Gautier teen one of two Mississippians named National Cyber Scholars

Cutout Photo: State Farm / CC BY 2.0
Cutout Photo: State Farm / CC BY 2.0

Two Mississippi high school students — including one from Gautier — have earned the coveted title of “National Cyber Scholar” after winning a rigorous 48-hour competition designed to evaluate aptitude in combating cyber threats.

The winning students are Bridget Foster from Gautier High School in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District and Zachary Chapman, who is homeschooled.

More than 30,000 high school students across the country sought to qualify for this year’s competition, and only 5,000 advanced to the first round. Of those students, 600 nationwide performed well enough to earn the title “National Cyber Scholars.”

These students each won a $2,500 scholarship and an invitation to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy, a multi-week training and certification course.

Cybersecurity is a critical issue facing this country with the potential to impact our nation’s government, defense, communications and financial systems. According to recent studies, in order to properly defend our infrastructure from attack, we need to train more than 3 million cybersecurity professionals. This scholarship and competition are designed to attract and incentivize more students to enter the field.

“This scholarship recognizes high school students who have demonstrated exceptional cybersecurity talent,” noted David Brown, executive director, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. “The NCSF mission is to help close the critical cybersecurity skills gap by identifying and developing the next generation of cyber professionals. Each and every student who participated in this competition has the potential to develop their skills and build a successful career in cybersecurity.”

There are several qualification pathways for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition including CyberStart America, a free online program that helps students discover their interest in cybersecurity and develop their talent and skills. The NCSC offers 600 college scholarships to top-ranking competitors. Additionally, National Cyber Scholars, along with the competition’s 1,000 finalists, are invited to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy.

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