Community Initiative Creates Tech Opportunities for Youth
Interested in finding a great opportunity for talented young folks in your community to compete against others to gain experience and enthusiasm in tech careers? Westminster, MD and Wilson, NC have found a unique and exciting way to engage young men and women from their communities.
On a cold day in November 2017, more than 110 high school and college students made their way to the competition sites – 5 locations in Maryland and one in Wilson, North Carolina. Excited and focused, the young folks were ready for a day of cybersecurity sleuthing. Teams of two, three, or four sat together to work through a series of challenges, requiring the competitors to crack codes and solve cybersecurity dilemmas.
They were participating in “Capture the Flag”, the brainchild of MAGIC, the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, Inc. MAGIC was established to create a space for tech innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive. According to Robert Wack, Westminster MD’s City Council President and MAGIC’s Board President, “We’re giving these kids beginner-level training in cybersecurity and raising the profile of Westminster as a tech leader.”
As an observer in the room, it was a joy to hear the buzz, to watch the participants lean in, strategize, hypothesize, and to celebrate when they found a solution. After a quick glance at the leaderboard, they were on to the next challenge.
At the end of the session, it was the Green Team that won in Maryland – Daniel Cleaver, Jonathan Woodward, and Joshua Woodward, and Wilson had two winning teams – Part Time Gig (David Auge, Joshua Canady, and Jordan Paldino) and Nyan Cat (Jarred Desrosiers and Noelle Vollaro).
Amy Rupp, MAGIC’s Executive Director, says that plans are in place to increase participation across the country. She is looking for additional satellite locations to participate in the next competition that will take place on April 21, 2018. If you are interested in learning more, contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deb Socia is the Executive Director of Next Century Cities.