Air Force Association offers STEM opportunities

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Now that school has restarted, I would like to make students and teachers aware of two great STEM programs offered by the Air Force Association. The first is the CyberPatriot program. This is a one-of-a-kind competition to engage young people in the world of cyber security. Students who participate learn valuable lessons about teamwork, defense and the cyber world.

The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six-hour period. Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region and finally the nation. Teams are made of four to six students with the help of a coach and mentor. Registration deadline is Oct. 4. The registration fee for open division teams is $205 and middle school division teams is $165. Go to http://www.uscyberpatriot.org/ to find out more about the program.

StellarXplorers is AFA's newest space-focused competition designed to attract high school students to STEM education. To learn more about StellarXplorers, please visit www.stellarxplorers.org. StellarXplorers inspires and attracts high school students to pursue studies and careers in STEM through a challenging, space system design competition involving all aspects of system development and operation with a spacecraft/payload focus. Teams can come from any high school (including home schools), JROTC, CAP, school clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs or any organized youth organization. Teams consist of an adult team director (usually a teacher) and two to six students. Team mentors with space experience are encouraged to assist in person or via the internet; the program can facilitate finding mentors. Total cost is a nominal $200 fee payable by Dec. 1, with waivers available to Title I schools upon request. Please feel free to contact me if you need more information. bushnancyh@aol.com

BUSH HANSON

Air Force Association