It’s one thing to practice cybersecurity in the classroom or a competition setting, but it’s something else entirely to do it in a real-world setting — especially in another country.

Four California high school students had the opportunity to do just that this summer when they participated in the Future Cybersecurity Leaders Exchange, funded by the U.S. Embassy in London. A total of 20 students participated in the program, 10 from the U.S. and 10 from the UK.

Students saw sights like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, but they also shadowed cybersecurity professionals from the public and private sectors, which broadened their horizons about potential career paths.

“The experience impacted the way I view cybersecurity significantly,” said Sky Jung, a junior at Troy High School. “We were exposed to a diverse range of careers in the cybersecurity field that I wasn’t aware of prior to the exchange program.”

The program included a 14-day cybersecurity camp in the UK, followed by professional site visits in Washington, D.C. and southern California. Students participated in a cultural exchange aimed at creating global networks among future cybersecurity leaders.

“Almost everyone has been staying in contact since the program ended,” Jung said. “After spending pretty much every day together for almost a month, it was so hard to say goodbye to my exchange friends, but the fact that we’ve all still been able to stay in touch just shows that it’s possible to make lasting connections.”

The trip included a visit to Google’s headquarters in London, which stood out for Bowen Liu, a senior at North Hollywood High School.

“I remember the tour guide taking us out to the balcony with patio swings, wooden logs for chairs, and this amazing view of London facing the Thames River. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted this kind of workspace from a company,” Liu said.

Participants also had the opportunity to see how regulations differ between the U.S. and the UK and make connections with companies like Cisco and Northrop Grumman.

“From what I picked up, cybersecurity in the UK is much, much more regulated,” said Nathan Melwani, a senior at Fullerton High School.

Phoenix Dimagiba, a senior at Del Norte High School, noted a difference in how cyber apprenticeships are viewed in each country.

“It was fascinating to learn about the types of cybersecurity opportunities available in the UK,” he said. “It seems like their cybersecurity education and apprenticeships are much more developed than they are here in the U.S.”

Students also learned about the ever-increasing role that cybersecurity plays in geopolitical conflicts.

“Coming into the exchange, my entire perspective was blown open, especially when they revealed the amount of geopolitical tensions that involve cybersecurity” Liu said. “I realized that my thoughts on cybersecurity were constrained by where I live.”

As Melwani prepares for college, the exchange program crystalized that cybersecurity is the pathway he wants to follow.

“Cybersecurity went from being merely just a competition for me to a possible major or minor in college,” he said. I learned that the world of cybersecurity is very diverse, as there are so many intricate methods that someone could utilize to take control of a network.”

The program also helped Dimagiba solidify his view of cybersecurity as he prepares for college and the start of his career.

“The visits to U.S. and UK government agencies and corporations served as reminders that the end goal of cybersecurity is protecting others,” Dimagiba said. “Cybersecurity professionals can ensure national security, maintain the integrity of consumer data, or both.”

The Future Cybersecurity Leaders Exchange was facilitated In the U.S. by PH International and in the UK by the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and QA, ltd. For more information, visit https://www.ph-int.org/us/program/239/.

Cyber-Guild, a synEDTM, program deepens community engagement

 

Thousand Oaks, CA – 30 July 2019 – To promote cyber security skills, knowledge, and engagement of entire communities Cyber-Guild, a pillar program of synED, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is excited to announce the Golden Ticket prize for high school cyber teams.

Ten winning cyber teams will receive an all-expense paid trip to the NASA U.S. Cyber Camp in August of 2020! Teams must meet or exceed a base criteria to qualify as one of the 10 selected teams. Teams will be flown from the nearest major airport (i.e., SFO, LAX, SAN), to spend a week with Astronauts, FBI agents, and elite representatives from across the U.S. that focus on cyber in their careers. Team members must be between the ages of 15-18 years old and be U.S. citizens. The teams will experience hands-on learning, some programming, forensics, and much more.

With nine months to accomplish the rigorous requirements, teams will be challenged at every step of the process, as they try to earn their right to claim a Golden Ticket. This will take focus, dedication and perseverance by every team trying to claim a ticket to the U.S. Cyber Camp.

“Space is the next cyber frontier. Our digital society’s reliance on space-based assets and capabilities is an Achilles heel not only for our military security, but also our economic security,” said synED Board member, Sheila Zuehlke, Major General (Ret), USAF. “The cyber threats are very real, and we must train our youth early with critical thinking exercises and hone their cyber skills to outmaneuver bad cyber actors who threaten our way of life.”

Cyber-Guild Director, Liz Fraumann shared, “We could not be more thrilled to offer the Golden Ticket opportunity to our high school students. The campaign and associated projects we have designed for the teams will stretch them in new ways. They will hone their skills, engage across their communities, and learn valuable lessons about cybersecurity and how it is truly a shared responsibility for all of us. The opportunities are endless with a great prize for their effort.”

 The teams’ projects require communities to engage as well. Businesses and organizations should welcome the expertise the students can offer when it comes to the leading cyber hygiene practices and sharing them with their staff. It is a win-win proposition for everyone. Teams have from now to April 15, 2020 to complete all of the projects to be considered for a Golden Ticket. Organizations or individuals wishing to invest are welcome to make a donation at: cyber-guild.org/donate.

As teams progress through their accomplishments they will be awarded digital badges that identify how their gained skills map to the NICE framework work roles. These digital credentials will be important to the students for future job and education applications, regardless of their success in claiming a Golden Ticket.

ABOUT NASA U.S. Cyber Camp

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s newest STEM camp, U.S. Cyber Camp, allows trainees to delve into the world of cyber technologies through blended hands-on experiences and challenges. Trainees learn the ethics and responsibilities of personal data security for safeguarding professional networks and the challenge of an expanding internet of things. This program balances individual instruction with team building.

ABOUT synED

SynED is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting educational excellence by promoting synergies between traditional, non-traditional and experiential learning to realize the best possible outcomes for students, faculty, business and society. For more information, visit synED.org

ABOUT the Cyber-Guild Program

Cyber-GuildTMis the leading integrated community engagement program of synED focused on raising cybersecurity awareness and learning across the United States of America, and globally at all levels. For more information, visit cyber-guild.org