‘CyberPatriots’ compete in national contest

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From left: Joseph Nicholas, Taylor Coleman, teacher Jamie Brandenberg, and Makayla Packett.

CAMBRIDGE – A team of three “CyberPatriots,” students in DCTC’s new Cybersecurity Program, competed in the third round of the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition on Dec. 6. Taylor Coleman, Joseph Nicholas, and Makayla Packett spent six hours examining three different operating systems to identify and fix their vulnerabilities to gain points.

The students performed well enough in the first two rounds among the 6,000 competing teams to gain the designation as a “Gold Team.” To progress to the next round, they must finish in the top 12 of Maryland’s participating 283 teams.

Cybersecurity teacher Jamie Brandenberg said, “These students have done so well to get to the “Gold Team” status in the first year of the program. The competition is tough.”

Makayla is a senior at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School. She is still deciding on which college she will attend next year, but she feels certain she wants to pursue cybersecurity. Joseph and Taylor are both juniors at North Dorchester High School. Joseph is considering a career in aerospace engineering while Taylor is still undecided as to her career goals.

The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition is part of the National Youth Cyber Education Program, created by the Air Force Association to inspire students towards careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines it considers critical to the nation’s future. It is sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation.