Education & Innovation Luncheon highlights growing cyber field

Bossier Innovates Foundation awards 10 scholarships to Bossier, Caddo high schoolers

Bossier City — For the third year, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce hosted the Education & Innovation Luncheon. This time, the event focused on “Cultivating Generation Cyber,” and was sponsored by Bossier Parish Community College along with Barksdale Federal Credit Union, Louisiana Tech University and Citizens National Bank.

The event featured Kevin Nolten, member of the Workforce Development, Education and Public Outreach Committee of the Louisiana Cyber Commission and NICERC Director of Academic Outreach, who touted Louisiana’s spot in the cyber landscape.

He says Louisiana is on the map for cultivating talent and helping build a workforce pipeline for cyber. NICERC reaches 2.4 million students across the United States. They work with an education model — focused on cyber, STEM and computer science curricula — that was developed right here in Bossier. Locally, they continue to work with higher ed institutions in addition to Bossier Schools to invest in the talent.

“We have to know the foundations are at that K-12 level,” he said.

The event also featured three college students studying cyber including Kylie Kalinowski. She moved to the area from Michigan because when she was doing online research about where to study cyber, she said Louisiana kept popping up at the top of the list. Now she is a freshman Computer Science major with a concentration in cyber security at Louisiana Tech.

She addressed the high school students at the luncheon during her speech saying, “It’s incredible how you have all of these cyber opportunities in your own backyard.”

Nolten agrees with her. He says that Louisiana has the only state level cyber commission in the country. The state is making waves in the cyber field, and people are starting to notice.

“That’s something to be proud of,” Nolten said.

Nolten also went over what business, industry and government are doing for the community to help ensure that more people are equipped to join the cyber security workforce.

According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, there will be approximately 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by 2021. Nolten says these are mindblowing statistics, but now they are working toward a solution.

At the luncheon, the Bossier Innovates Foundation awarded 10 scholarships to Bossier and Caddo Parish high school students who have expressed an interest in a cyber-related field of study. The scholarships were sponsored by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), Magee Resource Group and Northrop Grumman.

And the recipients of $1,000 scholarships were:
Brandi Butler, Caddo Magnet High School
Ian Duncan, Caddo Magnet High School
Creighton France, Benton High School
Wesley Goins, Captain Shreve High School
Zachary Grames, Airline High School
David Jara, Parkway High School
John Norris, Benton High School
Benjamin Sanguinetti, Benton High School
Ethan Ubeda, Caddo Magnet High School
Logan Wilhite, Airline High School

Additionally, the Bossier Innovates Foundation honored one teacher with the 2018 Excellence in Education & Innovation Award. This year’s recipient was Richard Scott, who serves as an instructional leader at a local department of defense youth program called STARBASE.

The Education and Innovation Luncheon is part of 2018 Innovation North LA. This year’s focus is showcasing all of the great opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in our region.

ABOUT THE BOSSIER INNOVATES FOUNDATION: The Bossier Innovates Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, endeavors to enhance the economic and social opportunities of northwest
Louisiana, as well as the quality of life of its citizens, through educational programs, workforce development, enhancement or expansion of existing facilities and programs, and collaborations with community partners.

18-ED and INN luncheon release