CyberPatriot Commissioner Bernie Skoch (l) and Air Force Association Chairman of the Board F. Whitten Peters pose with Open Division National Champions from Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif. (L-r) Clement Chan, Joseph Xu, Christos Bakis, Jimmy Li, Timothy Kim, and Rahil Shah, team mentor John-Michael Linares, Northrop Grumman’s Vice President and General Manager for Cyber and Intelligence Solutions Jennifer Walsmith, and team coach Allen Stubblefield. Photo: Mike Tsukamoto/staff
Each year, the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program holds a national youth cyber defense competition, and each year, tens of thousands of students find their passion for STEM and cybersecurity. This year was no different, with nearly 24,000 students from across the country competing in the 11th season of CyberPatriot—the largest competition to date.
To qualify for the CyberPatriot National Finals is no small feat. From an initial field of nearly 6,400 teams split between three divisions, only the best of the best—the top 28 teams to be exact—get to experience the high-stakes atmosphere of the in-person National Finals event.
Keynote speaker David J. Hickton, former US attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and current director and founder of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security, found himself in awe of the national finalists while sharing some words of wisdom with them at the awards banquet. “You have demonstrated at an early age that you are a patriot, but I urge you to take advantage of what has been provided here and cross the threshold and become a cyber leader. In addition to the fact that you will never starve and will always have a job—our country, its future, and the world depends upon it,” said Hickton.
Commander of US Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, was also impressed with the level of talent the CyberPatriot competitors possess, calling the high school- and middle school-aged students “vital for the security of our nation.”
Cadet Lt. Col. Annabelle Klosterman from the CAP Big Sioux Composite Squadron in Brookings, S.D., competes in the finals. Competition began in September 2018 with online training sessions. Teams then proceeded through rounds one and two, a state round, a semifinal round, and the finals, culminating at the Inner Harbor Hyatt Regency Hotel in Baltimore. Photo: Mike Tsukamoto/staff
Recognition is in order for the teams whose hard work earned them a spot on the stage at the CyberPatriot XI Awards Banquet:
OPEN DIVISION WINNERS:
National Champion: Team Troy Tech Support, Troy High School (Fullerton, Calif.)
Runner-Up: Team Mendenhall, North Hollywood High School (North Hollywood, Calif.)
Third Place: Team CyberAegis Chobani, Del Norte High School (San Diego)
ALL SERVICE DIVISON WINNERS:
National Champion: Team Byte Sized Falcons, Scripps Ranch High School Air Force JROTC (San Diego)
Runner-Up: Team CyberD3lta, Troy High School Navy JROTC (Fullerton, Calif.)
Third Place: Team Roosevelt Rough Riders, Engineering and Technologies Academy at Roosevelt High School Army JROTC (San Antonio)
MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION WINNERS:
National Champion: Team CyberAegis Chaos, Oak Valley Middle School (San Diego)
Runner-Up: Team CyberAegis Kronos, Design 39 Campus (San Diego)
Third Place: Team CyberAegis Aether, Oak Valley Middle School (San Diego)
AT&T MOBILE DEVICE COMPONENT WINNER:
Team Byte Sized Falcons, Scripps Ranch High School Air Force JROTC (San Diego)
CISCO NETWORKING CHALLENGE WINNERS:
Open Division: Team Troy Tech Support, Troy High School (Fullerton, Calif.)
All Service Division: Team Roosevelt Rough Riders, Engineering and Technologies Academy at Roosevelt High School Army JROTC (San Antonio)
Middle School Division: Team CyberAegis Kronos, Design 39 Campus (San Diego)
Open and Middle School Divisions at the Network Security Master Challenge use AT&T mobile device components. Photo: Mike Tsukamoto/staff
Northrop Grumman awarded $49,500 to the Open and All Service winners of CyberPatriot XI, bringing its total scholarship contribution to more than $450,000 since becoming presenting sponsor in 2011. Scholarships are awarded to each member of the first-place, runner-up, and third-place teams in the two high school divisions.
The competitors, however, are not the only ones who received recognition. Betty Hemby of The Boeing Company and Meghan Barnes of AT&T were awarded the CyberPatriot Order of Merit, recognizing their sustained superior achievement in promoting the STEM education objectives of the program.
They are among a small group of individuals to be awarded such an honor.
“With the generous support of Northrop Grumman and our other benefactors, we have been able to grow remarkably every year, reaching more and more students of all backgrounds and attracting them to STEM education and careers,” CyberPatriot National Commissioner Bernard Skoch said. “The champions we crowned in Baltimore are brilliant competitors in a field our nation so desperately needs them in. We congratulate them, along with all our thousands of participants nationwide. We look forward to yet another exciting—and even more challenging—season this coming year.”
CyberPatriot, the nation’s largest and fastest growing youth cyber education program, is AFA’s flagship STEM program dedicated to strengthening cyber skills among students. The program features the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition for high school and middle school students, AFA CyberCamps, an Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative, a Cyber Education Literature Series, and CyberGenerations, a program promoting cyber awareness among senior citizens. Learn more at https://www.uscyberpatriot.org.