AP Computer Science teacher forms cyber security team to compete against other schools


In Mr. Matt Strinden’s eighth period AP Computer Science Principles class, Ifetayo-Michaela Spencer, Shawn Singh, Ashvika Nair and Ryela Gill discuss the ways to solve IP and Internet related problems as part of the assignment. Photo by Sofiia Malushkina.

As a way for students to compete in a nationwide cyber security competition, Air Force Association created CyberPatriot: the National Youth Cyber Education Program for middle and high school students. This is the first year students will have a chance to be part of their own team. 

They will be given certain cyber security tasks to solve along with various practice rounds throughout the course of this school year. The competition rounds are six hour periods that are usually held on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. Once the team of five people come into the room, they have to solve a task within that amount of time. 

Each CyberPatriot team is also able to have mentors from local computer companies. People that work in cyber security will mentor the kids and help them with some of the problems they are going to face throughout the year. As this is Whitney’s first year participating in the program, they will get to work in partnership with Rocklin High School for the first weeks. However, when it comes to the actual CyberPatriot, the teams will be competing against each other.

“Because it’s my first time doing it, I’m looking forward to learning more about how the competition works and what kind of opportunities my students get from being involved in that type of competition. Obviously, because it’s sponsored by the Air Force, they will have access to potential careers in the military to work in cyber security which is a unique experience,” AP Computer Science Principles teacher Mr. Matt Strinden said. “They also will have access to other business professions and be able to put something on their computer science resume that nobody else will. With all the technology around us, working in such a huge industry as cyber security is very beneficial.” 

Students decided whether to participate based on their interests and career plans.

“I decided to sign up for CyberPatriot because I was very interested in expanding my knowledge in cyber security. I expect to learn more about how to work with an actual team, and how it’s going to help us win the competition and accomplish our goals for this year. I’m also excited to compete against other schools with my friends,” Connor McClanahan said.

Along with an opportunity of being involved in CyberPatriot program, Strinden will give students an opportunity to work with computers this year as well. This involves programming, the principles of web design, going over the computer hardware, and practicing for the AP exam.

Ifetayo-Michaela Spencer said, “I’m looking forward to taking AP Computer Science because our teacher, Mr. Strinden, is well experienced, especially in the course, and he will be a really great teacher for us this school year. So I’m pretty excited whatever he is going to teach us.”