Efforts to engage Rhode Island's business community in a high school cybersecurity skills challenge resulted in special prizes for the top three finishers in the third statewide contest. Adam Sowden, a junior from Exeter West Greenwich High School, earned the top spot in the Rhode Island Cyber Foundations Competition for the second consecutive year and was presented with a $1,500 check from McCabe Software, a Cranston computer company, as well as a $2,000 scholarship offer from New England Institute of Technology.
Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) joined Jon Palmisano from McCabe and New England Tech's Erin Flynn, who coordinates the competition, at the school for the announcement. McCabe donated a total of $3,000 to support the contest through cash awards and covering participation costs of five schools, including Exeter West Greenwich and Chariho Career and Technical Center.
Langevin, Palmisano and Flynn visited East Greenwich High School later this afternoon to recognize the second place winner, freshman Xiaoyi (Julian) Wu, and will be at Chariho Career and Technical Center on Friday to recognize the third place winner, sophomore Joseph Caruso. The second and third place finishers each won $500 from McCabe and will receive scholarship offers of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively from New England Tech.
"I congratulate Adam, Julian and Joseph on their outstanding performances," said Langevin. "With tremendous leadership from Erin and New England Tech, this program is introducing students to an industry that is poised for tremendous growth and new job opportunities in our state. You can't have effective workforce development, however, unless the business community is fully engaged, so I'm especially excited about the commitment from McCabe Software to giving high schoolers across the state the opportunity to learn about cybersecurity."
Langevin brought together local education and technology organizations to start the competition as part of his effort to build an industry that can create jobs and maintain our security against dangerous cyberspace threats. He is speak to students at each school about the importance of the cybersecurity field as well as the opportunities for young people with computer skills to be a great asset to our national security.
"We were pleased to join Congressman Langevin, New England Institute of Technology, and others in the Rhode Island business community to encourage the students to pursue a career in an industry that, while in its infancy, will be essential to national security as well as our economy for the foreseeable future," said David Belhumeur, CEO of McCabe Software. "McCabe Software's technology addresses cybersecurity at the source code level, enabling software engineers to understand interactions and verify vulnerable paths throughout a codebase. This is crucial when determining exploitability, modeling attack space, and performing vulnerability analysis."
More than 100 students, from eight schools, participated in Rhode Island's third edition of the contest. They competed in timed quizzes to test their aptitude in the three most important foundational skills of effective cybersecurity: networking, operating systems, and system administration. Last spring Langevin called for more Rhode Island business participation in the competition, saying "it is imperative that we increase their involvement."