Thanks to Sara Akers (Instructor) and Haley Crabtree (Assistant Professor), students who graduate from Terra State Community College’s Computer Information Systems and Systems and Networking Support degree programs will also receive a special cybersecurity designation with their diploma. Akers, who teaches systems and networking support classes, and Crabtree, who teaches computer information system classes, teamed up to apply for the designation. Their hard work paid off with Terra State becoming only the third community college in Ohio to receive the designation.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security now recognizes Terra State as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education. The purpose behind the recognition is to increase understanding of robust cyber defense (CD) technology, policy and practices that will enable the United States to effectively prevent and respond to a catastrophic cyber event. The designation is through the 2022 academic year.

“Both federal agencies looked at how cybersecurity is being taught in Terra State classes and promoted on the campus and in the community,” Akers said. Terra State students held a public seminar this past fall and talked to area residents about the importance of securing their computer networks and mobile devices in their homes.

Students who complete Terra State’s programs will receive a certificate with NSA and Department of Homeland Security stamps stating they went through a certified cyber defense program. Akers says there are, on average, “10 to 12 students in her systems and networking support classes per semester.”

Akers also mentions, “A lot of schools are on the bandwagon to get this one.” Clark State Community College in Springfield and Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB are the only two other community colleges in Ohio to have this designation.