The U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) today announced the winners of its fall Cyber Foundations competition, a national online contest for high school students designed to identify future cyber experts. More than 2,000 high school students from 32 states, 3 U.S. territories and 169 schools registered for the competition, which took place during October and November.
The online competition, conducted in collaboration with the SANS Institute and the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation (CKSF), features a series of quizzes in the most important foundational fields of cyber security: networking, operating systems, and system administration.
The following are the top five scoring students in the nation, in order of score: Gavy Aggarwal: Charter School of Wilmington - Delaware Ryan Foster: Polaris Career Center - Ohio Andrey Kuklev: Huron High School - Michigan Jade Mollard: Damascus High School - Maryland Jeffrey Yuan: Mission San Jose High School - California
(ICS)2 , a not-for-profit leader in educating and certifying information security professionals throughout their careers, is presenting scholarships for the five national winners in the amounts of $2,500, $1,500, $1,000, $750, and $500 respectively.
“In this constantly evolving field, it is essential that we provide the future cybersecurity workforce with the educational and career path tools they need to succeed,” said Julie Peeler, (ISC) Foundation director. “(ISC)’s Information Security Scholarship Program is dedicated to supporting competitions such as this one that ignite a spark of passion in students for the security field and that help to fill the pipeline of future recruits in an industry strapped for qualified, certified professionals. We applaud the efforts of all the competitors and send our congratulations to the winners. We hope they all continue their interest in this area of study and look forward to their bright futures in our industry.”
Wilmington University sponsored a number of schools for Cyber Foundations, including the national winner’s school.
“Delaware has been fortunate to participate in the United States Cyber Challenge since its inception. I am so proud of Gavy Aggarwal and the Charter School of Wilmington for taking first place in this year’s competition,” said Elayne Starkey, Delaware’s Chief Information Security Officer. “We are making progress in laying the foundation for a future workforce that meets the challenges of the next century.”
The Women in Technology Education Foundation (WITEF) provided a scholarship to the top female scorer in the D.C. metro area.
“WITEF is helping to build the technology workforce of tomorrow by using educational opportunities to create awareness and excitement and to prepare girls and young women to pursue successful technology-related careers,” said Dede Haskins, WITEF Chair. “We are thrilled to support the efforts of the National Cyber Challenge by being able to grant Kourtney Monroe a scholarship to attend college in the amount of $1,000. As the top female scorer in our area, we’re very proud of her accomplishment and look forward to the opportunity to support her through college and throughout the rest of her career.”
“As the national epicenter of federal cyber security, Maryland is proud of the students who competed in the Cyber Foundations contest. The success of our students is a direct reflection of their hard work, dedicated teachers and an engaged business community,” said Bernard J. Sadusky, Ed.D. interim state Superintendent of Schools, Maryland State Department of Education. “This partnership has created an infrastructure in Maryland that will better prepare students for careers and advanced studies in cyber. The Maryland State Department of Education would like to thank Cyber Foundations for creating this great opportunity.”
“We are always excited for opportunities to showcase the talent of our kids. The fact that this is Michigan’s first year participating in the competition, had the most schools registered for the competition and has three students finishing in the top ten in the competition in the country is exciting. It shows that we have awesome young talent here in our state ready to make an impact in the cyber security industry. It also shows the dedication and support of our competition mentors, school teachers, administrators and sponsors,” said Rose Johnson-King, Cyber Security Awareness Program Coordinator in Michigan. “We thank the Cyber Foundations Competition for giving our kids a chance to shine and for making this great opportunity for recognition available.”
The state winners and top scoring students per high school are listed on the USCC website. The top scoring students in each school and state will earn recognition and awards for their achievements. Those with an interest and aptitude may go on to pursue a career in cyber security and help fill the critical gap in the nation’s cyber workforce.
"These young people combine a passion for technology with extraordinary talent. They are going to have a big impact on the world of cybersecurity and on the nation," said Alan Paller, Director of Research at the SANS Institute.
“The level of participation in this program has increased substantially since the first Cyber Foundations competition earlier this year. The fact that we have so many students and schools involved in this round underscores the amount of interest and the value of what we are doing,” said William Pelgrin, President and CEO of the Center for Internet Security.
In addition to the partnership with the SANS Institute and CKSF, and scholarship support from (ICS)2, a number of other sponsors supported the registration of schools across the nation: Wilmington University, California State Polytechnic University Center for Information Assurance, McCabe Software, the NYS Office of Cyber Security, and Advance IT Minnesota. The sponsors are listed on the USCC website.
About U.S. Cyber Challenge: The mission of the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), a division of the Center for Internet Security, is to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by identifying, recruiting and placing the next generation of cyber security professionals.
USCC is a national coalition of public-private sector entities collaborating to enhance the workforce with the next generation of cyber security professionals through skill development activities, mentoring, and resources, and the facilitation of scholarship, internship and employment opportunities. USCC's goal is to find 10,000 of America's best and brightest to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.