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Meet Stephen Ross


From an early age, Stephen Ross had a passion for technology and grew up dreaming about building robots, writing code, and hacking into computers.

In elementary school, he was on the Lego Robotics Team, which solidified his interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field. While in middle school, he started studying how computers work to build his own computer. As he entered high school at the Columbus Signature Academy, Ross enrolled in information technology courses and found his way to Ivy Tech Community College.

“One of the professors of the Cyber Academy taught in my high school for one semester and started telling me about all the super cool things going on in the academy,” explained Ross. “I thought how can I not go to this academy?”


Ross quickly enrolled in Ivy Tech’s Cyber Academy and recently graduated. Even before graduation, he had been offered a job as an IT security analyst with CNO Financial.

“One of the biggest selling points to me is that it’s only one year and it’s fast paced, which is how my brain works,” said Ross.

Another selling point for Ross was that he graduated with three national security certifications, which jumpstarted his career.

“We gallop. We don’t trot. You come in day one and 11 months later you leave with an associatedegree and three industry certifications,” shared Joseph Bodden, Assistant Professor of Cyber Security-Info Assurance. “Employers love the program, and they can offer a Type A salary for the skills graduates have at their level.”

Nationally Recognized

Cybersecurity is one of the hottest sectors, with new threats and attacks emerging daily.

Ross and his fellow classmates had the opportunity to test their skills and compete in the latest National Cyber League Competition that included 10,000 students from over 500 institutions. They earned 7th place, beating West Point at #11 and Purdue at #39.

“People view cybersecurity as a single person sport, but it’s not,” explained Ross. “You’re going to have to work and collaborate with other people, and the academy teaches you how to communicate with other people – a massive skill you will learn there.”


Ross highly recommends the program to anyone.

“If you have no technology knowledge, that’s okay,” shared Ross. “That’s why you go there. The professors are so understanding, and they work with you.”

Bodden reinforced the cohort model used in the program supports higher graduation rates.

“With the cohort model, everyone is working toward the same goal,” explained Bodden. “They stick together and help each other in the learning. As a result, the success rate is very high.”

Ross also chose to live onsite at the Indiana National Guard’s Muscatatuck Urban Training Center (MUTC), which is an option for Cyber Academy students and about 50% of a cohort takes advantage of this benefit. While at the training center, additional support includes meal plans, fun activities, and alumni networking events.

“My role is to give students everything they need to be successful,” shared Kristina Samples, Ph.D., Cyber Academy Director, who supports enrollment, advising, and is available onsiteduring the week at MUTC.


Visit Campus on Any Tuesday

Each Tuesday, our campuses hold an enrollment event designed for you to explore programs, get help applying and preparing for Ivy Tech classes, connect with career coaches, and more. Our team will work with you personally to answer any questions and help you determine the right next step.