It's time for youth groups to form teams for a competition that addresses the STEM education challenge our nation faces. But in a fun sort of way.
Registration for the premier National Youth Cyber Defense competition, CyberPatriot, is underway with over 400 teams are already registered for CyberPatriot VII. Established by the Air Force Association, CyberPatriot was created to excite, educate, and motivate the students who will become our country's next generation of cyber leaders.
The Air Force Association's CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program announced the results of its survey of middle and high school students, assessing their growth in cybersecurity knowledge and career interest through participation in this program. Results indicated that after participating in the CyberPatriot program, the majority of students felt more confident in their knowledge of cybersecurity principles and more inclined to pursue STEM and cybersecurity careers.
Before the competition, only 14 percent of the participants surveyed answered that they possessed "a lot of knowledge" or "an advanced understanding" of basic cybersecurity principles. After the competition, students assessed their knowledge far stronger, with that number jumping to 70 percent. Post-CyberPatriot numbers leaned in a favorable direction in understanding of the career opportunities with 94 percent believing they now had "some,” "a lot," or "strong" understanding of career options.
How the Competition Works
A CyberPatriot team consists of a Coach and two to six students enrolled in the same middle school, high school, or other approved educational organization. Neither Coaches nor Competitors need any special technical background. CyberPatriot provides the training materials needed to prepare a team for a competition and encourages Coaches to work with technical Mentors who register on the CyberPatriot website to volunteer to help train teams for competition.
Preliminary rounds are conducted online from the teams' home locations. The competition has a tournament-style tiered structure, so teams advance based on scores from each round until the top 28 teams are identified. Those top qualifying teams then receive all-expenses-paid trips to the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition held in the Washington, DC area, in March 2015.
Teams also benefit from the expertise of the competition's sponsors, including the Northrop Grumman Foundation, CyberPatriot's presenting sponsor, which has contributed mentors, internships, and scholarship money to the competition.
All U.S. high schools, middle schools, and approved home school programs are invited to participate. Teams register from public, private, parochial, charter, and home schools in the Open Division, while Junior ROTC units of all Services, US Naval Sea Cadet Corps squadrons, and Civil Air Patrol squadrons compete in the All Service Division. Teams consisting of middle school students compete in the Middle School Division, which does not distinguish between uniformed and non-uniformed teams.
Registration closes October 10, 2014. For more information on the program and to register visit www.uscyberpatriot.org.