Ability spurred by $300,000 Grant from American Electric Power Foundation
Working to bolster northwest Louisiana’s knowledge base in computer science, cyber security, sciences and related areas, American Electric Power Foundation has selected the new Cyber Collaboratory at LSU Shreveport for a $300,000 grant.
The multidisciplinary initiative at the university is set to begin in the Fall, guided by a new chairman of the Department of Computer Science, new courses, revised offerings and scholarships.
The innovative program promises major gains in computer science, cyber security and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for the region with course offerings reaching audiences from middle school to community members at large.
In continuing with the University and the AEP Foundation’s support of K-12 education, the grant provides scholarships to teachers enrolling in the computer science certification program. With this professional development, combined with the technology of the Cyber Collaboratory space, area teachers will have the knowledge needed to ensure students are being equipped with the essential skills needed to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.
“LSU Shreveport is thankful for the generous support of the AEP Foundation,” said Larry Clark, Chancellor of LSU Shreveport. “This grant will help us continue the dialogue with our region’s workforce and be innovative in cultivating the talent pool needed for jobs in cyber security and computer science.”
In addition to the scholarships, for the next two years, the AEP Foundation grant will also provide funding for the latest cutting-edge equipment required to implement a new space such as the Cyber Collaboratory.
The purpose of the Cyber Collaboratory is to enhance the educational experience and career preparation for students in the region. It will include a Cyber Security Lab, which will bring together expertise in accounting, criminal justice and computer science within a quarantined computer environment for the study of cybercrime. Students also will create virtual- and augmented-reality applications, learn modeling, design and apply simulations, as well as cutting-edge robotics.
The grant is not the first commitment from the AEP Foundation to LSU Shreveport’s STEM initiatives. The Foundation funded the AEP SWEPCO Endowed Chair in LAPREP with a $600,000 gift in 2012. LaPREP, an award-winning summer enrichment program with middle and early high school students, will use the Cyber Collaboratory to expand their proficiency in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.
“SWEPCO is excited to present this grant to LSU Shreveport to support the Cyber Collaboratory on behalf of the AEP Foundation,” said Carey Sullivan, SWEPCO director of Corporate Communications. “This kind of innovative curricula and academic development is vital within our community so that we can train the workforce of tomorrow.”
The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its utility operating units, including Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), which serves approximately 230,000 customers in Louisiana.
The AEP Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Other Foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.
The AEP Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio.