When United States Army veteran Maston Leit (pronounced MASS-ton LEE-et) transferred to Arapahoe Community College (ACC) 18 months ago, he enrolled in classes at the Castle Rock Campus. Following the grand opening of the Sturm Collaboration Campus that August, Leit began a work-study position at the front desk. His vantage point directly across from the state-of-the-art cyber center left him in awe. The marvel inspired him to begin exploring ACC’s Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Cybersecurity.
A native of Hawaii, Leit, 25, grew up on the east coast in North Carolina. Upon enlisting in the U.S. Army, he was stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. Leit concluded four years of service in the fall of 2018, achieving the rank of E-4 Specialist. He proceeded to take classes at Pikes Peak Community College for a year prior to his arrival at ACC in the summer of 2019.
“When I began working at the Sturm Collaboration Campus, I was captivated by the amazing technology,” explained Leit. “I started talking with other students about cybersecurity and computer information systems, and I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in this innovative, growing field.”
Leit, who will graduate this May with his AAS in Cybersecurity from ACC, was recently selected to participate in Lockheed Martin’s competitive Software Associate Degree Program (SWAP). Focused on building a talent pipeline, SWAP is a three-year, work-based learning program designed to attract, develop and retain early-career technical professionals in software and cyber-related careers. Leit will work as a programmer alongside a team of network security engineers and developers to hone his skills in preparation to join Lockheed Martin as a full-time employee upon his completion of SWAP.
Lockheed Martin’s tuition reimbursement plan will pave the way for Leit to earn his bachelor’s degree. He will begin classes for the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Information Systems (CIS; emphasis in Cybersecurity) through ACC’s innovative partnership with Colorado State University – Pueblo at the Sturm Collaboration Campus as a junior this fall.
“I wouldn’t be here today without the support I’ve received and opportunities I’ve uncovered at the Sturm Collaboration Campus,” said Leit. “This is a very success-oriented and student-focused campus with dedicated faculty and staff.”
Leit and his wife, Brooke, reside in Lone Tree. He is currently employed remotely as a work-study for ACC’s Information Technology (IT) department.
Designed for students who have completed ACC’s AAS degree in Cybersecurity or Secure Software Development, the BS in CIS (emphasis in Cybersecurity or Software Development) from CSU Pueblo features a blend of in-person and online courses. This AACSB-accredited program gives students the opportunity to graduate from CSU Pueblo’s distinguished Hasan School of Business and earn the same degree as students on the CSU Pueblo campus. Students can complete the AAS and BS degrees in four years without leaving the Sturm Collaboration Campus.
It is estimated that 95% of ACC students will remain in Colorado – filling important jobs in health care, law enforcement, computer specialties and a host of other critically-needed and in-demand occupations. Support for the enhanced technology in the cyber center and accompanying lab-based classrooms, as well as support to fund campus navigators who provide wrap-around support for students like Leit, was made possible by the Sturm Family Foundation and matching donors over the past two years.
An investment in the ACC Foundation makes a significant difference not only in the lives of our students and their families, but also in our community and economy. Help ACC Lift the Gift of the Sturm Family Foundation through matching dollars raised by the ACC Foundation in three unique areas: the program innovation fund, an endowed scholarship fund, and an investment in the future phase 2 of the Sturm Collaboration Campus.
For more information about the Sturm Collaboration Campus, please contact ACC Associate Vice President and Dean of Business, Technology and Workforce Partnerships Dr. Eric Dunker at eric [dot] dunker [at] arapahoe [dot] edu.