MARCH 18, 2015, NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS) – Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from two schools competed in the Air Force Association’s (AFA) 7th annual CyberPatriot National High School Cyber Defense Competition at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, March 12-14.
Cadet teams from W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Navy champion, and Covington (La.) High School competed against JROTC teams from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Naval Sea Cadets and Civil Air Patrol.
“I’m very proud of my team as we have been close every year and finally made it to the finals,” said Cadet Lt. Emily Segler, a W.B. Ray High School senior, and team captain. “CyberPatriot has been an excellent program and has increased our education in cyber awareness.”
Segler, who is also the commanding officer for the W.B. Ray NJROTC unit, was recently selected for a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where she will major in Cyber Warfare Engineering.
CyberPatriot is a national high school cyber defense competition created to inspire high school students toward careers in cyber security or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.
More than 1000 all-service teams signed up to participate in the CyberPatriot program, with 13 schools making it to the finals.
“We started this year’s competition in October and these kids have worked their way through challenging online rounds to get here,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Bernie Skoch, commissioner of the AFA. “Our goal is to get kids into education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related studies. Our numbers have shown that 94 percent of CyberPatriot graduates go onto four-year institutions and 80 percent go into studying in STEM related majors.”
During the competition, cadets participated in a forensics challenge that involved looking over a mock crime scene for all pieces of evidence and then working for five hours fending off computer attacks and hackers, shutting down taunting pop ups and locking out key loggers to keep their competition web site system running smoothly.
“I joined the NJROTC program for their cyber program and it’s been a great experience,” said Cadet Jonathan Peters, a senior and team captain from Covington High School. “I’m looking to continue in this field by enlisting in the Navy after graduation or working towards an internship in Information Technology.”
Each team has a coach and also a team mentor that trains with them throughout the year. W.B. Ray High School trains with the Texas A&M University Cyber Team in Corpus Christi, Texas, while Covington trains with one of their very own, former NJROTC cadet and CyberPatriot participant, Robert Crawford.
“I graduated from the program two years ago when we last made it to the national championship,” said Crawford, a Network Systems Administrator with the Covington Fire Department. “It’s absolutely awesome to be back here as the team mentor and I am very proud of these guys. They work hard and do what they learn well.”
Pre-registration has already begun for next year’s CyberPatriot competition. Visit uscyberpatriot.org for more information on the competition.
The NJROTC program is overseen by Rear Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes.
NJROTC is a citizenship development program that instills in high school students, in U.S. secondary educational institutions, the value of citizenship and service to the United States.
NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy’s Citizenship Development program. NSTC includes Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp; NROTC at more than 160 colleges and universities across the country; Officer Training Command (OTC) in Newport, R.I.; NJROTC and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools
For more information on NJROTC visit: www.njrotc.navy.mil/