Sophomore hones computer skills through JROTC

Nikhol Moneyheffer class of ‘21 at Riverview High school is on her way to winning the next computer software competition. With her skill in alphanumeric codes to her knowledge in AP World History, she's on her way to an Ivy League school.

She competes in a series of codes to win the competition with her team. In her position, she works in Windows 10. Two teams compete at a time--her own and the opposing team. While they both have the same challenges, they may solve them differently or at separate times.

The teams each have two already-designed computers. One is for research and the other is the competition computer.

The competition computer is loaded with a software program called Virtual Machine.

“Another piece of the puzzle is that the competition includes different computer operating systems-- Windows, Ubuntu and Linux. That is the reason they have a dedicated research computer," said Sgt. Major Roger Mitchell, JROTC instructor.

The day before the competition starts, the team will receive an email that has a web link and several alphanumeric codes.

The team goes to that web link and downloads the competition image into the Virtual Machine software. Using one of the alphanumeric codes, they unzip and open the image.

“Cadets with a certain level of skill and computer aptitude can receive a cybersecurity job right out of high school. Cadet Moneyheffer is doing well but still at an intermediate level. We expect great things from her,” Mitchell said.

Each team has six hours to complete the competition from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. During the six hours, each team makes software changes to the competition image that are designed to close all possible entry by dangerous software systems.

The first cyberpatriot competition was when the US Air Force opened and ran the event. The winning team was from Texas, and all of the members from that team were offered a part-time position. Those were the only high school students who had a part-time job that required a top-secret clearance.

When Nikhol is not with the team, she is a regular high school student. She has no job during the school year but works a job over the summer. She enjoys playing and listening to music. Her interest in computers is just that she would like to know more about them. She also plans to go to a 4-year university, most likely an Ivy League school.

She said her step-dad is a major supporter in her passion for the Cyberpatriots, and he also drives her to every meet and practice whenever one comes up.

“Our team leader inspired me. She does a great job making the environment friendly but serious during competitions,” Moneyheffer said.

The sophomore hopes to be doing great things and having many accomplishments throughout her high school career to steer her toward a career in science or medicine. With the loving support of her school, family, friends, and team members she will have all the love and support she needs to pursue her career and her life goals.

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