Cyber camps and competitions throughout California are helping to reach thousands of new students who can start on the pathway to a cybersecurity career through community college. These events allow students, parents, business leaders, community members, and others to learn about cybersecurity while having a little fun at the same time.
The California Mayors Cyber Cup (CMCC), a program of the California Cyberhub, was held on February 23 in 12 regions across the state. The goal is to increase awareness about cybersecurity and the many career opportunities that exist within that field.
The event brought students, parents, teachers, government officials, business leaders, and other stakeholders together to create awareness of cybersecurity issues and reinforce the connections between the community and educational institutions. The event helped to highlight the many career and business support resources available in each community.
“You never know what is going to change someone’s life trajectory,” said Scott Young, director of the California Cyberhub. “We’re servants helping the community and giving them the tools they need to be successful. Their success is our success.”
The top teams from each region will compete in the California Cyber Innovation Challenge at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in June.
Edwin Kang’s team from Ukiah High School took second place in the CMCC North/Far North Region, despite setbacks from wildfires over the past year.
“Despite the July Mendo-Lake Complex Fire and the October Camp Fire, some of our students in after-school, extra-curricular STEM programs have practiced reckless optimism in robotics engineering, computer programming and the new cyber challenge,” Kang said.
Wendy Porter, ICT-DM Deputy Sector Navigator in the North-Far North Region, has been working hard to channel the energy from the CMCC into excitement for cyber camps this summer. This summer, camps will be offered in five counties across the region — a substantial increase from offering one camp last summer.
“Putting together the CMCC for the first time in the Far North has been an extremely impactful experience,” said Porter. “The students of course have benefited, but the improved relationships between K-12 and our community colleges in Butte and Mendocino has been significant.”
In Butte County, two high schools are now working on cybersecurity and IT class articulation with Butte College as a result of faculty getting to know each other during the CMCC.
Another huge win is the new relationship between Butte College faculty member Linda Fischer and Chico State faculty member David Zeichick. Both professors teach cybersecurity and are developing a stronger transfer pathway from Butte to Chico State.
“The love does not stop there,” Porter said. “Both Linda and David are encouraging all of their students and club members to commit to mentoring new cyber teams in our area and to participate in camps and competitions.”
In addition to participating in its own version of the Mayors Cup competition, the Bay Region holds cyber competitions throughout the school year.
Richard Grotegut, Bay Area ICT-DM Deputy Sector Navigator, commended the coaches and staff from throughout the region for making the Mayors Cup competition possible.
“Irvin Lemus and his team of college students developed the competition and ran it like a smoothly running machine. Denise Moss, our Cyber Competition and Cyber Camp director and her team Brianne Kodakari and Jacobs Otto handled all of the logistics,” Grotegut said. “The workforce Administrative Staff at SJCC, under the leadership of Lena Tran, helped to provide a great venue for the competition. And, just as important, the coaches from each team who spend the time supporting their student teams.”
The region will also host 40 cyber camps this summer at 22 venues beginning June 10.
For an interactive discussion on how to promote community college programs through cyber competitions, join the ICT Educator webinar at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 3.