STEM

March 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
This fall, high school students in Georgia will have the opportunity to study the intelligence field, thanks to a course added by the state’s Department of Education. Reportedly the first-of-its-kind in the nation, the class will give students a leg up in pursuing careers in intel, officials say. Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel

Starting this fall, high school students in the state of Georgia will have the unique opportunity to take an elective course in intelligence and national security studies. The class will introduce students to the field of intelligence, the associated activities to gather intelligence, the roles of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), national security, the limits and capabilities of intelligence, careers in the field, and how intelligence plays a role in decision-making.

March 1, 2021
By Brian Holmes and Corri Zoli
Members of the panel discussing diversity in the intelligence community at the Intelligence & National Security Summit describe the challenges they face entering the profession.

For many in the U.S. intelligence community, choosing the profession was neither a career goal nor even a consideration until later in life. Few set out to join the agencies that comprise the community while in high school or college. This pattern—usually based on a knowledge gap—needs to change immediately to meet the United States’ national imperative for a talented and diverse workforce.

May 11, 2020
By Beverly Cooper
Convincing children to focus on education in a quickly created home schooling environment is challenging. But today’s global pandemic also present a unique opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of STEM studies and guide children on a STEM career path. Credit: Shutterstock/Sam Wordley

Regardless of technical expertise, organizational skills or resources, parents around the world are struggling to keep their children engaged as they settle into a routine of home schooling. The conflicting educational requirements, distractions of home life and stressed family dynamics make both teaching and learning a challenge in the stay-at-home world

May 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Schooling at an early age, an appeal to patriotism and a government program that trades tuition support for public sector work may be necessary to produce the skilled cyber professionals so badly needed across the spectrum of technology jobs in the United States. While the current number of cyber workers is woefully insufficient, the demand increases. For government, the cyber threat escalates daily. For industry, cyber applications proliferate constantly.

May 1, 2019
By Janel Nelson
To attract more cybersecurity professionals into the teaching profession, school systems must change their qualifications requirements and revise recertification timelines. Credit: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Recruiting and maintaining a cybersecurity workforce is a complicated challenge for the government. According to the Information System Security Certification Consortium, 85 percent of cybersecurity professionals would consider leaving their current jobs. Information technologists do not need to search for positions that are exciting, respect their expertise, help them become more marketable and pay well because as many as 18 percent of non-active job seekers are contacted daily by employers seeking them out.

February 23, 2017
By Monique Attar
Women share stories of hurdles and triumphs at the Women in Cyber panel at West 2017. Photo by Mike Carpenter

The energy in the room was palpable and sporadic buzzing and murmurs were heard as a panel of successful women in the cyber world on Wednesday shared tales of their challenges, opportunities, educational paths and hopes for improving the environment for future generations, seeking to make a difference. 

February 14, 2017
By Tony Ferguson
Florida-based students participated in the third annual CyberThon challenge in January.

The third annual CyberThon event, held at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, provided hands-on cybersecurity defense training to students of many ages who worked to defeat simulated cybersecurity threats to an online banking network.

More than 140 Florida-based students from dozens of schools across the northwest participated in CyberThon 2017, a challenge event hosted by AFCEA’s Pensacola “Blue Angels” Chapter. After two days of spirited competition, teams from the University of West Florida (UWF) and J.M. Tate High School took first place in the college and high school divisions, respectively.

June 7, 2016
By Julianne Simpson
Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, commander, U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, always knew a career in STEM was meant for her.

It is said that leaders aren’t born, they’re made—and Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski embodies the notion. Motivated early on by her strong and determined mother, and then tested in her pursuit to prevail at a male-dominated career in a male-dominated world, she inspires today’s young women seeking to become the next generation of scientists, technology experts, engineers and mathematicians. SIGNAL Media and AFCEA International’s Women in AFCEA address the issue in a multi-month project to highlight women in STEM. 

May 31, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Former Lockheed Martin executive Linda Gooden has a passion for education, technology and, well, fast cars—such as her current Cadillac CTS-V with 640 horsepower that can go 200 mph.

The foundation to build the next generation of scientists, technology experts, engineers and mathematicians must be set in elementary school, particularly if the nation is going to include women in its pool of qualified STEM candidates. The United States trails other industrialized nations in education, particularly in math and science. One set of results ranked the United States 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science. SIGNAL Media and AFCEA International’s Women in AFCEA address the issue in a multi-month project to highlight women in STEM.

May 10, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

SIGNAL Media today launches a multi-month project to highlight women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, most commonly referred to as STEM.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 1984, women earned 37 percent of college degrees in STEM fields. Fast-forward 26 years, the number had dropped to just 12 percent. SIGNAL and AFCEA International’s Women in AFCEA seek to learn why. 

June 8, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The world needs at least 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals who do not exist—a labor shortage created by the increase in frequency and severity of cyber attacks and employers all fishing from the same pond, said Michael Cameron, vice president for business development, cyber and cybersecurity at Leidos, at the NITEC 2016 cyber conference.

Solutions exist to help bridge the gap, including a detailed effort developed by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies, a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

March 5, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. military Information Assurance runs proxies to protect Joint Task Force Guantanamo servers from malicious websites.

Recruiting for a qualified military and civilian workforce for the U.S. Defense Department's cybersecurity mission has proven successful so far, but retaining the force remains to be seen, cyber commanders told Congress during a hearing.

February 5, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
The Defense Department is looking to do stretch its resources with programs such as Better Buying Power 3.0.

Dwindling coffers spawned by more than a decade of wars, among other reasons, have contributed to the U.S. Defense Department’s downward slant toward losing its technological superiority over other nations—and more importantly, over its adversaries. Government, academia and industry all are struggling to find, train and retain the best and the brightest of engineers, scientists and mathematicians, compounding an already difficult challenge, said Katrina McFarland, assistant defense secretary for acquisition.

November 20, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
McKinley Middle School students design and build the model car they will race in the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge on November 22 at Albuquerque’s Highland High School.

Get your motors running …

Students from 27 middle schools across New Mexico—some who might aspire to be automotive engineers—will vie this Saturday in Albuquerque in a race, a design competition and an optional oral presentation. The New Mexico Electric Car Challenge will pit 46 teams against each other as students use science and math concepts in creative ways to create the winning design.

April 1, 2014
By Sandra Jontz

High school students from six schools across the nation will split $50,000 in scholarships after competing in the CyberPatriot VI competition, a culminating tournament in which participants tested strategies to defend computers and networks against cyber attacks. CyberPatriot kicked off in November, with roughly 1,600 students from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, and Defense Departments Dependents Schools in Europe and the Pacific vying for a chance to prove their concepts the best at the National Finals Competition, which wrapped up March 29, 2014.

The 2014 winning teams are:

Open Division:

September 28, 2012
Rita Boland

For the September issue of SIGNAL, I wrote an article about a new effort at AFCEA designed to spur innovation and rapid acquisition in defense technology. Dubbed PlugFests, the events are managed by the Rapid Integration Innovation Process (RI2P) special interest group, which is dedicated to showing the value of such events to government and industry.

August 18, 2010
By Rachel Eisenhower
Apply Now for CyberPatriot III

Apply Now for CyberPatriot III

The Air Force Association (AFA) is now collecting applications for CyberPatriot III-a nationwide competition that aims to educate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to foster the next generation of national security professionals in the United States.