An Alton High School student placed first at a computer skills competition this month.
In preparation for the upcoming National CyberPatriot IX Competition, Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence hosted a HackSpace competition for high school and middle school students Sept. 10 at Maryville University in St. Louis and Sept. 17 at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville.
More than 70 students competed against one another in an effort to test and expand cybersecurity skills and awareness. Students learned about cryptography, network exploitation, packet analysis, programming, reverse engineering and steganography. St. Louis first-place winners were Malaya Hemphill, Jada Williams, LaQuanda Anderson and Maliyah Gray of University City Senior High School. Belleville first-place winners were Zach Locke, Columbia High School; Jostin Hicks, Alton High School; Eric Upson, O’Fallon Township High School; and Antoine Watson, O’Fallon Township High School. Both teams won Raspberry Pi kits.
Maryville University and SWIC team up with the center to lead the way for cybersecurity youth initiatives.
“Programs such as CyberPatriot are essential in exposing students to the STEM cybersecurity field,” said Associate Professor of Cyber Security at Maryville University, Dustin Loeffler. “At Maryville University, we have partnered with the Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence to help expose students to the cyber field, which has an incredible runway for growth. By investing in our youths to become next-generation cyber professionals, this will allow our country to meet 21st century issues head-on.”
“The success of the Hackspace competition at Southwestern Illinois College (and Maryville University) underscores both the tremendous interest among young people in this discipline and the need to educate future generations of IT security professionals for this growing career field,” SWIC Dean of the Business Division Dr. Janet Fontenot said. “We welcome the opportunity to host other cybersecurity events that will introduce students and the community to this vital occupation.”
The Air Force Association established CyberPatriot in 2009 to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to the nation’s future.
Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence is dedicated to inspiring the St. Louis region’s youth toward cybersecurity and other STEM programs to help generate a future workforce.
For information, visit mwccoe.org or call (618) 722-5117.