Congratulations to the members of the McNicholas CyberPatriot Team who earned 2nd Place in the gold tier at the state level of The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition: seniors Riley Fitzgerald and Matt Mitchell, junior Remy Holder, and sophomores Eli Holland, Tanner Shelly, and Will Tipton. They were led by coaches Mrs. Jolene Esz and Mrs. Chrystel Blosser Wells.
In a digital world where everything from money to personal information is stored on a computer, cyber threats continue to grow and wreak havoc. Taking this problem to heart, these Rockets are expanding their knowledge and sharpening their cybersecurity skills by participating in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
Created by the Air Force Association (AFA), this national youth cyber education program is designed to direct students toward careers in cybersecurity or another computer, science, technology, engineering, and or mathematics discipline.
During the competition, teams were presented with virtual operating systems and challenged to find and fix the security threats.
“Essentially, there were four different machines, infected with different viruses or security problems. We had to work together as a team to figure those problems out and eliminate them to score points for our team,” sophomore Will Tipton explained.
Though this competition was a unique experience for the team, they all brought a solid foundation of computer skills to the table and a shared love of technology and problem solving.
Coach Mrs. Jolene Esz attributes the CyberPatriots Team’s success to their enthusiasm and their hard work in the UC Early IT Program. “All of the students on the team are in the McNicholas cohort of the UC IT Early College Program so they have taken college level classes in Networking and Systems Administration. Their success is a testament to their hard work and the outstanding program we have here,” Mrs. Esz said.
Outside of knowledge about networking and computers, the Rockets on the CyberPatriot team also displayed impressive teamwork and genuinely enjoyed tackling the challenges together.
“The group of students who make up the team are just such amazing individuals! They are highly motivated to succeed, yet are so helpful and accepting of each other's mistakes,” Mrs. Wells said.
“They are each very talented in their own rights, but it is just so awesome to see how well they work together,” Mrs. Wells added.
Each member of this award-winning team also received a $1500 renewable scholarship to Gannon University.