OLLU hosts 'Cyber Boot Camp' for local students

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012

Professor Kevin Barton works with students during a Windows-based workstation exercise. 
Faculty members in the CISS department of Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) are spending the first part of their summer securing the future of our country by educating high school students on cyber security.

OLLU’s CISS (Computer Information Systems and Security) department, 
a designated Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency, is hosting its second annual “OLLUSA Cyber Patriot Boot Camp” for students from Holmes and Southwest High Schools in San Antonio.


CISS began its relationship with Holmes last year when faculty mentored students from the Cyber Patriot Open Division team at the school. At that time, the Holmes students were in need of Linux operating system training, so OLLU organized a weeklong boot camp to prepare them for Cyber Patriot IV. Southwest High School was launching their first Cyber Patriot team and was invited to the 2011 boot camp. Both schools returned this year, with participation growing from 13 students in 2011 to 42 students in 2012.

However, this year, the focus of the boot camp changed. Many of the students who participated last year have graduated, so OLLU adjusted and expanded the content to assist new team members with the full scope of the Cyber Patriot competition. The students hardened multiple operating systems, both Linux and Windows-based workstations and servers.


“OLLU’s Cyber Patriot Boot Camp proved successful in its first year. The two schools that participated had strong showings in the Open Division competition of Cyber Patriot IV,” said Kevin Barton, assistant professor and director of the program at OLLU. “Southwest was one of just 36 Open Division teams nationwide that advanced to the third round – an incredible achievement, especially considering this was its first year of competition. With a strong performance, Holmes narrowly missed advancing to the prestigious third round.”


The Air Force Association created the Cyber Patriot National High School Cyber Defense Competition to inspire high school students toward careers in cyber security or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to the nation’s future. Teams enter the competition with either an “Open Division” or “ROTC” designation.


Capt. Alphanso Adams assists a student with deciphering code during the Cyber Patrol Boot Camp.
Active-duty military members from the 90th Information Operations Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base – all volunteers – will have instructed 48 hours of class when the week is over. They are sharing leading-edge cyber security skills with the fully engaged students. The highschoolers demonstrated their new skills throughout the week in a hands-on virtual environment.


Cyber Patriot V begins at the start of the 2012-2013 school year. OLLU’s School of Business and Leadership also is a sponsor of the Cyber Patriot Mayor’s Cup, which is awarded locally by the Mayor of San Antonio to the San Antonio team with the highest score after the first two rounds of competition.


“This year’s Cyber Patriot Boot Camp is on track to lift the competitiveness of the participants in Cyber Patriot V,” said Barton. “Hopefully, the teams from Holmes and Southwest will advance to the very selective national competition."