Cyber Ready St. Louis Program Continues with Bayer Fund Grant

Maryville University announces a $132,595 grant from Bayer Fund, the philanthropic arm of Bayer, to double the size of the Cyber Ready St. Louis program currently in place in North St. Louis County high schools.

Cyber Ready St. Louis places Maryville’s cyber security faculty, along with junior and senior cyber security students, directly into North St. Louis County high schools, where they help prepare students for future careers in cyber security.

“We are excited to take Cyber Ready St. Louis to the next level,” said Rebecca Dohrman, PhD, associate professor of communication, who oversees the program. “Not only are we able to grow the program and reach even more students, but we also elevated the curriculum based off teacher feedback. The program is truly planting seeds for a successful future for students throughout the St. Louis community.”

Cyber Ready St. Louis launched last year. The Bayer Fund, formerly known as the Monsanto Fund, provided an initial grant for the program which supported 80 students and their teachers in the Jennings and Ritenour school districts as well as equipment and software. With renewed funding, the program will double in size, expanding to three additional school districts: Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy and Riverview Gardens.

Students who participated in the program used words like “fun” and “engaging” to describe what they accomplished. Cyber Ready St. Louis allows students to be creative and try something new, unlike some traditional high school curriculum. One student said his favorite thing about the program was that he had the opportunity to use code to create something he had never made before.

Johnelle McGee, a cyber security student at Maryville University, helped with some of the Cyber Ready St. Louis activities. She admits she found coding challenging in the beginning of her Maryville coursework, but her hands-on work with Cyber Ready St. Louis has helped increase her skills and her confidence. “This experience is helping me understand coding more, and feel like I’m better at it now than before,” she said.

Cyber Ready St. Louis is offered through Maryville’s Center for Access and Achievement (CA2). The CA2 provides high-quality STEM education for pre-K through 12th grade students and their teachers. Steve Coxon, PhD, executive director of CA2, notes that “Cyber Ready St. Louis supports Maryville’s mission to expand access and opportunities for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM to be better prepared for college and the careers of the future.”

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