Cyber security expertise now available to small businesses in Reno (sponsored)

Sierra Cybersecurity Logo

Sierra Cybersecurity LogoSponsored: 40 percent of cyber attacks are against small businesses and 60 percent of small business close within 6 months of an attack; cyber security can help

SUBMITTED NEWS — Cybercrime is on the rise and small to medium-sized businesses that are less likely to have appropriate cyber security defenses in place have become the new favorite target of cybercriminals.

“It’s a very disturbing trend,” Robert Markin of Sierra Cybersecurity said. “As large corporations devote considerable resources to cybersecurity, criminals are simply targeting smaller businesses which don’t have those same resources available to them.”

Thirty-one percent of attacks are against businesses with less than 250 employees, according to a recent report by information security company Symantec, a 300 percent increase from 2011. Alarmingly, cybercriminals are targeting small businesses for their customer data, intellectual property and bank account information.

Many security vulnerabilities require a specialist to be on-site to mitigate, a service that has previously been unavailable locally. To fill that void, a number of local professionals with years of experience protecting wired/wireless networks and establishing safe operation procedures have formed Sierra  Cybersecurity.

“Sierra Cybersecurity is unique in this region because we offer personalized, on-site services geared towards small and medium-sized business,” Markin said. Sierra Cybersecurity’s range of services include vulnerability analysis, data storage security, website penetration testing, system audits and assessment, security strategies, policy development and staff training.

For more information on cyber threats to local business and how Sierra Cybersecurity can help, please contact Robert Markin by calling 775-342-8760, emailing robert@sierracybersecurity.com or going to www.sierracybersecurity.com.

University students send Nevada Education Protection Pledge to state-office seekers

The concept of the Nevada Education Protection Pledge came to Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) Director of Legislative Affairs, Casey Stiteler last year when the Nevada System of Higher Education was facing large budget cut-backs. Modeled after the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Stiteler took on the challenge of initiating an education pledge to begin the conversation regarding the future of higher education in Nevada.

“The main goal of the pledge is to initiate a direct dialogue between students and legislators,” Stiteler said. “It’s important for the students of the state of Nevada to know that their lawmakers are listening and it’s just as important that lawmakers in the state of Nevada know that students will not stand idly by as decisions about the future of our state are being made.”

The newly formed ASUN Department of Legislative Affairs has reached out to other colleges and universities within the Nevada System of Higher Education to form a union between institutions that are all fighting for their education in Nevada.

“The pledges were sent out today,” Stiteler said. This should provide ample time for candidates to read the pledge, look into the issues surrounding higher education, sign and return the pledge well before voting commences.”

The pledge is currently being supported by the Graduate Student Association at the University of Nevada, Reno, undergraduate student government at the University of Nevada, Western Nevada College, Great Basin College, College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

For more information, go to www.fightfornevada.com or contact Stiteler at directorlegaffairs@asun.unr.edu or Whitney Lee at publicrelations@asun.unr.edu.

Graduation time: Hold the celebration

High drop-out rate plagues Nevada’s education system

by Patrick R. Gibbons – Nevada Policy Research Institute

High school graduation is a time when families celebrate students’ achievement. Not only does a high school diploma imply an ability to start and complete a lengthy project. It also signals to the adult world and the marketplace that you have at least some ability to learn and be productive.

For this reason, high school graduates earn, on average, at least 38 percent more money per week than do high school dropouts — and, with even more education, income rises substantially. High school graduates also live healthier, longer lives on average, and are less likely to go to jail or live in poverty.

Unfortunately, graduation time in Nevada is not as cheerful as it should be. Sobering data from the National Center for Education Statistics puts the “Average Freshman Graduation Rate” in Nevada at 51.3 percent for the 2007-08 school year — worst in the nation and 23.6 points lower than the national average.

Read more…

Books in the home as important as parents’ education level in determining level of education children will attain

Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study lead by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

Being a sociologist, Evans was particularly interested to find that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home. She has been looking for ways to help Nevada’s rural communities, in terms of economic development and education.

“What kinds of investments should we be making to help these kids get ahead?” she asked. “The results of this study indicate that getting some books into their homes is an inexpensive way that we can help these children succeed.”

Evans said, “Even a little bit goes a long way,” in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.

“You get a lot of ‘bang for your book’,” she said. “It’s quite a good return-on-investment in a time of scarce resources.”

In some countries, such as China, having 500 or more books in the home propels children 6.6 years further in their education. In the United States, the effect is less, 2.4 years, than the 3.2-year average advantage experienced across all 27 countries in the study. But, Evans points out that 2.4 years is still a significant advantage in terms of educational attainment.

