Scholarship helps student secure future in computer security

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UNO student rewarded for his love of computers.

He remembers his mom freaking out.

Scattered around the computer room of their Omaha home were the guts and parts of the family’s first desktop computer.

He was just 12. The computer, a Macintosh, had cost his parents about $3,000.

“I took it apart just to see if I could put back together,” says Ryan Grandgenett, who’s 21 now and a junior studying computer security at UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology.

And he did put it back together.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve always been taking things apart and putting them back together,” he says. “As soon as I could use computers, I was always playing with them, trying to figure out how they worked.

“I grew to really love them.”

He’s now being rewarded for it.

His love of computers has given him a future he’s excited about. He wants to work in computer security, maybe for the government or the private sector.

His love of computers also has given him $2,500 a year to go to school. He’s one of the UNO students in his college to receive a scholarship from ProKarma, a global information-technology firm with headquarters in Omaha. The scholarship is renewable if he maintains a GPA of at least 3.0.

“It’s helped out a lot,” Ryan says. “In order to go here, I have to take out loans. I’m only working part time, only 25 hours a week. So this definitely helps out a lot.”

UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology, whose home is in the Peter Kiewit Institute, is the best technology school in the area, Ray says. Its faculty aren’t teaching yesterday’s technology.

“And I think instructors are much more involved. It’s more challenging. But it’s definitely more rewarding at the same time.”

People from technology organizations speak to his classes, trying to recruit students. He hears them say how UNO grads are the most-skilled grads they see.

He’s proud to be part of that great culture at the college.

And he’s proud his computer skills are making his parents proud.

“Now, my mom loves it,” he says, smiling. “Now whenever anything on their computer breaks, they know they can call me.”

Information technology and support for students are among the highest priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you’d like to help in either area, please consider giving online or call the foundation at 800-432-3216.

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