Aberdeen Junior ROTC Students Spend Their Summer In ‘Cyber Academy’

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ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI)- Two Aberdeen High School students spent a big part of their summer in front of computers, learning about cybersecurity.

The pair were the only Air Force Junior ROTC students in the state chosen for the new program.

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Makayla Davis and Joy Adair were looking at a wind machine their Junior ROTC instructor has just put in the classroom.

Davis will be a junior, Adair a senior and both have been known for their eagerness to learn and do more than what is expected. That is one reason they were chosen for a pilot program called “Cyber Academy,” where they learned about cracking computer codes, how to catch hackers and other topics.

“It was an eight week course, it basically amounted to an entry level college, computer science program, students earned three semesters of college credit for the eight week program,” said Instructor Allen Williams.

He said Aberdeen’s program is one of 30 Junior ROTC programs nationwide chosen for the program.

Initial plans called for ‘Cyber Academy’ to be held at Mississippi State. Students were to spend seven weeks on campus, and then travel to Keesler Air Force Base, to visit the “Cyber Schoolhouse” But Covid 19 changed those plans, making it a virtual academy.

“It’s really to these students and organizers credit, there’s any number of other summer programs, that ended up being cancelled, and not only did this program not get cancelled, these students went on and did a good job of fighting their way through, in really trying times,” said Williams.

Davis and Adair took the classes from their homes, five days a week. Both cadets say they learned a lot and are confident their experience will help them in the future.

“I knew it was very disciplined, you get really good life skills, it just makes you different from every other student that just simply goes to school,” said Davis.

“It will help me get into college easier, and this can be another field if pre med field doesn’t work out, I can fall back on this to help me get a job somewhere, it’s something good to have,” said Adair.

Future plans for the program call for partnerships with local industries so cadets can get internships and see how the skills they learn are put to use in the real world.

An advanced ‘Cyber Academy’ will be offered next year, and both cadets plan to apply for that course.