Program overview

Despite their benefits, Online Social Networks are increasingly being exploited by malicious actors to conduct advanced classes of social engineering attacks with the goals of spreading disinformation or infiltrating into critical infrastructures or circles through orchestrated and personalized spear-phishing attacks. The focus of the proposed SNCA Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) project is to raise national capacity and capability in addressing geopolitical, social, or financial influence and disinformation campaigns, personalized social engineering attacks, and other emerging threats that are either enabled or facilitated through social networks.

The SNCA GAANN project's goal is to establish and sustain research and educational programs on the topic of social networks cybersecurity analytics and to recruit and train doctorate fellows focused on this area of national need. This PhD fellowship program, sponsored by the Department of Education, will train doctoral fellows in the area of Social Networks Cybersecurity Analytics while providing financial support for low-income students, helping cover the cost of attendance (tuition and monthly stipend) for doctoral students with financial need. 

If you are interested in joining the SNCA program, please review the eligibility requirements below. If you are eligible (or if you are not sure), please complete and submit the initial application here. If you have any questions regarding the fellowship or application process, please reach out to program lead Dr. Haadi Jafarian at

Applicants from traditionally underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. 

We are currently recruiting fellows for spring, summer, and fall 2022. Admission to the fellowship program on a first-come-first-served basis. Act now!

Program Management Team

Farnoush Banaei-Kashani, PhD

Associate Professor

Computer Science and Engineering

Phone: 303-315-0116