After making it through the first two rounds of competition, the St. Edmond CyberPatriot team now has a chance at competing in the national finals within its reach.
The team participated in the first round of the international competition, which is designed to teach students how to identify malicious software and threats on a computer on Nov. 14. The team then qualified for the second round of competition, which was held Dec. 11. Following that competition, the team qualified for the third round, which took place on Saturday.
Starting with 180 teams around the nation, St. Edmond was one of just 51 remaining teams taking part in Saturday's six-hour-long third round of competition. By Wednesday, team members will know if they are one of just 12 teams nationwide that will qualify for the national finals competition April 1 and 2 in National Harbor, Md.
"They're in the national playing field now," said the team's mentor, Tyler VanHouten. "I think the kids are pleased with that. I know they had hoped they'd make it this far, but weren't sure if they'd get here."
The competition has changed a little in each round, with the team working together using one computer in the first round, two computers in the second round, and each of the three members - Kelsey Faiferlick, Thomas Woodruff and Jordan Slotten - using a separate computer in the third round. In this round the computer system they worked with also changed from a PC to the Linux computer.
"It's a lot different than the Microsoft computer," said Travis Patterson, the group's coach. "This gives them hands-on experience with other programs."
St. Edmond was one of 650 schools nationwide that started in the competition this school year, and were the first and only team from Iowa. CyberPatriot was designed two years ago for select groups of high school students to introduce them to careers in the cybersecurity field and was opened to all high school students this year.
Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org