CyberTech program receives record $1.03 million grant from National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.03 million grant to Kennesaw State University’s College of Science and Mathematics to help make the groundbreaking CyberTech initiative a national model for programs designed to increase diversity in the sciences.

Georgia (Dec 6, 2004) — The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.03 million grant to Kennesaw State University’s College of Science and Mathematics to help make the groundbreaking CyberTech initiative a national model for programs designed to increase diversity in the sciences.

“This is a size grant that usually only goes to the larger research universities‚” said Dr. Larry Peterson‚ dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “It speaks volumes for the program. They wouldn’t fund it at this level if it didn’t have some real impact. ”

The grant — the largest ever bestowed upon a KSU program by the NSF — will be paid out over the course of the next three years through the foundation’s “Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers” (ITEST) program. It will allow CyberTech to grow from its current four−week summer format into a comprehensive three−year curriculum.

The three−year program will engage more than 600 students and 50 teachers‚ together representing at least 10 northwest Georgia high schools‚ spanning from Dalton in the north to two selected representatives of the Atlanta Public Schools (South Atlanta and Washington). Six different Cobb County schools also will be involved‚ along with Marietta High School.

Participants have the opportunity to earn as much as nine hours of college credit‚ as well as two years of high school credit‚ by completing the expanded curriculum. The experience begins with an online class for second−semester sophomores in January 2005 and concludes with the advanced placement computer science test offered to graduating seniors in 2007.

“We’re really excited about this program because it is at the core of what this college is all about‚” Peterson said. “We’re committed to offering degree programs that provide skills required in the job market today‚ as well as the fundamentals that will allow the students to grow and learn as the technology changes.”

Piloted in 2001‚ CyberTech was created as a way to expose students from traditionally under−represented groups (primarily Hispanics‚ African−Americans‚ women and those who will be the first from their families to go to college) to the opportunity of a career in the sciences. Through partnerships with Dell‚ The UPS Foundation‚ Equifax and Microsoft‚ the program has offered not only state−of−the−art training in computer technology‚ but also the opportunity to build relationships and develop role models with minorities already working in the industry.

“What I see this program doing is really providing a lot of incentive for students to take their high school education more seriously and to identify careers at the high school level that are going to motivate them‚” Peterson said. “Once you have a goal like that‚ it’s amazing how you channel a lot of your energy into it. It helps students prepare for their education.”

The new curriculum is built upon the success of the pilot program‚ which quadrupled in size between 2001 and 2004 under the leadership of CyberTech Director Dale Benham.

“What we’ve learned over the last four years is we can put together a program that will interest and attract students‚” Peterson said. “The average retention rate in our summer program has been 97−98 percent. It says a lot for Dale Benham and the CyberTech faculty that we are teaching a very complex subject in a way that engages and interests the student.”




 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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