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UCM Student Spotlight: Jacob Danley Earns Cybersecurity Degree and Begins New Job Just Two Years After High School Graduation

By Janice Phelan, June 15, 2021

UCM Student Jacob Danley

Within the space of a few weeks, Jacob Danley earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity from UCM and started a full-time job at Burns & McDonnell, both at age 20. Jacob is among students participating in the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program, a progressive partnership that includes the University of Central Missouri, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and more than 50 industry-leading businesses.


All MIC program students participate in three-year, paid internships with Jacob interning at Burns & McDonnell and AWNIX, both MIC program business partners.


A 2019 graduate of Lee’s Summit West High School, Jacob said he was pleased with his selection of the MIC program and UCM. “The MIC program from my local school district is partnered with UCM to fulfill the junior/senior level college classes so the choice was somewhat made for me, but I was very happy at UCM.”


A favorite part of the program for Jacob is its location at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit. Missouri Innovation Campus is the name of both the accelerated degree program as well as UCM’s Lee’s Summit campus.


“It allowed me to stay home but attend in-person classes without having to drive for an hour to the UCM campus,” he added. 


After completing the MIC program, Jacob said he would recommend UCM to others, especially those with access to the MIC program or Missouri Innovation Campus facility in Lee’s Summit. 


“It allows much more flexibility in college which was necessary since I was working internships during most days, so my classes were at night,” he said. “I’m really happy that I made the decision to start in the MIC program and get my degree through UCM because the teachers are really great and the financial support UCM provides its students is amazing.”


Through the nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus program, students take college-ready classes from UCM and MCC along with their high-school classes beginning with their junior year of high school. Students have the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree just two years after high-school graduation. In addition, they graduate with little to no student debt, participating in three-year, year-round, paid internships with the first two years of college tuition paid. MIC degree programs are in high-wage, in-demand areas such as engineering, big data/business analytics and information technology. More than 90 percent of MIC graduates are also hired by the industry-leading businesses where they intern.


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