Marquette University’s Educational Opportunity Program has received $799,500 in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to pilot the Seizing Opportunities Academic Readiness (SOAR) Cyber Explorers Pilot Program, which provides teaching and learning activities to precollege students to encourage interest in STEM careers, support college readiness and begin developing skills for careers in technology, particularly cybersecurity.

The SOAR pilot will provide over 100 hours of programming for 50 Cyber Explorers comprising low-income and first-generation students and other middle and high school students in the Milwaukee area. Cyber Explorers will participate summer camps, coursework, internships and mentoring which will develop students’ knowledge and skills across four areas: computer basics, coding, operating systems and networks.

“On behalf of EOP, I want to thank Rep. Gwen Moore and Sen. Tammy Baldwin for championing this project,” said Laiya Thomas, executive director of EOP. “SOAR builds upon the longstanding success of Marquette’s EOP in providing college readiness and STEM pipeline services. The program will also benefit from the expertise of our nationally recognized Cyber Security and Cyber Defense Center, K-12 computer science education grantees from our Department of Computer Science and two EOP alumni who are computer science instructors.”

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