The mission: to find cybersecurity vulnerabilities within a small company’s network and harden its system while maintaining critical services. No, it’s not the latest plot for a “Mission Impossible” sequel. It’s the simulated objective for high school students participating in the annual CyberPatriot Student Defense Competition on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at The GreenHouse in the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at the University of South Carolina Upstate.
CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the United States Air Force Association, is the nation’s largest youth cyber education program with a focus on careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future and to help students be safe online.
The Dec. 10 event is a state qualification round featuring 20 competitors including local students Caleb Sewell, Dylan Blackwell, Zack Tomko, Ben Weaver and Hampton Ford from Dorman High School in Spartanburg County School District Six and sponsored by The GreenHouse, as well as students from Swofford Career Center in Spartanburg County School District Two coached by Brian Duncan.
“The goal of this competition is to provide students with an opportunity to experience technology in a real world environment,” said Steve Ford, team coach and local financial planner. “Being able to aggressively engage students at this level of competition helps them explore and learn in a ‘cool’ way how these skills can not only translate into successful careers, but help develop strong critical thinking proficiencies and teamwork, as well.”
Top teams in state and regional competitions will earn trips to the National Finals Competition April 2-6, 2017, in Baltimore, MD, where they can earn national recognition and scholarships.
“We are delighted to sponsor the Dorman High School team here at the GreenHouse for this exciting CyberPatriot computer technology competition” said Brian Brady, director of The GreenHouse and instructor at the Johnson College. “Providing experiential learning opportunities for students is a key part of our mission. It is gratifying for us to help support programs such as these here in Spartanburg, particularly in the critically important STEM disciplines which help shape tomorrow’s leaders.”
More than 4, 400 teams representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Pacific, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hungary are registered to compete in the 2016-2017 season.