Sandia National Laboratories and UNM’s Anderson School of Management are teaming up to provide a weeklong program designed to teach high school students about cybersecurity and help with the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program from July 13 through July 17.

The program is designed to help students learn about cybersecurity and gain important skills that will not only assist them with the AFA CyberPatriot competition but also provide a foundation in cybersecurity knowledge. Through the help of UNM Anderson, participants will be able to utilize a virtualized lab environment that allows access to specialized software and infrastructure services through a web browser.

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“Collaborating with different organizations to foster the interest of high school students in cybersecurity is one of the goals of UNM’s Center for Information Assurance Research and Education (CIARE),” said Alex Seazzu, CIARE director. “We’ve been fortunate to have a great partner next door in Sandia Labs, and a talented pool of local high school students. 

“The CyberPatriot competition, and training for that event, have been some of the avenues for us and local high schools to nurture students’ interest in cybersecurity. Schools like Albuquerque High and others have taken advantage of these opportunities to leverage the expertise and resources from Sandia and UNM to compete at a national level.”

As part of the program, participants will watch a pre-recorded lesson, do a related lab exercise with UNM Anderson faculty and students, and practice challenges related to that day’s content.

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The event will provide material and lessons suitable for beginners and advanced students, but expects students to have participated in the Cyber Patriot Competition or have some basic knowledge of cybersecurity. Lessons include cryptography, configuring security policies for Windows, learning the basics of scripting, and how to use Linux.

The program will be completely online with daily content posted every morning by 8:30 a.m. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace and should be able to complete one lesson per day.

To participate, students must fill out the registration form and return to no later than June 15. Participants are required to have a computer and internet connection.

For more information on the program, visit the Air Force Association's CyberPatriot Program.