Each month, the Office of Sponsored Programs will spotlight a different PI and their research. If you are interested in being featured in our next spotlight, please email  . Please be sure to provide us with an abstract (3-5 paragraphs) about your research, explanation of your recent project, the amount your project (s) were funded for, special events that you are hosting or coordinating, obstacles or challenges you faced during the application process, if applicable, and a photo of yourself .   

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Dr.  Nicole Simon
Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives

Dr. Nicole Simon is Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives at John Jay.  Under the leadership of Associate Provost Anne Lopes, Simon’s office partners with industry to develop clear, well-supported pathways from high schools and community colleges into John Jay, through college, and out into careers in high-need areas of the workforce.  Since joining John Jay in Fall 2015, Simon has been focused on developing pathways into the cybersecurity field.  The Cybersecurity Initiative now supports students in gaining real-world experience at every stage – in high school, in college, and during early career. 

At the high school level, John Jay offers a year-long, paid program—Cyber Crime Investigators—for rising seniors at NYC public schools. It begins with summer camp at John Jay, during which students complete a month-long Cybersecurity Challenge. As consultants for a fictitious non-profit, student teams employ Design Thinking to develop the organization’s cybersecurity plan.  This programming has been supported by the Price Family Foundation and NSA/NSF GenCyber.  Professional development programming is supported by Google CS4HS.

At the college level, Dr. Simon collaborates with the Computer Science and Information Security (CSIS) department and Student Academic Support Programs (SASP) to ensure that students graduate from college on-time and workforce-ready.  Through a partnership with the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA), John Jay offers a credit-bearing Cybersecurity Virtual Internship, which is led by industry professionals who serve as CSIS adjunct faculty and as John Jay College Cybersecurity Industry Fellows.  Simon is also piloting a cybersecurity-specific Workforce Readiness Program and alumni engagement efforts.  In addition, with Undergraduate Studies, Simon is co-coordinating efforts to expand the CUNY Justice Academy to include computer science majors from 6 community colleges.  This programming is supported by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and the Carroll and Milton Petrie Family Foundation. 

In addition to directing the Cybersecurity Initiative, Simon is responsible for building strategic partnerships with external actors through the John Jay College Success Collaborative, which she founded and co-chairs with Kate Szur.  The Success Collaborative partners with schools, districts, community based organizations, and non-profits to ensure that John Jay students—especially those with the most needs—are served effectively and efficiently. 

Simon earned her doctorate in Education at Harvard University, where she remains a Research Affiliate with the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers.  Simon holds an Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching from Harvard, and an MS in Design & Environmental Analysis and a BS in Human Development, both from Cornell University.  Simon served as a Harvard Presidential Public Service Fellow at Boston Public Schools, and as a Radcliffe/Rappaport Policy Fellow at the Massachusetts Department of Education.  Her dissertation—a Spencer Foundation funded qualitative study conducted with Susan Moore Johnson and Stefanie Reinhorn—focused on how successful, high-poverty schools attract, develop and retain teachers.  Findings have been published in Teachers College Record, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Ed Leadership, Ed. Magazine, and in Teaching in Context: The Social Side of Education Reform (Quintero, 2017).  Simon began her career in the New York City public schools.