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Seven Tennessee Students Selected for Cyber Security Academy

Thursday, May 27, 2021 | 11:35am

NASHVILLE – Seven of Tennessee’s most promising high school students are included in the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation cyber security competition finalists. They’re among 600 selected as “National Cyber Scholars among 30,000 students from across the nation who sought to qualify for the competition. Strategic Technology Solutions, the state’s central information technology division within the Department of Finance and Administration, partnered with the foundation to promote the competition.

“Tennessee is proud to have seven outstanding students who are among the best in the nation and their ambition and enthusiasm for this field will no doubt continue to put them at the head of any class,” Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley said. “Cyber security jobs are in high demand and the need for more security professionals will only grow in the foreseeable future as we continue to rely on internet-based digital services, commerce and communication.”

The seven Tennessee “National Cyber Scholars” are:

  • Landon Byrge, Cookeville High School, Cookeville
  • Gwendolyn Vongkasemsiri, home schooled 
  • Andrew Allen, John Overton high school, Nashville 
  • Alexus Cox, William Blount High School, Maryville 
  • Addison Goforth, William Blount High School, Maryville 
  • Molly Marantos, William Blount High School, Maryville 
  • James Medders , William Blount High School, Maryville

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

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,” National Cyber Scholarship Foundation Executive Director David Brown said. “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.