STEM classes aim to be “the norm” in the Cyber City

Cyber Insider

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) —The cyber-industry is booming here in Augusta, and experts are working on expanding it into the classroom.

Cyber experts believe if we teach our youth technology skills, they are more likely to stay here and work to continue growing Georgia as the nation’s cyber-hub. Educators at the first-ever “Regional Teacher Collaboration Forum” told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson, we upped the game on the knowledge of technology, and we are no longer a lower level.

More than 50 educators from Georgia and South Carolina are receiving training from industry speakers on relevant emerging topics in cybersecurity; including cyber, computer science, and technology.

“We have to start training kids at an earlier age,” said business education teacher at North Augusta Middle School, Sandra Zeller. “We are introducing more rigorous courses, many of which center around cybersecurity.”

Zeller says educators usually do not have the time or the experience to get updates on the newest technology. She says it’s events like these that allow them to take it back to the classroom.

“I think that’s the most exciting part is,” explained Zeller. “We used to teach it in the high school level, and of course college level. But at the middle school level, I have parents asking offering the cybersecurity camp this year.”

Educators say, we have this industry in our backyard; and we have to take advantage of it.

“I think the community needs to know what is going on here,” says Cyber Academy of Excellence I.T., Braxton Woods. “And how important not only to Augusta but the national level.”

The goal is also to enhance the region’s K-12 STEM focus.

“Especially with Fort Gordon and cybersecurity, that’s the mission,” said the interim superintendent of Aiken County Schools, King Laurence. “We want to make sure the military families know that they are welcomed in the Aiken County schools.”

Augusta is typically considered only to be known for events like The Masters and The Nike Peach Jam. Many forget the growing cyber hub in the Garden City.

October is national cybersecurity month. There will be events in the Georgia Cyber Center during the month. Including the first-ever middle and high school level capture the flag event.

Photojournalist: Will Baker

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