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WGU Offers Scholarships to Help Fill Cybersecurity Skills Gap

Commissioner Cook encourages residents to look into these scholarships from Western Governors University

  • 3 octubre 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 5516

SALT LAKE CITY (October 2, 2019) – As part of an ongoing strategy to help fill the United States’ critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals, competency-based, nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU) is offering eligible new students a scholarship that could reduce their tuition by more than one-third.


The WGU Cybersecurity Scholarship, worth up to $5,000 per student, launched this week in recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. New WGU students enrolling in the B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance or M.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program are eligible to apply through Dec. 31, 2019. Recipients will be awarded $1,250 per six-month term—renewable up to four terms—toward those programs. Already-low tuition is about $3,500 per term.


According to CyberSeek, an initiative funded by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the U.S. is facing a growing shortfall of cybersecurity

Commissioner Cook Participates in Wilco Expo Center Expansion Groundbreaking

Event held Sept. 11, 2019 at the Williamson County Expo Center, 5350 Bill Pickett Trail in Taylor

  • 27 septiembre 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3513

Commissioner Cook joins several officials including Pct. 4 Commissioner Russ Boles who all donned hard hats and are holding shovels ready for the signal to break ground.Commissioner Cook and several officials raise their shovels full of dirt for the official groundbreaking ceremony.

Learn and Preserve History by Joining Our Williamson Museum

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 19 septiembre 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3433

Williamson Museum Director Mickie Ross shows Commissioner Cook a popular area for young visitors with historical markings on a Wilco map above.

If you’re looking for a place to put your money where your history is, look no more.

The Williamson Museum, housed in the historic limestone building on the Square in Georgetown that was once Farmers State Bank, is seeking more members.

Opened to the public in 2003, the museum is a non-profit corporation established in 1997 that today boasts of 16,000 donated artifacts.

Their total budget for Fiscal Year (Sept. to Oct.) 2018-19 was $550,000. However, the biggest misconception is that the museum is entirely county funded.

While the Commissioners Court budgets $237,000 annually for the museum, Director Mickie Ross says that the rest must be raised, including an additional $70,000 for staff salaries.

Although the four full-time and two part-time employees are considered county employees, the museum pays for the county’s portion of benefits, like health insurance and retirement.

The museum’s store and grants provide additional funds, as well as its summer camps, company matches, the Cattleman’s Ball (an annual fundraiser held every third weekend in October) and membership dues.

Yet membership is not growing as it should in our blossoming county. Ross can’t pinpoint the cause since visitors continue to increase to more than 18,000 a year and virtual visitors to its websites, newsletters and social media number more than 70,000.

Unfortunately, lack of funding is also impacting the Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail in Round Rock, as it will be closing this fall despite its popular community programs.

Commissioner Cook Encourages Wilco Residents to Take Advantage of WGU's $800,000 in Back to School Scholarships for Adults

The online, competency-based university will award 400 new students with scholarships

  • 22 agosto 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3660

WGU Texas (August 22, 2019) – Western Governors University (WGU) will award $800,000 in scholarships to busy adults who would like to earn a college degree on a schedule that fits their lives. The Back to School Scholarship is WGU’s largest scholarship offering to date.


The Back to School Scholarship is valued at up to $2,000 per student and is open to new students in any of the more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered at WGU including programs in business, information technology, education, and health professions. New students must apply for the scholarship by Sept. 30, 2019.


The scholarships will be applied at the rate of $500 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms. Multiple scholarships will be awarded through a competitive program. Scholarships will be granted based on a candidate’s academic record, financial need, readiness for online study, current competency, and other considerations.


“The scholarship changed my life,” said Amanda Ogle, a recent WGU scholarship recipient. “It allowed me to get my teaching degree, and inspire my children, current students, and future students to follow their dreams, persevere, and experience the success that comes from determination.”


Designed to meet the needs of 21st century students, WGU’s competency-based education allows students to take advantage of their knowledge and experience to move quickly through material they already know, so they can focus on what they still n

Reducing Misconduct Among Youth by Building Resiliency

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 15 agosto 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3486

Commissioner Cook arrives at the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Center in Georgetown to meet with Wilco Juvenile Services Assistant Executive Director Matt Smith (left) and Director Scott Matthew (right).

Instead of continuing military-style discipline as the primary policy to correct errant youth under age 18, the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Center in Georgetown went rogue.

The traditional correctional and military-style discipline didn’t result in lasting change for most of these juveniles.

Matt Smith, assistant executive director and mental health services director for Wilco’s Juvenile Services, explained why.

From 1995 to 1997, a CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study of 17,00 participants in the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan in California confirmed through scientific evidence that traumatic experiences in the first 18 years of life lead to physical, mental and behavioral problems later in life. 

The 10 ACEs identified in the study included emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Others involved witnessing a mother treated violently, substance abuse or mental illness in the household, parental separation or divorce, or an incarcerated household member.

Emotional and physical neglect were also identified ACEs.

Two thirds of the study participants showed an ACE score of at least one, and 87 percent had more than one.

Recent neuroscience research revealed through brain scans the developmental difference between brains that had experienced toxic stress in youth and those who had experienced only one or two ACEs.

ACEs can profoundly harm children’s developing brains. Experiences that cause stress chemicals to be continuously produced greatly impact development of brain cells and connections among cells.


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