By Janice Phelan, November 23, 2021
Thanks to a groundbreaking program from the University of Central Missouri, Madison Canton is poised to earn her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in May 2022, just two years after her graduation from Blue Springs High School, while also working toward a spring 2023 master’s degree graduation.
Madison is participating in the Missouri Innovation Campus program, which has received national recognition for redefining higher education, reducing student debt and accelerating the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. Through partnerships with leading Kansas City metropolitan area businesses, the program helps businesses grow talent and retain employees in high-demand areas.
Another unique aspect of the MIC program is its paid internships that begin during high school. Madison has interned at Fishtech, a leading current-generation security-as-a-service solutions provider, for two and a half years, currently serving as cyber threat analyst.
“Through the MIC program and my internship, I’ve had hands-on practical experiences that cannot easily be simulated in a classroom,” Madison said. “The classes I have taken through UCM have better prepared me for my MIC internship, and what I have learned from my MIC internship helps me have a more in-depth understanding of concepts I learn in my UCM classes. Having the opportunity to not only get a jump start on my college education, but also my career is almost unprecedented. It is all possible because of UCM and the MIC program.”
Madison said she chose the UCM program based on its high-caliber educational opportunities as well as the fact that the cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program is accredited by the ABET (Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology).
“I have a great appreciation for the professors at UCM,” she added. “They have an in-depth knowledge of the topics and subjects they teach and are passionate about ensuring the students are prepared for their careers. On the UCM front, I’ve learned all about the theoretical aspects of cybersecurity and built a solid foundation of knowledge.”
Through the Missouri Innovation Campus program, high-school juniors and seniors attend classes at Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy and at Metropolitan Community College as well as online. Both LSR7 and UCM share space at the state-of-the-art Missouri Innovation Campus facility, located in Lee’s Summit. After graduating from high school, the MIC students have also earned enough college credits to be classified as UCM juniors, completing their coursework at the university’s Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg campuses and via online classes.
Madison is taking an additional step to ensure a bright future by working toward her master’s degree. “I am also continuing my education through UCM by participating in the Accelerated BS/MS program,” she said. “I am taking classes that overlap and count towards both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I anticipate graduating with my master’s degree in cybersecurity and information assurance in May 2023.”
About the Missouri Innovation Campus program
Through the nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus program, UCM partners with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and leading area business partners. 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.