Raising the bar for STEM education comes through practice, competition and a culture shift to help prepare the next generation of defense leaders. It’s less about how many hours of STEM courses or what is the right age to engage kids in STEM and more of a focus on how to create access to opportunities in a way that they can connect with for the long term.
“As soon as they start using the technology, they should be introduced to cyber concepts—phishing, malware,” said Capt. Justin Smith, USAF, cyber warfare planner, 315th Cyberspace Operations Squadron. “That can be done at a low level and that will embed in their minds that these are things they need to be cognizant of. It can be a little dry when teaching networking fundamentals, operating systems security foundations, so what we try to do is mix that up. Teach a little, but give them a virtualized environment they can operate on while doing the lesson so they’re getting hands-on experience.”