SAN ANTONIO, TX — A group of 20 middle and high school students from the National Society of Black Engineers' (NSBE) San Antonio chapter recently participated in the CyberPatriot Summer Camp at AREA 21, the museum space operated by the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) that is located inside the Boeing Center at Tech Port.
The two-week program, which was developed in partnership with CyberTexas and the 16th Air Force, covered an array of relevant topics such as careers in cybersecurity, cyber threats and online safety while encouraging pre-collegiate students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. As part of the camp, five cyber Airmen from the 16th Air Force mentored the students about the basics and importance of cybersecurity.
"We're teaching (the students) cyber skills, telling them about great cyber opportunities, education and careers in San Antonio," said SAMSAT Chief Learning Officer Dr. Cliff Zintgraff. "The students are studying and learning about Windows security, security on Linux and security on networks. After they learn these skills, on the very last day we have a cybersecurity competition."
"NSBE is an organization that was started off for students to get exposure to STEM early, starting that pipeline to go to college and hopefully major in engineering or STEM," said NSBE member Breanna Hutchison.
"A lot of our children are already hands-on with technology and mobile devices, so I think it's important to get that hands-on training early while they are using (their devices) for personal use so that they can be ready and prepared for the workforce in the future," said cybersecurity instructor Alyssa Felan.
"(This is) an exciting opportunity for young kids to come in and hear from some industry experts, really put hands on keyboard and start getting excited about cybersecurity," said Will Garrett, Port San Antonio's Vice President of Talent & Technology Development & Integration.
"The opportunities for cyber locally — DoD careers, careers with defense contractors and small startups — there are just many opportunities for students," continued Zintgraff.
Photo credits: Port San Antonio.
About the National Society of Black Engineers
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. NSBE, founded in 1975, supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology.
With more than 600 chapters and more than 24,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad, NSBE’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.
About the 16th Air Force
Headquartered at Port San Antonio, the 16th Air Force focuses on information warfare in the modern age and ensures that the Air Force and the nation are fast, resilient and fully integrated in competition, crisis, and conflict.
CyberPatriot, an Air Force Association program, aims to inspire kindergarten through 12th grade students toward careers in cybersecurity or other STEM fields important to the nation’s future.