KU teams with community colleges to host boot camp in Dodge City to showcase career opportunities in STEM fields, intelligence community

OVERLAND PARK — The University of Kansas, in partnership with the Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence (IC CAE), is hosting a daylong boot camp June 20 at Dodge City Community College (DCCC). Registered attendees include students from Seward County Community College, Garden City Community College and DCCC as well as high school students from the surrounding areas.

Faculty and staff from the community colleges worked with KU faculty to create an engaging and interactive day for the participants.

“The goal of the boot camp is to allow students to explore career opportunities in the STEM fields while also exposing them to opportunities within the 18 agencies that make up the intelligence community, like the FBI, NSA, military intelligence, CIA, among others,” said Randy Logan, director of the biotechnology program at KU’s Edwards Campus in Overland Park. “The boot camp will focus on biotechnology, cybersecurity/information technology and health sciences, which are all degrees we offer at KU.”

“We are thrilled to host this boot camp on our campus and make it available to our students and neighboring community colleges and high schools,” said Sherry Curtis Rogers, DCCC professor of physical science. “For those interested in a career in the STEM field, this is a unique demonstration of the breadth of options open to people with these degrees.”

Students will encounter and react to a simulated national security crisis, “Epidemic at the Central County Water Park.” In this simulation, local hospitals are overrun with patients experiencing sudden symptoms of an unknown infectious disease. Students are challenged to uncover what is making people sick. Where were they infected? Is this the result of a nefarious act?

Students will be divided into teams that will focus on three career sectors: biotechnology, cybersecurity and IT, and health sciences. Within these teams, students will analyze data and utilize specialized scientific tools to investigate the source of the epidemic.

The biotechnology team will review data collected from the reported cases and water park sites, analyze information, evaluate molecular evidence, and identify potential pathogens and suspected sources using bioinformatic tools. The health science team will build an epidemiological case definition by looking at the medical evidence and locations of the outbreak, as well as prepare communications to keep the public updated. The cybersecurity and IT team will reconcile epidemiology data with laboratory and environmental findings and track movements of patients and suspects using recorded GPS tracking data.

After the breakout sessions, the teams will give testimony and answer questions at a mock congressional hearing.

In addition to developing new scientific skills, students will learn more about how the IC CAE program can enhance their professional development and launch their career within the U.S. intelligence community.

Through a multiyear government grant from IC CAE, KU can offer up to $10,000 in scholarships and professional development opportunities to eligible students pursuing one of five STEM degrees: biotech, IT, cybersecurity, health sciences and criminal justice.

“This partnership between KU, Dodge City, Garden City and Seward County community colleges allows us to foster in-state talent and deliver exclusive opportunities for Kansas students. With the exception of the biotechnology program, all STEM degrees showcased in this boot camp are fully online programs, making them highly accessible for western Kansas students,” Logan said. “This is a great benefit for students who have completed their associate degrees locally and are interested in one of these bachelor’s degrees but would prefer not to leave their hometown. It also provides a more cost-effective pathway to complete their degree.”

Fri, 06/14/2024


Susan Motley

Media Contacts

Susan Motley

KU Edwards