For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Americans who have some college or an associate’s degree, but not a bachelor’s degree, earn an average of $7,213 more annually than those with just a high school education. Those who attain a bachelor’s degree earn $21,185 more each year, on average, than those with just high school diplomas.

The study by Evans and her colleagues at Nevada, UCLA and Australian National University is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on what influences the level of education a child will attain.

The researchers were struck by the strong effect having books in the home had on children’s educational attainment even above and beyond such factors as education level of the parents, the country’s GDP, the father’s occupation or the political system of the country.

Having books in the home is twice as important as the father’s education level, and more important than whether a child was reared in China or the United States. Surprisingly, the difference in educational attainment for children born in the United States and children born in China was just 2 years, less than two-thirds the effect that having 500 or more books in the home had on children (3.2 years).

The study, “Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations,” was published in the journal, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility (online at www.sciencedirect.com).

Graph: Books and Success in School

Our next discovery… a new Nevada

By Dan Klaich, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor

Now nine months into my service as chancellor, I have frequently been asked if I am enjoying my job. I have answered honestly that in the current circumstances there is not a lot of joy in the Nevada System of Higher Education. We are currently implementing budget reductions mandated by the Special Session which will require programs and jobs to be eliminated System-wide. For those of us who have spent the better part of our adult lives building this System, taking it apart piece by piece is quite simply heartbreaking. While we have talked about budget cuts for more than two years, and have already implemented previous cuts, we are now moving from large numbers and percentages to people’s lives and students’ futures. Jobs will be lost and quality programs will be eliminated. Doors to opportunity will be slammed shut in the faces of many Nevadans.

Notwithstanding the dire nature of the task at hand, we were reminded this past week of just why education is so important and why the fight we are engaged in to save it is critical to the future of our state and our nation.

This week, in both northern and southern Nevada, the 23rd DRI Nevada Medal was awarded to a distinguished international scientist. This award symbolizes everything that is critical about higher education to our state. The presentation itself brought together every part of our state, from the governor and our legislators, to business leaders, teachers and students. All came together to celebrate science, which as we all know is essential to our nation’s future and, indeed, our national security. And what science we saw!

Dr. Robert Ballard dazzled us all. Internationally acclaimed for his exploration of the ocean floor, or, as he describes it, “inner space,” Ballard is probably most recognized for his discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic. During his remarks, he described discoveries on the ocean floor that could explain the origins of life and he did so by not only connecting to a lay audience, but more importantly, emphasizing the necessity of relaying these messages to our school children — our next generation of scientists. Having reached the pinnacle of his profession, Ballard has never forgotten the childhood wonder of science and the unknown that inspired him to pursue a lifetime of discovery. Indeed, he has formed foundations and led efforts to ensure that science, and the latest technology highway upon which it rides, comes to every child in our public schools.

This youthful 67-year old gave us all a lesson in lifelong learning. When asked what his most important discovery was, Ballard quickly responded, “My next one.”

He ended his lecture with a brief explanation on how a new undersea technology, which he first conceived of almost 20 years ago, would be launched in less than two weeks. The technology, which combines surface vessels, tethered robotics, satellites and the Internet, can beam a discovery on the ocean floor to any computer screen in the world. More important to Ballard, was the fact that the information can be beamed to and controlled by students in schools throughout our country.

The last image he showed us from his lecture slides was one I challenge you to imagine. It was that of a young girl, probably 11 or 12, backlit so that you could only see her face. Her head was tilted slightly upward, mouth slightly open, and her eyes were wide with a look of wonder, as something marvelous was seen and comprehended for the first time.

This is the look that each of us must see every day and keep before us during these hard times. It is the reason we get up every morning. It is the reason we fight for education, our students, our teachers, our faculty and our institutions.

It is the look of the future.

It is the new Nevada which we must discover and which together we will build.

Sincerely,

Dan Klaich
Chancellor
Nevada System of Higher Education

Free resume workshop at South Valleys Library

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

Are you looking for a job? Don’t miss the special Résumé Workshop at South Valleys Library. Résumé expert Barbara Safani will teach you how to create a powerful, effective résumé that gets attention – and interviews.

WHAT:           Résumé  Workshop

WHEN:           Wednesday, April 14, 1-2 p.m.

WHERE:  South Valleys Library, 15650A Wedge Parkway, 851-5190

WHO:            Barbara Safani, résumé expert, author and owner of Career Solvers.

