Ignited’s Learning Community: Empowering Teachers, Shaping Futures in Cybersecurity
By: Kathrine Dela
In a world where technology has become deeply woven into the fabric of our daily lives, the importance of cybersecurity education cannot be overstated. Nader Sehatbakhsh, Assistant Professor at UCLA’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recognizes the pivotal role that cybersecurity plays in our ever-evolving digital landscape. He actively engages in Ignited’s Learning Community, driven by a profound belief in the transformative power of education and its potential impact on the future.
“Supporting Ignited’s initiatives aligns with my commitment to fostering cybersecurity awareness and preparing the next generation of professionals. These types of programs can empower students to see themselves in a career in cybersecurity,” said Nader.
The digital age has ushered in a spectrum of career opportunities, some hidden in plain sight. Ignited collaborates with various industry professionals to shed light on these opportunities through their dynamic learning community. They highlight areas where cybersecurity is essential but often overlooked, such as water and power infrastructures, satellites, flight navigation, and even ground transportation, including traffic light control.
This broader perspective is essential for Ignited’s goal: to empower educators and students with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the digital landscape securely and inspire them to explore the diverse and unexpected roles within the cybersecurity field.
Exploring the Ignited Learning Community
As part of Ignited’s mission to facilitate direct engagement between influential industry figures and educators, the Ignited Learning Community introduces teachers to industry-relevant resources and hosts monthly virtual seminars. These sessions offer insights into diverse career fields, such as cybersecurity, semiconductors, water, electric vehicles, and biotechnology. Supported by an ever-expanding network of industry collaborators including the Office of Naval Research, Electrify America, Genentech, and the SEMI Foundation, these sessions offer educators a unique opportunity to explore the intersections between modern careers in cybersecurity and technology and the subjects they teach.
The power of these seminars lies in the direct connections established between educators and industry partners. Educators across the United States, from California to Georgia, have actively participated in Ignited’s Learning Community.
James Stiltner, a High School Biology, Chemistry, and Biotechnology teacher within the learning community, notes, “It was really wonderful to hear from industry professionals about what skills, techniques, procedures, and protocols students need to know to make themselves better candidates for work experiences. It validates what we are doing in our courses and helps us identify areas that we need to include.”
Shaping the Future with Ignited
Meghan Strazicich, Director of Education at Ignited, believes that the learning community is mutually beneficial for teachers and industry professionals, creating a bridge between educators and industry leaders that offers a valuable opportunity for both professions. “Teachers hear about the skills needed for their students to succeed in today’s industry, and industry leaders explore the best practices for translating complex information into engaging activities for students,” said Strazicich.
Ignited’s Learning Community is making a substantial impact on cybersecurity education, shaping the future of this critical field. They provide educators with the tools and knowledge necessary to prepare students for a safer digital future. This collaboration between educators and cybersecurity professionals is not just about educating individuals; it’s about molding the future of cybersecurity.