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Students enrolled in Spartanburg Community College’s Computer Technology Networking Electives Associate of Applied Science degree program will soon learn more about the growing field of cybersecurity thanks to the award of a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to the College.
The $218,512 project award (NSF 17-568, Advanced Technological Education), entitled “Working with Industry to Incorporate Cybersecurity into Networking Programs,” is under the direction of faculty members from SCC and Swofford Career Center. The principal investigator is Marcia Schenck, department chair of SCC Computer and Engineering Technologies; and co-principal investigators (Co-PI) include Michael J. Reuter, instructor in SCC Computer Technologies, and Brian Duncan, networking engineer and teacher with Swofford.
“It is imperative that future IT workers stay abreast of new developments including new techniques and trends. Adapting resources from other sources and aligning all with our Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT), will allow SCC to create an advanced cybersecurity program unique to Upstate SC that meets the needs of the region,” explains Schenck. “We are excited to reach out to underserved populations. High school members of Cyber Patriot teams, veterans and others will now have an option to attend SCC to pursue a cybersecurity career.”
SCC’s Computer Technology associate degree program was established in 1975, and has been tweaked over the years to adjust to industry needs. The program receives guidance from a local advisory committee that meets bi-annually to suggest curriculum improvements. The addition of cybersecurity training, which is the practice of protecting systems, networks and programs from digital attacks, was recommended in 2015.
Schenck will oversee the piloting of new and modified courses using current college assessment procedure as well as lead the BILT, which is a team of local business and industry leaders who will serve as advisors for the new courses. She serves with the Spartanburg Cybersecurity Initiative and First LEGO League, and is a former Cisco Systems Academy Instructor.
Co-PI Michael J. Reuter is an SCC Instructor in Computer Technologies with years of experience as a network engineer, a veteran, and a member of the Spartanburg Cybersecurity Initiative and Cisco Systems Academy Instructor, where he was recently recognized as achieving the expert level instructor status. With input from the BILT and updated cybersecurity topics, he will lead curriculum development for the project. He will identify resources to enhance student lab experiences and create new critical thinking projects to include in course content. He will also develop new course(s) and modifying existing course(s).
Brian Duncan, with Swofford Career Center, will serve as the grant Co-PI as well as the project’s K-12 Cybersecurity Coordinator. He is also a US Army veteran and will recruit students, including high school students participating in local Cyber Patriot programs and veterans who would like to attend college to pursue a career in the growing field of cybersecurity. He will be involved with workshops, career fairs and summer camps.
“The Cyber Patriot program was developed in 2009 by the US Air Force to promote interest in cybersecurity, which is the state of being projected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data. The program prepares high school students to compete in a cyber-defense competition once a year. Local winners compete at the state level and then state winners advance to a national competition where they can win national recognition and scholarships,” Duncan explained.
“We look forward to attending Student Veterans Association meetings and local veteran activities in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties to recruit veterans to the program. This outreach program will strive to connect to these and other populations across SCC’s service area,” adds Reuter. “Without NSF funds, these activities to strengthen the pipeline for technician education and cybersecurity could not be pursued.”
The grant funding will support personnel, including faculty, lab assistants and student ambassadors, conference travel for faculty and SCC students, summer camps and Saturday workshops for area students and teachers, publications, program materials and equipment, and project evaluation. The project begins June 1, 2018 and ends May 31, 2021.
For more information on SCC’s Computer Technology Networking Electives Associate of Applied Science degree program visit www.sccsc.edu/computers/ or contact Marcia Schenck at (864) 592-4839 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos can be downloaded at the following link: www.flickr.com/photos/sccsc/NSF