Army 780th MIB Host STEM, Cyber Event For Teens
U.S. Army soldiers and civilians representing the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber) partnered with Anne Arundel County Public Library to host a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and cybersecurity event for teens in 2022 on September 28 and October 25 at the Odenton Library.
This was the fifth Hackathon event the brigade and library have collaborated on, and this year’s event included a Capture-the-Flag (CTF) competition, as well as a Password Cracking, OSINT (open-source intelligence) Tools, and Basic Development / Python and Linux Scripting stations.
“Anne Arundel County Public Library is excited to partner with Fort Meade’s military cyber brigade in order to support the STEM interests of our teen customers. It has been wonderful to see how this program, and ones like it, are able to introduce our community to new opportunities and pathways in the STEM and cybersecurity fields,” said Johanna Doty, Librarian I, Odenton Library.
Events like these are not recruiting events, but opportunities for the Soldiers and Civilians to give back to the communities they are a part of and impart their passion for their life interests and Army occupations as cybersecurity operations specialists for the U.S. Army and the U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber National Mission Force.
“It is important to educate the future and the best way to do that is starting in the community,” said 2nd Lt. James Harris, a cybersecurity operations officer, and the event officer-in-charge (OIC). “I took this opportunity to volunteer to set that example and get kids excited about cyber security.”
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and according to Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), This year’s campaign theme is “See Yourself in Cyber.”
According to the CISA Cyber Cybersecurity Awareness Program website “This October will focus on the “people” part of cybersecurity, providing information and resources to help educate CISA partners and the public, and ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether on the job, at home or at school – now and in the future.”
Whether or not the teens who participated in this STEM event join the Army or another branch of military or government service, get a cybersecurity job in the private sector, or choose another career path, events such as these benefit the country through cybersecurity awareness.
“A common problem in Cybersecurity is awareness. It’s not that people consciously make unsecure decisions, but rather that they didn’t realize a decision was being made in the first place,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Constable, a cyberspace operations officer, and lead programmer for the Hackathon II stations. “Events like this help educate people on what’s out there, and how online habits they take for granted can leave them vulnerable. I’d love to say we’re raising the next generation of cybersecurity vanguards; however, if all we do is make people think twice before clicking on a link, it will have been a success.”
“I feel the public doesn’t have complete knowledge of good security practices, especially with the rise of social media,” added Sgt. Ananya Kudugi, a cybersecurity operations noncommissioned officer (NCO) and event NCOIC. “Holding events like this is a good way to teach kids to be safe online, and I feel glad that I was able to play a part in this learning process. I really enjoy being a mentor, and this reassures me that I am teaching students how to protect themselves, and hopefully they spread the word to their friends, and create a safer community for all of us.”
Soldiers and Army Civilians looking for other volunteer opportunities should register on the Department of Defense Volunteer Management Information System (VMIS) dashboard. The VMIS dashboard lists volunteer opportunities by organization and location.