City of Cyber Angels

Although AFA’s CyberPatriot program now reaches all 50 states, its partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District is unlike anything else in the nation, said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot commissioner. Skoch moderated a panel highlighting this cooperation during AFA’s Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles on Nov. 21. LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell program has some 350 students involved in cybersecurity activities with CyberPatriot support, said Alvaro Cortes, superintendent of LAUSD’s Extended Day programs. LAUSD’s Jose Gonzalez, a coach of these students, said the district has essentially doubled the number of participants in each of the past few years, and is now supporting middle school cybersecurity activities in addition to the high school level. Many of these students go on to compete on cybersecurity teams at college, said Gonzalez. Erika Aguiluz, an LAUSD high school junior, and Jose Rojas, a senior, said they were very thankful for CyberPatriot because it helped them to realize what they want to pursue as a career: computer science. “It’s an amazing thing to watch” students involved in CyberPatriot, said Skoch. Just prior to the panel, AFA Board Chairman George Muellner recognized LAUSD for being a CyberPatriot Center of Excellence.