AFA’s CyberPatriot National Youth Education Program’s second book teaches students how to navigate cybersecurity in Ben the Cyber Defender. Michael Rau
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Airman For Life

April 25, 2020

CyberPatriot Promotes Cybersecurity for Youth

The Air Force Association is excited to announce the release of the second book in CyberPatriot’s Cyber Education Literature Series—Ben the Cyber Defender. The Cyber Education Literature Series was developed with the goal of introducing cybersecurity awareness to young children in a fun and interactive way. As most schools have recently closed amid the new coronavirus outbreak, finding ways to keep kids engaged and to continue learning while at home can become challenging. 

The book follows Ben, a typical kid with a not-so-typical passion for cybersecurity and helping others. His skills are put to the test when his cousin, Ethan, accidentally releases a virus that is set to ruin devices all over town. Can Ben stop the cyberattack in time and prove that he is ready to be a true cyber defender?

AFA’s CyberPatriot National Youth Education Program’s second book teaches students how to navigate cybersecurity in Ben the Cyber Defender. Michael Rau

In today’s world, it’s important to teach kids about the value of safe engagement in online communities and, more importantly, the risks associated with use of such technology. While limiting screen time and introducing alternative learning resources, kids will surely love following Ben’s adventure as he teaches them vital lessons and precautionary measures for being active online. Ben the Cyber Defender is a great place to start for parents who are unsure about how to address the issue of cyber safety with their kids. 

The book is available for purchase online along with the first book in the Cyber Education Literature Series—Sarah the Cyber Hero.

AFA’s StellarXplorers VI  2020 National Champions

The Air Force Association announced the National Champions of the sixth season of its StellarXplorers National High School Space Challenge. The program is aimed at inspiring students to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields using space system engineering. 

The National Finals Competition had been changed to a virtual event in March due to the COVID-19 virus. However, due to nationwide shelter-in-place restrictions, the StellarXplorers Program Office made the decision to award the top teams from the semifinal round as the overall winners of the competition.

After four rounds of rigorous competition, Team “Rocket Men” of the Bergen County Technical Schools in Teterboro, N.J., were crowned the 2020 National Champions from the original 213 teams from across the nation and at two overseas locations. Team “Rocket Men,” captained by Yoshiki Kakehi, posted the best total, aggregate score by just a small margin.

Second place went to Team “Africanized Killer Bees,” the Aurora Composite Squadron’s Civil Air Patrol team from Portland, Ore.; in third place was the team from the “Fighting Hornets” of the School of Engineering and Bioscience at Pueblo County High School in Colorado.

“AFA is delighted that each year the students competing in StellarXplorers bring excitement and passion to the competition,” said AFA President retired USAF Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright. “With the creation of U.S. Space Force in December 2019, space has been rightly elevated as a key part of our nation’s defense strategy, StellarXplorers is preparing the next generation of space warriors.”

During the competition, the teams were required to define orbits, select spacecraft components, and choose a launch vehicle to meet a set of mission requirements. All competitors exhibited and sharpened their skills in analytics and problem solving, while the eventual winners demonstrated exceptional teamwork and leadership.

“Once again, over the course of another successful season, our competitors have shown they have the ‘right stuff’ to lead the future of U.S. space,” said Stephen Gourley, StellarXplorers program director. “We are exceptionally proud to have inspired and motivated over 3,000 students in the last six seasons to pursue education and careers in many STEM fields, not only in aerospace engineering. Our sincere thanks go to our 2020 enabling sponsors, USAF STEM, the L3Harris Foundation, the Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation, Rocket Lab, and SpaceX, along with our Educational Alliance of Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), Space Center Houston, and Coyote Enterprises Inc. (CEI).”

The USAF STEM Program provided $19,000 in educational grants to each member of the first-place, runner-up, and third-place teams.

Registration will open May 1 for teams of 12- to 18-year-old students for the seventh season (2020-21 academic year), with finals to be held in Colorado Springs, Colo. To learn more about this program, visit