In 2019, LeMoyne-Owen College (LOC) was designated as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA). LOC is one of less than 10 HBCUs that have this designation nationally out of the more than 300 selected colleges and universities. The mission of the LOC Center for Cybersecurity (LOC-CCS) is to introduce cybersecurity as a STEM/STEAM interdisciplinary focus, introduce cybersecurity at the K-12 level, and provide community engagement. LOC proposes expanding the cybersecurity program to an interdisciplinary program that introduces cybersecurity and STEM/STEAM to areas such as criminal justice and education. In this effort as a PIT-IN Member, LOC will expand its research efforts into data sciences, biotech, etc. to help the community it serves. Many of these areas have both security and non-security applications. In the non-security area, implicit bias exists in the application and dispensing of the technology. LOC will introduce concepts in academic programs that teach students how to apply technology that is biased in a manner to combat the bias and expand the innovation. Thus, allowing LOC to introduce aspects of computer science as a utility field to other areas and show the benefit of technology.
LOC will expand and enhance the technology on our campus by introducing to all majors STEM/STEAM concepts through providing a Technology Innovation and Research Center (TIRC) for LeMoyne-Owen College. The LOC-TIRC will be the innovation and research center building on campus. The LOC-TIRC will provide spaces for collaboration, research/laboratory, conferences, and maker/prototyping. These partnerships, enhancements, and expansions provide the foundation for a holistic approach to a STEM/STEAM centric education for all degree programs and provide the foundation for a holistic approach to teaching technology, by focusing on public interest, foundational efforts, and cybersecurity. Thus, allowing for socio-economic changes needed in the community by teaching students about careers that will have generational influence.
Public Interest Technology (PIT): Introducing PIT via Cybersecurity to Minority Communities
Through this project, we will work with our partners to create special topics course materials to introduce the concept of PIT and its importance to our
daily lives. We will do monthly informational lessons, virtual panels, or pre-
recorded lessons for educational purposes around the importance of cybersecurity and how it affects technology in the public interest for community engagement and K-12. We will produce monthly vignettes about the importance of cybersecurity and safety on campus and in the community. Finally, we will create some live vignettes around the importance of social media, technology and how it plays a vital role in the safety, economic growth, diversity, and inclusion of our community.
Denise Ferebee, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Cybersecurity