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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


New Scholarship Offers Incentive to Learn About Military Opportunities, Pursue Cybersecurity Careers

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 26, 2015) – Students who may be pondering their career and college choices now have a financial incentive to learn more about the military as a possible option, if they choose to study at the University of Central Missouri. The financial incentive, which is available to a limited number of students, is even greater if they make cybersecurity – a growing field in the military – their academic pursuit.

Such opportunities are made possible through the new Fighting Mules Scholarship. This initiative was established by UCM President Charles Ambrose in cooperation with the Department of Military Science and Leadership in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, with funding from the UCM Foundation. Offered for the first time in fall 2015, this scholarship provides five $1,000 financial awards annually to freshman students who meet criteria that include: enrollment at UCM, a minimum ACT score of 23, and a commitment to take the freshman Military Science course. If students choose to pursue the university’s new Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program, they also can expand the scholarship by an extra $500. The only other requirement to be eligible for the Fighting Mules Scholarship is that students must graduate from college prior to their 30th birthday.

“We see this as a good way for students who may not have considered a career in the military to get their feet in the door, and learn more about it,” said Major J.C. Christenson, a U.S. Army veteran who chairs the Department of Military Science and Leadership.

He pointed out that the new scholarship represents a shared vision between the university’s administration and the Department of Military Science and Leadership that “will greatly enhance our ability, to recruit, retain and develop future Army leaders” at UCM.

John Wolfmeyer, recruiting operations officer for the department, said that although the Fighting Mules Scholarship was initially designed to attract students to UCM who may be undecided on a college or major, incoming freshman already enrolled at UCM also are encouraged to apply.

No commitment is required of students, other than taking the basic Military Science course. Wolfmeyer believes, however, that many students who learn about Army Reserve Officers Training (ROTC), the exciting national competitive activities for ROTC cadets, and get to know department faculty, may want to expand their educational path into military science. In some cases, this could lead to more extensive educational benefits.

“If they decide this is what they want, there’s a chance, providing they meet all criteria and regulations, we could offer them a scholarship that would pay their tuition for their remaining time at UCM,” Wolfmeyer said.

In fact, if a student applies for and is awarded the ROTC Scholarship, it will pay all tuition for the remainder of their stay in school from when the scholarship begins, up to four semesters of room and board in campus housing, a monthly living allowance, and a book allowance. This would be on top of any other university scholarships they may receive. The Fighting Mules Scholarship, which is non-renewable, could potentially lead to opportunities for students who may have applied for the ROTC National Scholarship as seniors in high school, but were turned down for this highly competitive financial award.

While at UCM, students who receive the Fighting Mules Scholarship can choose a variety of different academic career paths, but choosing the new Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree not only gives them an extra financial boost, but will prepare them for a growing field in the military, if they choose a service career. The degree is being offered for the first time this fall, and is housed in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science within the College of Health, Science and Technology.  It is part of the university’s efforts to prepare Missouri’s 21st Century technical workforce in a STEM field of national interest. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security/Cyber Security Analyst is the second fastest growing occupation in the nation with a projected growth rate of 37 percent over the next decade.

Individuals who continue with the ROTC program have the opportunity to become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army with the rank of second lieutenant, upon their graduation. They have career options that include active duty service in the Army, or service in the Army National Guard or Reserve.

To learn more about the Fighting Mules Scholarship and how to apply, contact Wolfmeyer at 660-543-4863. For more information about ROTC at UCM, contact Wolfmeyer or Christenson at 660-543-4867.