Tech receives DOE grant for cyberspace education programs

Oct 5, 2009 | General News

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Louisiana Tech University a $951,000 grant to support interdisciplinary cyberspace and science education programs throughout northern Louisiana.

Dr. Galen Turner, associate professor of mathematics and associate dean of graduate studies for Tech’s College of Engineering and Science, has worked with professors from a number of different disciplines on the Tech campus to develop Cyber K-12: Building a foundation for cyber education in North Louisiana.

Cyber K-12 will provide professional development opportunities for K-12 educators throughout northern Louisiana, yielding an increased number of teachers who will gain insight into our nation’s cyber challenges. The project is a product of Louisiana Tech’s STEM Talent Expansion Program and builds upon a strong collaborative partnership with the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City.

“This project will help advance Tech’s cyberspace initiatives by further developing the high school professional development model produced by our engineering and science faculty over the past few years,” says Turner.

“Cyber K-12 has also led to the recently approved Integrated STEM Education Research Center (ISERC) housed in the College of Engineering and Science. This Department of Education grant will be pivotal in continuing to advance the university as a leader in STEM education in North Louisiana.”

The strength of Cyber K-12 is rooted in Louisiana Tech’s highly-interdisciplinary approach to cyber education. The Cyber Discovery Summer Camp, for example, is a collaborative between Tech and the CIC that exposes student and teachers to the technological, social, political and historical aspects of cyber.

“It shows students how life is interconnected and that they must pay attention to all of the issues surrounding the real problems that we face as a society,” says Turner.

Programs such as Cyber K-12 and the Cyber Discovery Summer Camp are serving as a model for interdisciplinary education and continue to place Louisiana Tech on the national stage.

Government entities such as the Department of Education have recognized the need to support and fund institutions that are working to secure the nation’s cyber domain.

“National leaders have emphasized the great importance in protecting the U.S. from cyber attacks,” says Dr. Les Guice, vice president for research and development at Louisiana Tech.

“This grant will leverage other investments and initiatives underway in North Louisiana to position our region as a national resource for cyber research and for a highly skilled cyber workforce.”

Working with its partners at the Cyber Innovation Center as well as through members of the Consortium for Education, Research and Technology (CERT) of North Louisiana, Louisiana Tech anticipates that programs such as Cyber K-12 will be replicated at other colleges and universities around the nation.

“Cyber K-12 and the Cyber Discovery Camp initiatives engage students. They provide a mechanism for teachers to partner and mentor with students to explore new worlds,” says G.B. Cazes, vice president of the Cyber Innovation Center. “We’re still teaching science, math and engineering concepts; we’re just doing in a much more fun and dynamic way.”

Turner envisions a world of opportunity for those involved in the future of cyber education.

“Cyber K-12 can show teachers and students alike just how much of an opportunity they have to study this emerging field with the potential to be leaders in the field in the next 10-20 years.”

Written by Dave Guerin