Augusta University
Joanne Sexton and Brooks Keel at the Cyber Institute
Joanne Sexton and Brooks Keel at the Cyber Institute. Photo by Phil Jones

More Qs with Joanne Sexton

What is the difference between the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences and the Cyber Institute?

The School of Computer and Cyber Sciences was created to bring Augusta University’s computer science, information technology and cybersecurity programs under one school. Cybersecurity is part computer science, part information technology and a whole host of other interdisciplinary aspects like law, business, human behavior, ethics, governance, strategy and policy. The development of our new school, that will eventually become a college, leverages our existing programs to develop an expanded curriculum in support of the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center.

As part of this re-organization, the Cyber Institute will now be housed within the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. The Cyber Institute will retain its cyber education, research and outreach mission across the university. A new role of the Cyber Institute is to develop, run, and enhance the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center Cyber Range, a new critical mission we are very excited about. And as in the past, the Cyber Institute will continue its extensive outreach mission to develop the K-12 cyber workforce pipeline in our region.

 

Why is outreach so important?

When I go to career fairs or the various activities where we talk to our potential students about what’s here, young people don’t realize that cyber is a career. So part of our outreach effort is getting the word out to young people that this is an outstanding opportunity. Things like the GenCyber Camp and Girls Who Code give young people a chance to try out hands-on cyber activities to see if they’re interested in the field.

 

How will the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center impact educational opportunities?

We certainly have an articulation agreement with Augusta Tech, for example, but the fact that we’re going to be in the same building will help make that seamless.

Students may start one place, go to industry and then come back. I really see them coming back and forth, because the governor’s vision is seamless cybersecurity education, and that’s what we’re after.

When you’re in this field, you’re continuously learning, and we want to support that. That’s what the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center building is all about — creating the environment to educate and train the cyber workforce throughout their professional lifetime.

 

What is the value of the internship opportunities?

I recommend every student take advantage of internship opportunities. Internships are the capstone opportunity of a college education. Our internship opportunities help student recruitment, but they also help with recruiting corporations who are interested in joining us in the building. Companies want to recruit new, highly skilled talent. It hasn’t been a hard sell to lease space in the new building. Companies are extremely eager to leverage the students that we have.

 

Does our relationship with Fort Gordon extend beyond cyber security?

We’re certainly interested in anyone who seeks cyber security as their career field, but we’re a university and we offer a lot of degrees and we have a lot of opportunities. Our Fort Gordon office is all about the university as a whole — let’s open up the world to these military students and see what they’re interested in doing, because we’re certainly interested in helping them finish their college degree.

 

Read more about Joanne Sexton as we ask her 3Qs.

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