LeMoyne-Owen College encourages cybersecurity training through partnership with Apple and TSU

LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis’ only historically black institution of higher learning, seeks to enhance the digital literacy of its students and the Memphis community through a partnership with Apple and Tennessee State University.

In August, LOC became a community center for coding and creativity as part of Tennessee State University’s HBCU C2 program. It’s a national initiative that removes barriers and creates a more diverse pipeline of talent for the tech sector. Apple is supporting the effort through its Community Education Initiative by providing mobile iPad and Mac labs, curriculum support, and job opportunities.

“Apple will be donating close to $90,000 worth of equipment,” said LeMoyne-Owen’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Lisa Lang. “Not just for our students. We want to incorporate staff, faculty, administrators.”

While the program is still getting started, it will impact the entire campus.

“We are looking at hosting some campus-wide programming,” said Dr. Denise Ferebee, director of the Center for Cybersecurity at LOC. “This will not only reach [computer science] students, but it will also help us collaborate with other areas such as graphic design, criminal justice, education, even business, so that more students can get the same experiences our tech students do.”

LeMoyne Owen’s Center for Cybersecurity was designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency in 2019. It’s one of about 300 centers like it across the nation, and one of few at historically black institutions.

“We're looking for community engagement. To work with our community partners to help provide K-12 students with experience in programming and help to get them excited, so that eventually they'll decide to come to our institution,” said Dr. Ferebee.

The college isn’t just thinking about how this program can benefit the current LOC family and the next generation of students. They also plan to provide learning opportunities for the greater Memphis community.

“We want to increase the skills of not just our students, but the community as a whole, which we care about," she said. "That is our hope.”
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Chris Jones is an attorney, community and non-profit strategist, and freelance writer.  Originally from Starkville, Mississippi, Chris has lived in Memphis for over 25 years.  In his spare time, he loves traveling, learning about history and society, and playing the guitar.