIX-FSU) has been selected to participate in a matching grant challenge through the West Virginia Research Trust Fund STEM Grant Program for State Colleges and Universities.

The OSIX-FSU is the laboratory and applied research arm of FSU's National Security and Intelligence (NSI) Program, designed to provide the necessary background for students to pursue careers as research or intelligence analysts in government agencies and private enterprise. NSI students are handpicked and rigorously screened to participate in OSIX-FSU, led by director David Abruzzino. The OSIX-FSU assesses and leverages new and emerging information technologies in support of U.S. national security and law enforcement communities.

"The New Media Assessment Project will benefit the university and its students, the state of West Virginia and the nation," said Abruzzino, director of OSIX-FSU. "Police and intelligence agencies across the country are just beginning to recognize the importance of monitoring new media, but most lack the skills and resources to do so effectively. This project will allow our students to become leaders and experts in a lucrative and rapidly growing field." 

FSU will receive a dollar-for-dollar match for funds raised for OSIX-FSU's New Media Assessment Project, up to $100,000 from the Research Trust Fund. Also known as "Bucks for Brains," the Research Trust Fund was established in 2008 to fund STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) research.

"This grant award speaks to the distinctiveness of OSIX-FSU and the ingenuity of its director, David Abruzzino," said Dr. Tom Krepel, FSU president. "Fairmont State is committed to building and delivering programs that respond to regional, state and national needs and opportunities. Our programs, such as OSIX-FSU, are targeted, selective and strategic. Experience students gain by working in the OSIX lab will prepare them for advanced positions in intelligence, information technology, national security, defense technology and other demand fields."   

Abruzzino came to FSU in January 2010 as the director of OSIX-FSU and an adjunct faculty member in the NSI Program. He has served in several positions within the national intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

"Professor Abruzzino is an incredible addition to the fastest growing major at Fairmont State," said Dr. Greg Noone, director of the NSI Program.

The New Media Assessment Project will enhance OSIX-FSU's ability to leverage new media and emerging technologies in support of national security and law enforcement communities. OSIX-FSU students will develop tools to capture and analyze information from publicly-available emerging media sources such as Twitter, social networking sites and online discussion boards in order to identify and assess national security and law enforcement threats.

"OSIX-FSU is integral to Fairmont State's National Security and Intelligence Program," said Dr. Deanna Shields, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "The lab provides invaluable hands-on opportunities to students, and this funding will significantly enhance the work that they are able to accomplish."

OSIX-FSU was established in 2009 as part of FSU's National Security and Intelligence Program, the only program of its kind at a higher education institution in West Virginia. FSU is also the only institution in West Virginia that offers classes in Farsi, a language of critical importance to national security.

For more information about Fairmont State's National Security and Intelligence Program,  click here.