by 2nd Lt. Annabel Monroe
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
1/20/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Students
and faculty from Charles M. Russell High School in Great Falls,
Montana, along with members of the Air Force Association and volunteers
from Malmstrom Air Force Base, have combined forces to compete in
CyberPatriot, Montana's first national youth cyber education program.
In an effort to increase adolescent focus in the fields of science,
technology, engineering and mathematics, students compete in the field
of cyber security and network defense while being taught and mentored by
experts in the field.
Top performing teams across the nation will be invited to attend an
all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C., for the National Finals
Competition. The regional competition was held Jan. 16, 2015, for
Montana's first and only CyberPatriot team.
"The program addresses very real national security concerns in an
ever-evolving industry and introduces students to career opportunities
in the cyber security field," said Senior Master Sgt. David Lohouse,
341st Communications Squadron superintendent.
Each student participates in training, a practice exercise once a week and meets with a mentor at least once a month.
"(I volunteered) because it's challenging, fun and an opportunity to
teach the future 'us,'" said Airman 1st Class Daniel Rome, 341st CS
client system technician. "We might as well start now."
"CyberPatriot teaches kids about cyber security and provides a glimpse
of the things we face in the Air Force every day," said Senior Airman
Eric Garrison, 341st CS client system technician. "Additionally, it's an
opportunity to pass on knowledge that can broaden each of these
"We also have the opportunity to improve our knowledge base and learn
new computing policies," added Senior Airman Austin Beaty, a visual
imagery and intrusion detection systems specialist from the 341st CS.
"It's a fun group of people to be around. We are proud of what we do and
proud of creating safer computers in general," said Joe Grasseschi, an
11th-grade student at CMR High School.
Katie Peppers, a senior at CMR High School who is looking into some of
the best technical universities on the East Coast, looks forward to her
future and is grateful for the things being a CyberPatriot taught her.
"I love being able to help others with computer issues and appreciate the problem solving skills I have learned," said Peppers.
In the end, that's exactly what programs like these are all about.
"We love providing opportunities that students might not otherwise have
in the classroom," explained Jamie Williams, a librarian at CMR and the
CyberPatriot team coach.
In a combined effort to further science, technology, engineering and
mathematics knowledge in schools, organizations like CyberPatriot help
build America's national security future as well as positive and