At this free webinar, you will find out how to make your résumé shine. You will learn to:

    • Write a powerful profile and skills summary that shows how valuable your experience is to hiring managers.
    • Transform a list of job tasks into powerful success stories.
    • Leverage education and internships to prove you have “the right stuff” to do the job.
    • Use résumé design templates to help you stand out from the crowd.

The presentation will cover resume writing for the following audiences:

    • People making a career transition
    • Stay-at-home parents who are re-entering the workforce
    • College students who are job searching
    • People looking for work in skilled trades and services.

This workshop is hosted by Tutor.com. For more information, please call 327-8364.

Rory Reid statement on Gibbons’ higher education proposals

Rory Reid

SUBMITTED RELEASE

LAS VEGAS–Rory Reid, the Democratic candidate for governor, offered the following statement after Gov. Jim Gibbons’ press conference at the College of Southern Nevada this morning:

“The governor today endorsed measures that the higher education community has sought for years,” Reid said. “Unfortunately, during the more than three years the governor has been in office, he has done nothing except harm our higher education system through a series of drastic cuts and poor decisions. As governor, I will bring a consistent voice in favor of education to Carson City. Our colleges and universities will be integral to the kind of economic growth and job creation we need to ensure a prosperous long-term future for Nevada.”

Rory Reid is the only candidate for governor to propose a plan that offers solutions for today and a vision for Nevada’s future success. Reid’s vision includes plans for the future of our state’s economy, workforce, education system, energy production and business development.

Copies of the 30-page document–“The Virtual Crossroads: Rory Reid’s Vision for the Future of Nevada”–are available at RoryReid.com.

Building a new Nevada – dreams achieved

By Chancellor Dan Klaich
Nevada System of Higher Education

Over the last several days, I have been sending daily e-mails to our subscribers sharing the stories of our students and what education means to their lives.

During that time, we also re-launched a Web site dedicated to enhancing Nevada’s education system (K-12 and higher ed) and we’ve asked people to share their stories so we, in turn, could share them with you.

Below is a story from a CSN graduate and NSC faculty member who wants to make Nevada a better place to call home.

Susan Growe, College of Southern Nevada graduate:

In 1999, I graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an associate degree in nursing. I stayed in the state of Nevada and worked for one year at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.  While I realized I was not meant to be a pediatric nurse, I was fortunate enough to float to the pediatric oncology unit and I fell in love with oncology. It was great – the patients were not your typical sick patients. The families were so warm hearted and cared about their children, as well as the staff that cared for their child.

I decided to take a position at an outpatient oncology clinic and loved oncology even more.  When I first started, I volunteered to teach the new patients about their disease and their treatments so it would help build my skills in oncology.  At this time, I decided I would like to go into management so I went back to school and received my Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN). I did get promoted to supervisor and was a working supervisor.  I gained experience working with nurses in the hospital regarding my patients’ care and follow up for the physicians.  I found that many nurses were very rude on the phone or in person with me and it made me nervous that these rude nurses might be caring for my wonderful patients who did not deserve to be treated in this manner.  To compensate, I worked even harder for the patients when they got discharged from the hospital and followed up with them when they were home so that they knew we cared about them and their family.

I got the opportunity to become nurse manager for this clinic and decided that I would go back to school and get my Masters of Science in Nursing.  I was lucky enough that at the University of Phoenix, they have a MSN/Education program so I could learn about the education part as well.  At the time, I thought this would help guide me in teaching patients about their disease process and did not realize it was about school education until I was too far into the program.  While it was a mistake at the time, it turned out to be a blessing. During my leadership role as nurse manager, I had the opportunity to hire new nurses.  I was amazed at the applications that I received from nurses who did not have any qualifications to become an oncology nurse.  Some had never worked in the oncology units; others did not even know how to start an IV, which is a basic nursing skill. So, because of the nurses I had encountered that were either rude or lacked skills, I decided I would like the opportunity to educate nursing students while emphasizing caring about patients.

I looked at the universities and colleges in Nevada, as well as out of state. I chose to work for Nevada State College because the NSC School of Nursing’s philosophy is caring, which matches my own philosophy of nursing.  This is who I am and who I want nurses to be when they graduate.  I was fortunate to be hired by the Dean of Nursing at that time and learned as much as I could to help each student succeed in the program.  NSC is a great school where we are creating excellent, professional, and CARING nurses to serve the citizens of Nevada.  We cannot afford to cut from education.  It will hurt our college and our state by not creating new nurses, as well as other employees from our other outstanding degree programs, who would stay and work in Nevada.  If we cut our education, we will be cutting our students who will leave our state to attend school and may never return. This would be bad for our economy. We want to keep our students here in Nevada.

