KSU program aims to increase diversity in sciences

Kennesaw State University’s campaign to increase diversity in the sciences has a new partner in South Atlanta High School.

Georgia (Jun 17, 2004) — Kennesaw State University’s campaign to increase diversity in the sciences has a new partner in South Atlanta High School. Chris Reese‚ the High School Teacher of the Year for the Atlanta Public Schools‚ and a group of South Atlanta students are blazing a trail as the first representatives of their school system to participate in Kennesaw State’s groundbreaking CyberTech initiative.

CyberTech 2K4 is a month−long program designed to increase interest and improve achievement in science and mathematics‚ specifically among students from groups traditionally under−represented in science and technology related career fields. Piloted in 2001 with 30 students from South Cobb High School‚ the program has grown to approximately 120 students representing nine different area high schools‚ including new additions South Atlanta and Marietta this year.

“CyberTech is an invaluable asset to my students‚” said Reese‚ himself a product of the Atlanta public school system. “My students come from a diversity of backgrounds‚ and some of them don’t have computers‚ much less Internet access or programming experience. CyberTech allows them to be exposed to the technology and the programming‚ and the technical careers that are associated with computers. This is experience that they wouldn’t receive otherwise.”

Participants attend class three hours a day‚ five days a week on the KSU campus‚ leading up to commencement exercises June 26. During this time‚ they learn to use the Java programming language through personal instruction‚ tutorials and hands−on laboratory experience.

The curriculum is designed to introduce students to the world of computer science and prepare them to succeed in advanced placement computer science courses at their home schools.

“I like the structure of the program‚ and I like what it’s offering the kids‚” Reese said. “They will take a skill from this program.”

Complementing the classroom experience are guest lectures delivered by representatives of high−tech companies such as Cingular Wireless‚ Dell‚ UPS‚ Equifax and IBM. These speakers give students an inside look at the business world of the 21st century‚ and provide them with role models as well.

In addition to the personal expertise they provide through the guest lecture program‚ CyberTech’s corporate partners also lend financial support to the initiative. Dell has provided free computers for a select number of participants each year since the program’s inception‚ while Equifax now sponsors a $1‚000 scholarship to be given to a former CyberTech student who has decided to attend college at KSU. Recently‚ the UPS Foundation announced a $50‚000 donation to help cover the annual costs of the program‚ thus making it accessible to more students.

More support could be on the horizon in the form of a National Science Foundation grant that‚ if approved‚ will allow CyberTech to evolve from a four−week summer session into a comprehensive three−year program featuring 200 participants from throughout Northwest Georgia.

“We envision CyberTech serving as a nationwide model for science education‚” said Dale Benham‚ program director. “The goal is for participants in the program to serve as role models in their respective high schools‚ thus influencing their classmates to consider a career in science and mathematics.”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. 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. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu