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Setting a course for a career in cybersecurity
By Connie Grosch / February 9, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...
Our Kathleen Malin, Vice President of Technology & Operations Management, has been serving as a mentor for the CyberPatriot teams at Woonsocket High School and Middle School. She recently hosted CyberPatriot Day at the Foundation for the students and teachers.

cybersecurity: the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this    — Oxford Dictionary

 

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CyberPatriot is a national program created by the Air Force Association to encourage students to think about STEM careers. The Woonsocket High School and Middle School participated in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. Students in the program learn about cybersecurity and protecting their identities online. During competitions teams work together using VMware virtual computers to secure and protect machines and users.

I was connected to the CyperPatriot program at the Governor’s Roundtable Discussion in November, where the topic of creating a pipeline of educated and skilled cyber students came up. Meghan Martinez from FM Global said they would not be able to have a team in Woonsocket because they needed a mentor. That’s where I came in.

As a mentor I went to two classes at Woonsocket Middle School each week and helped introduce students to concepts about security including password protection and intrusion detection. The Woonsocket students participated in competitions in November, December, and January; their scores improved each time as they learned more during the program. They worked with Window desktops and servers and even learned to use the Linux language Ubuntu. Students also learned soft skills like communication and project management.

I try to encourage the students to think about careers in technology, encourage them to pursue cybersecurity at one of the higher institutions offering it in Rhode Island – URI, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University. 

We celebrated the end of the program with a mini-career day here at the Foundation. Students had a tour of the studio at Rhode Island Public Radio and visited the Foundation’s server rooms. We had twelve technology and communications professionals sharing information about their careers with the students. Working with these students has been exceptionally rewarding – I hope more IT professionals will become mentors and spend time with these amazing CyberPatriots. But the highlight of our day just may have been riding the bumper cars at the Alex and Ani Skating Center.

 

 

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