Opinion: Math, science skills matter to military and Georgia’s cyber economy

Fort Gordon, outside Augusta, is the home of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and the future home of the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Sandra Carraway is the superintendent of the Columbia County School District. Col. Todd Turner is the garrison commander at Fort Gordon.

In this joint column, they discuss the school district’s efforts to deepen math and science skills in preparation for the growing cyber economy blossoming in Augusta related to Fort Gordon. Fort Gordon houses the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and will be the future home of the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command.

They also cite the importance of advanced course offerings in STEM courses to military families stationed at Fort Gordon.

By Sandra Carraway and Col. Todd Turner

Fort Gordon-area schools are on the front lines of an effort to raise student proficiency in the cyber skills and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, necessary for career success, as the workforce in our region rapidly transforms to support our nation’s cyber security requirements.

Our schools must also ensure that military families and civilian families working for the military actively seek out assignments here because of the rigorous and high quality coursework and challenging curriculum offered to their children.

Accordingly, the Columbia County School District has partnered with the National Math and Science Initiative to implement the College Readiness Program, a three-year effort that has dramatically increased, by 272 percent, the number of students at Grovetown High School taking and earning qualifying scores on Advanced Placement math and science exams. What’s more, this program has a proven track record of improving results for traditionally underserved and female students.

Dr. Sandra Carraway

But just as important is what this program means for military and civilian families that cycle through Fort Gordon, home of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and future home of the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command.

First, the National Math and Science Initiative grant, funded in large part by the Department of Defense, ensures that area students who enroll in specified AP classes not only are exposed to rigorous, college-level coursework, but they are better equipped to take part in the growing cyber economy in the Augusta area.

Because of Fort Gordon’s increasing importance in developing cyber capabilities for the military, the Augusta region is on the ascent and will soon join an elite fraternity of tech-savvy locales. PC Magazine dubbed the area “the newest cousin to Silicon Valley,” as thousands of defense jobs flock to the region to help make good on the Army’s cyber vision in defense of the nation.

Col. Todd Turner

Second, the dramatic uptick in STEM-related classes and the high student achievement in those classes should help allay any concern of service members and civilians alike eyeing an assignment here; Fort Gordon regional schools will prepare their children for careers and college, and they will give them the foundation and confidence to continue on for further STEM education.

When the Army opens its new Army Cyber Command Headquarters in 2020, Fort Gordon will become the center for Army cyber development, quite literally at the vanguard of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is only fitting that high schools surrounding the base are equipped with top-notch AP classes and intellectually curious students that, together, can add to the command’s success into the future.

 

Reader Comments 0

7 comments
MathTeacher3.14
MathTeacher3.14

If STEM is so important, why not pay the science and math teachers more? 

ChessMaster
ChessMaster

Whether we like it or not, even those who work in the humanities need basic cybersecurity skills as they work. Almost every non-physical job involves using a computer. Not knowing how to protect your company while you work can cost you your job.

Astropig
Astropig

@ChessMaster


"Not knowing how to protect your company while you work can cost you your job."


Amen.It cost a former secretary of state a job just recently. One of her staffers fell for a phishing scam and...Boom! Secrets laid bare.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I hope that readers of this blog will recognize the fact that more than the studies of math, science and technology, the humanities will bring human beings the wisdom and love to sustain life on our planet.

alt2AJC
alt2AJC

Are readers correct to assume that so-called "underserved" students are those reluctant in the past to put enough effort into learning?

An Intelligent Georgian
An Intelligent Georgian

@alt2AJC No.  Readers would be quite incorrect in saying that.  "Underserved" refers to opportunity.  "Lazy" refers to those who don't put in effort.  They are worlds apart.