Scott Air Force Base News

Introducing cyber to Upward Bound East St. Louis high school students

Students from the Cyber Patriot Program listen during a briefing by a cyber professional at the Air Force Network Integration Center building at Scott. The students were given information from cyber professionals to interest them in a career in the cyber field.
Students from the Cyber Patriot Program listen during a briefing by a cyber professional at the Air Force Network Integration Center building at Scott. The students were given information from cyber professionals to interest them in a career in the cyber field.

East St. Louis Center high school students visited the Air Force Network Integration Center building Feb. 16 to learn more about cyber defense.

The purpose of the event was to show the Upward Bound students what things the cyber teams do in an effort to spark interest in the students to have a career in the cyber field.

The students are part of Cyber Patriot, which is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. The students compete in a competition as part of the program, which puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company.

This local initiative was developed to jumpstart minority youth interest in cyber, to not only compete in the event, but also to consider future cyber career opportunities.

Col. Terrence Adams, the 375th Communications Group Commander

Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn an all-expenses paid trip to Baltimore, Md., for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money. The students are the first team from East St. Louis ever to participate in the Cyber Patriot competition.

“This local initiative was developed to jumpstart minority youth interest in cyber, to not only compete in the event, but also to consider future cyber career opportunities,” said Col. Terrence Adams, the 375th Communications Group commander.

During the visit, 1st Lts. Tasha and Joshua Mayne, both members of the 835th Cyber Operations Squadron, explained to the youth the importance of “packet sniffing” and detailed the process to eradicate potential malicious network traffic.

Master Sgt. Cidelia Hagan and Tech. Sgt. Kendrick Lewis, members of the 837th Cyber Operations Squadron highlighted the ease of hacking personal vehicles due to the demand and reliance of cyber solutions.

“Many big named companies are spending immense dollars to develop and provide innovative solutions to customers, unfortunately cyber security is most often an afterthought. History has proven diversity has always been a critical advantage,” said Capt. Edward Wilson Jr., the Air Mobility Command program element monitor. “We must intentionally leverage different backgrounds to spark dissimilar thought and innovation in cyber; programs like this facilitate opportunities for our diverse youth.”

Many big named companies are spending immense dollars to develop and provide innovative solutions to customers, unfortunately cyber security is most often an afterthought. History has proven diversity has always been a critical advantage.

Capt. Edward Wilson Jr., the Air Mobility Command program element monitor

At the end of the visit, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Devall, the 375th Communications Squadron superintendent, closed the event with his own youth experience as a former Upward Bound student and how it led to his success.

“These are very intelligent young men and women,” said Devall. “I hope we opened their eyes to the opportunities available in the cyber security realm.”

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