A team of Lompoc-area students from the Civil Air Patrol Vandenberg Composite Squadron recently qualified for the semifinals of CyberPatriot, a national cyber defense competition sponsored by the Air Force Association.
Established by the Air Force Association in 2009, the CyberPatriot education program was designed to excite, educate and motivate students toward careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that are considered critical to the nation’s future.
CyberPatriot’s core program — the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition — challenges teams of students from across the U.S., Canada and Department of Defense schools abroad to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Top teams from the preliminary online rounds earn all-expenses-paid trips to Baltimore, Maryland, for the in-person National Finals Competition, in which students compete for national recognition and scholarships.
At the high school level, the CyberPatriot field is divided into two divisions: the Open Division for public, private and home school teams, and the All Service Division for JROTC, Civil Air Patrol and Naval Sea Cadet Corps teams. Within these divisions are three skill levels: platinum, gold and silver.
In all, 5,584 teams registered this year to compete in CyberPatriot. Of these, 325 teams competed as part of the All Service Division Platinum tier. The Civil Air Patrol Vandenberg Squadron is among the 89 teams to advance to the next round from that subdivision.
Led by Coach Dave Schatz, the team of students from the Civil Air Patrol Vandenberg Squadron excelled in qualification rounds. Schatz said the students demonstrated teamwork, critical-thinking skills and technical knowledge key to successful careers in cybersecurity.
“I am so proud of this team of cadets,” Schatz said. “Alexander Jacob deserves specific credit for teaching, motivating and guiding his fellow cadets. Megan Swart, Clara Swart, Sebastian Serniak and Jonathan Schatz did a superb job of taking his lead and excelling in the competition.”
Following the semifinals, the top 13 All Service Division teams will advance to the National Finals in Baltimore, scheduled for April 15 through 19.
For more information on the competition, visit www.uscyberpatriot.org.