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Rep. Matsui’s visit highlights federally funded engineering, cybersecurity upgrades

During a news conference at Sac State on April 18, Rep. Doris Matsui, with President Robert S. Nelsen nearby, spoke with a student who explained some of the power lab equipment being upgraded by federal funding. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Congresswoman Doris Matsui came to Sacramento State on April 18 and witnessed technology that will help power the future, while discussing the federal funding she secured to support it.

In the federal spending bill signed into law by President Biden in March, Matsui secured $575,000 for new equipment for the campus Power Engineering lab, and another $250,000 for the creation of a classroom that will focus on cybersecurity training.

Matsui met with President Robert S. Nelsen, Sac State students, and others to celebrate the new funding and to observe how the University is using millions of dollars in federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) from the U.S. Department of Education to offset pandemic losses.

Doris Matsui
Rep. Doris Matsui played a key role in securing more than $800,000 in federal funding for two key Sac State projects. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

“These things that you are doing here cannot wait,” Matsui said during a news conference in Santa Clara Hall, site of the engineering lab. “So many institutions are way behind. I’m glad that these things are happening here at Sac State.”

The new funding will upgrade the engineering lab to meet modern teaching and workforce demands. Among other things, it will create hands-on learning environments for students studying electric power generation, transmission, distribution, and protection.

In the upgraded lab, students will learn engineering processes to better prepare them to help the nation meet its goals for combatting climate change, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and embracing renewable energy.

Establishing the cybersecurity classroom to accommodate 25 students will include purchasing computers, video units, servers, and software for “control stations” to advance training, analysis, and research.

Reports show the U.S. has a critical shortage of cybersecurity experts, who help protect the nation’s computer and telecommunications grids from intrusion by foreign countries and criminal entities. An upgraded lab at Sac State will allow professors to teach courses in a way that mimics real-world cybersecurity operations. Sac State hopes to use the program to help local high schools develop their own cybersecurity programs.

Through such projects, “our students will be helping to fuel the local, state, and national economy,” said Kevan Shafizadeh, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Before visiting Santa Clara Hall, Matsui observed HEERF-financed classroom technology upgrades and outdoor seating areas. The upgrades made remote learning easier, and the colorful seating allows students to study or take courses outdoors.

In all, Sac State has received more than $220 million in HEERF funds, allowing students to continue to work toward their degrees during the pandemic. The University has used more than $8 million to upgrade 450 classrooms for distance learning, given 7,000 students funds to purchase laptops, distributed more than $88 million to students in emergency aid, and forgiven $1 million in debt to students affected by the pandemic.

Nelsen thanked Matsui and Congress for investing in Sac State.

“On behalf of 31,500 students, thank you for caring about Sac State, for caring about our students, for caring about our future,” he said.

Matsui visit
Doris Matsui (third from left), the congresswoman representing Sac State's district, was joined by, from left, Kevan Shafizadeh, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Samantha Elizalda, ASI president, and President Robert S. Nelsen, among others during Matsui's visit to campus on April 18. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)


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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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