The Air Force Association (AFA) has announced the creation of a new recognition for exceptional CyberPatriot competitors. The "Cyber All American" award will be awarded to students who have helped their teams advance to the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition in each of their high school years.
CyberPatriot, an education initiative created by the AFA and presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, is a one-of-a-kind cyber education program structured to inspire students toward education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition is at the core of CyberPatriot. The competition challenges students to resolve real-world cybersecurity situations in a virtual environment. It is open to public, private, and charter high schools, home schools, JROTC units, CAP Squadrons, NSCC Units, scouting troops, and Boys & Girls Clubs.
"With a large and competitive field of teams, it’s impressive to make it to the National Finals Competition in one season," said Rachel Zimmerman, Senior Manager for Program Administration for CyberPatriot. "Doing it for four consecutive years is truly remarkable."
Frank Zaborowski, Senior Director of CyberPatriot Operations remarked, "The skills, dedication, and time involved to achieve Cyber All American status is on par with what it takes to be an All American in high school sports. A major difference is that a Cyber All American goes up against industry professionals in their championship event."
The CyberPatriot VIII National Finals Competition will be hosted in Baltimore April 10-14. Teams of high school and middle school students will travel all-expenses-paid to compete for the title of National Champion, scholarships, and other recognition.
The twelve Open Division, thirteen All Service Division and three Middle School Division National Finalist teams advanced through extremely competitive online qualifying rounds to earn the distinction of being National Finalists. They represent schools and youth organizations from California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, and Manitoba, Canada.
CyberPatriot VIII has exceeded all previous records, drawing 3,379 registered teams from all 50 states–a 55 percent increase in team registrations from last season’s CyberPatriot VII.
"The growth and expansion of the CyberPatriot program has been astounding and we couldn’t be more proud to be influencing young people around the world to learn more about STEM education, specifically in cyber," said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot National Commissioner. "Drawing all teams is exciting, and we are particularly pleased to see more middle schools, more female teams, and more students of every background in the competition. We look forward to the season ahead and wish all of our competitors well in their battle to earn their way to the National Finals Competition."
Supporters of CyberPatriot include the US Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Northrop Grumman Foundation, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, Facebook, Riverside Research, Splunk, Symantec, Air Force Reserve, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Leidos, and University of Maryland University College.