Tourism scholarship available to high school seniors in Nevada, application deadline March 8

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

CARSON CITY, Nev. —  Cowboy Country, the tourism organization that promotes northeastern Nevada, is seeking high school seniors in Nevada who plan to pursue a degree in a tourism-related field to apply for a $1,000 scholarship. The deadline to apply is March 8.

The June Stannard Memorial Scholarship was established in 2008 at the Nevada Commission on Tourism’s (NCOT) Rural Roundup conference. June Stannard was operations manager for the Winnemucca Convention Center and a longtime supporter of tourism in Nevada.

“June epitomized the enthusiasm and zeal for tourism that is so essential in our rural areas,” Larry Friedman, NCOT’s deputy director of sales and industry partners, said. “Much of the tourism promotion in rural Nevada is held together by volunteers who love their hometowns and want to share it with the world. This scholarship is proudly awarded in her honor.”

Cowboy Country is one of Nevada’s six “territories” that work under the umbrella of NCOT to promote tourism to their areas. Cowboy Country comprises the communities along the Interstate 80 corridor from Lovelock to West Wendover and north to Jarbidge and Jackpot. It celebrates the western heritage of Nevada, from cowboys and ranchers to railroad workers and Basque sheepherders.

The June Stannard Rural Tourism Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a Nevada high school senior who is pursuing higher education in hospitality, travel or tourism. The recipient will be announced at the 20th Annual Rural Roundup, in Winnemucca March 24-26. The deadline for the scholarship application is March 8. For details on how to apply, contact Sheree Tibbals at 775-623-2220 or fairgrounds@wmca.net.

Rural Roundup is the only conference designed especially for the tourism industry of rural Nevada. For information on the conference, visit www.ruralroundup.com.

Building a new Nevada – destroying dreams, deferring futures Part VI

By Chancellor Dan Klaich
Nevada System of Higher Education

I have spent a lot of time lately discussing the budget.  My comments have tended to talk about millions of dollars coming out of campus funds and large percentage reductions to budgets or formulas.  What that discussion has not conveyed is the personal damage these cuts are doing to the young men and women of our state.

Higher education changes lives, one student at a time, and it is our goal to build a better Nevada and a better future for all of us.  In this report and in reports to come, I would like to stop talking for a moment about numbers and percentages and remind you of the wonderful students in this System and share some of their personal stories.

James Brose, Truckee Meadows Community College student:

I am a TMCC student in a degree transfer program, with plans to transfer to UNR to complete a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. My instructors here have been great and I have learned a lot from them. I appreciate the opportunity to take classes at TMCC and would highly recommend this experience to anyone. My wife is proud of my achievements, as am I, and will be even more proud of me when I finish my degree.

As a transfer student, any changes in the budget of either school will affect me, and changes to higher education as a whole will hit me twice.  Like many students, I feel the struggle of trying to get the classes I need to carry a full academic load and still get the classes that will count toward my degree program. If TMCC and UNR are forced to make cuts, I fear that the classes I need will not be available for me to graduate on time or to take a full load each semester.

As it stands, my veteran’s benefits enable me to afford school, however, if I am only going to school part-time then my benefits would get cut and I would not be able to afford to go to school any more. I also fear that my degree program may be sacrificed to keep the institution open. If my degree program gets cut, it will feel like this state has slammed the doors shut on my education. And without education, there is nothing for me here.

Liz Phillips, Truckee Meadows Community College student:

I am a student at TMCC and an active member of the TMCC Student Government Association. The recent changes I have seen as result of budget cuts have already affected everyone in the student body, as well as the faculty and staff.

Trying to complete my associate degree has become a juggling game as requirements for each program are rarely being offered. This semester, I needed three different classes. However, each class was only being offered once and all three were on the same day and time, making it impossible to register for more than one class until another semester comes along.

I am currently completing my degree with plans to transfer to UNR in a specific program of study. However, now that I have applied and been accepted there, the program I am interested in no longer exists. This is forcing me to change my goals, or move to another state where the degree is currently being offered. I am definitely not alone in this situation.

I believe other measures can be taken in order to assist in our state’s time of crisis. Instead of cutting whole programs, or laying off hundreds of people, if everyone is just willing to give up a little more of their share and quit being so selfish we could find a more achievable way out of this dilemma.