The College of Business Administration’s cybersecurity program will expand and enhance its high school outreach efforts thanks to a $100,000 pledge from alumnus N. Price Paschall.
The gift will enable the college to purchase state-of-the-art computer equipment and software to offer training workshops and competitions for high school students. Computer information systems Professor Dan Manson oversees the college’s cybersecurity program and will use additional funds to support Cal Poly Pomona student mentors who will advise, engage and inspire high school students throughout the process. Scholarships also will be awarded to high-achieving high school seniors who plan to study cybersecurity at Cal Poly Pomona.
“There is a massive need for these young people to learn cybersecurity, but they’re not going to wander into school studying this unless people reach out and tell them what a wonderful career opportunity this is,” says Paschall, who graduated in 1972 with a business degree and now lives in Greenwich, Conn. “Once you increase the awareness of cybersecurity, you generate better and more interested students. That is good for Cal Poly Pomona and good for the country.”
Over the summer, Manson will identify 10 high schools in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties with which to form partnerships.
“We have shown ourselves to be a model of how universities can effectively partner with high schools,” Manson says. “I’m grateful for Price’s trust in our ability to make a difference.”
With additional funding the college can greatly impact students of all backgrounds, says Richard Lapidus, dean of the College of Business Administration.
“We have successfully created a pipeline of talent that employers need,” Lapidus says. “Our goal is not only to train cybersecurity students but to open the door of opportunity for groups that are historically underrepresented in technology fields.”
The donation builds on a two-year relationship the college has forged with Los Angeles Unified School District. The college provides resources and computer labs to help students prepare for CyberPatriot, a national cybersecurity competition for high school students. The teens learn how to secure operating systems and workstations, as well as learn basics in networking and computer forensics. Unless they are self-taught, technology-focused students would not typically be introduced to these topics until their first year in college.
Paschall may not work in the technical field, but he is intimately familiar with challenges and threats of securing digital information. As a financial advisor and managing director of The Context Capital Group, Paschall manages mergers and acquisitions and has clients in the defense and electronics industries.
“In the coming decade, developing well-trained cybersecurity professionals is at the intersection of American security/safety and economic competitiveness,” he says.
(Photo: N. Price Paschall)