‘Digital Defenders Of Tomorrow’ ASU Hosts Annual Youth Cybersecurity Workshop


SAN ANGELO, TX — On April 4, over 130 students from San Angelo ISD delved into the world of cybersecurity at Angelo State University’s Third Annual Youth Cybersecurity Workshop & Expo. 

Held at ASU’s University Center, the event aimed to spark interest in STEM fields and expose young learners to potential careers in cybersecurity.

STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

According to San Angelo ISD, the workshop connected students from 12 elementary schools and three middle schools with industry leaders, providing hands-on experience in cybersecurity through interactive sessions. 

Highlights included a Virtual Escape Room, Cyber Range, and a Continuous Threat Detection Demo. Additionally, elementary students engaged in CyberThreat Protector Skills Expo, where they applied cybersecurity concepts in a competitive card game.

“I am in awe of the students’ ability to learn these concepts so quickly,” said Dr. Scarlet Clouse, Dean of College Education at Angelo State University. “It’s neat to talk to the students before the event. They are usually pretty nervous and reluctant, especially the fifth graders. By the end of the day, they can’t contain their new-found knowledge and excitement!”

The day also featured remarks from Mayor Gunter and ASU President Dr. Ronnie Hawkins, emphasizing the crucial role of cybersecurity in safeguarding community resources. 

“I want to thank each of you for being here today. Whether you’re a student, a teacher, an educator or a parent, your being here today and being a part of this helps me because you know how important cybersecurity is,” said Mayor Gunter. “As Mayor, cybersecurity is of utmost importance ... We, as a city, are responsible for the security and safety of our citizens. If we’re not aware of a cybersecurity attack that can happen to the city, we can’t protect your water resources, your public safety and many other issues … We can’t afford cybersecurity attacks. We can’t afford for our citizens to be threatened.

“What’s most important is that you, at the ages that you are, are more knowledgeable, more informed, and more talented at STEM and at cybersecurity than any of us were,” said Mayor Gunter. “We didn’t know the word when I was in high school. We didn’t know the word when I was in college. And most of my life and my career, we never ever said the word ‘cybersecurity.’ You know more. You’re more experienced than I ever was growing up today. And it takes your passion, your talent to ensure the future of the City of San Angelo, so thank you so much for being here today and doing what you do.”     

New to the event this year was the presentation of scholarships. ASU awarded seven high school students each with a $1,000 CyberPatriot scholarship to be used at ASU. Congratulations to Lindsay Leyba, CHS; Myshae Allen, CHS; Roman Torres, CHS; Faith Franz, CHS; Sebastian Gonzalez, CHS; Jesse Haynes, LVHS; and Rylie Janow, LVHS.   

Contributing to the workshops were various organizations and businesses, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

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