TechTeen Minute Feature: Miriam

Regardless of which particular juncture or phase of livelihood you may currently find yourself in, recognizing and celebrating success significantly gives you a boost of positive enthusiasm. A single accomplishment can certainly lead you down a road of innumerable amounts of even larger accomplishments and opportunities.

As a result of such a phenomenal opportunity, what can you remark has been your most optimal accomplishment? Could it possibly be evolved around the technology world? Perhaps involving women? Most accomplishments are remembered with memory or recognized verbally, while others are recognized with a certificate or award.

Recently student agent Miriam, accomplished two of the following awards within the past few months. She first received the 2020 National Honorable Mention Award from NCWIT (National Center for Women and Information Technology). Secondly, as the leader, Miriam and her teammates placed 2nd in the Nevada for Girls Go Cyberstart. Both competitions involved cybersecurity which aimed for young women.

NCWIT’s Awards for Aspirations in Computing (AiC) awards those self identify as women, gender queer, or non-binary and have computer-related achievements and interests. NCWIT allows the applicant to fill out an application through the AiC within two months. The application itself can also be filled out two hours prior to the event, but applicants should be aware of the detailed events from past years.

For example, Miriam was asked how she became involved in technology. Here she had to retell in detail to everyone, how she was inspired by her mother to take IT classes during her first year of high school. She has continued that specific pathway till this day as she currently works at Nevada Help Desk. Not only does she accept support tickets, she has also earned her certification in Google Analytics. Prior to these applauded accomplishments, Miriam has participated in various competitions.

Specifically, Miriam took part in the Girls Go Cyberstart competition along with three other team members. Girls Go Cyberstart is delineated as an online training game and competition with numerous stages. Inclusively, the three organized stages are Assess, Game and Compete. In totality, stages last for about a six month period, which include both preparation and the competition per se.

Each stage was maintained open for different periods of time. Firstly, the CyberStart Assess stage was open from January 13, 2020 to February 14, 2020. Secondly, the CyberStart Game stage was open from February 10, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Lastly, the CyberStart Compete stage was open from May 20, 2020 to May 21, 2020. Meanwhile the actual competition lasted for two days in a row.

The Assess stage gives the user a series of puzzles to solve as a demonstration of what is to come in the other stages. This provides members a clear understanding of what the young woman should have in mind in order to prepare prior the competition. Constant practice and preparation ensured the team’s success during the lengthy competition.

The Game stage trains the user by accompanying each partaker with complex puzzles, tutorials, along with lessons on how to code in Python. Python is known as a high-level, general-purpose programming language. In addition, the Game stage also teaches users Linux commands, Wireshark, basics of stenography and other cybersecurity topics.

The Compete stage is where a CTF (Capture The Flag) competition takes place. This is a competition between security professionals and students learning about cyber security. Here, four young women from the same school form a team in order to compete against other schools nationally. Typical team member would meet in public for the competition but for the sake of their safety, everyone met virtually.

During this time, the group is give a set of problems with varying levels of difficulty and point value. Whomever has the highest score will place themselves at the top of the leader board. Individually each teammate works on different puzzles associated with tops such as web, cryptography and stenography.

Miriam prepared beforehand by participating in online tutorials, alternative competitions, as well as studying plentiful informational text. Teammates virtually gathered up with each other to ensure everyone’s safety during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. By doing so, each participant was able to fully engage during their pathways towards competition.

Participating in Girls Go CyberStart led to monetary rewards for Miriam and her companions. Miriam’s team was awarded 400 USD. While each member individually received 75 USD, 100 USD were awarded to their school. The monetary efforts were shared to the after school club, in order to encourage the women to continue their studies in WiST (Women in Science and Technology). The entirety of the crew also take part in a so named club.

Miriam’s generosity led her to share her prize money along with some savings. By doing so, she was able to gift each teammate a Raspberry Pi 4. Said gift is smaller and a much more affordable device that enhances learning in Linux commands. Along with having various coding languages, a Raspberry Pi. 4 was in fact a perfect gift for her multitude of a crew. This was the main reason as to why she preferred this kind of gift.

While she considered gifting her teammates with a book, she preferred her fellow players to experience hands-on learning instead. The moment she chose such a gift, she knew the crew could further their knowledge since they were all beginners in that aspect. By having a Raspberry Pi 4 at hand, the team will be more than prepared before participating in the CyberPatriot sometime soon.

Miriam felt happy and satisfied with the placement she held. The effort she placed into assisting her teammates and the effort she also put into managing her school work while the Game stage was taking place, has led her to have more than just a gracious learning experience. This was time well spent in her eyes and believes her time did not go waste in any way. In the future she hopes to be even more prepared for the next competition and place higher in the leader board.

Towards the final stages of the competition, Miriam felt a sort of frustration as she believed she could have possibly done more in order to be in first place. Soon after that short period of frustration because motivation and excitement for years to come. She is currently at the beginning stage of planning and preparing for the next competition in CyberPatriot. She has begun brainstorming on the new topics in cybersecurity she wants to further explore.

Apart from preparing to supply future virtual classes at Wendell Williams Elementary school for the last two weeks of July, on a daily basis. Amani recently received his HTML certification through Nevada Help Desk. With the help of his knowledge and certification skills, he will be able to extend his wisdom to a younger generation of alumni.

Student attendees virtually traveled from sites such as London, D.C., Maryland and Las Vegas. An outstanding amount commences as early as the age of seven years old. In theory, younger gamers already carry a basic knowledge of video games on their backs, so the group will be furthering their skills with the aid of these training sessions. What may be foriegn to a handful is indeed very well known by other student attendees.

Multiple adult mentors tuned in from Africa and London to virtually observe Amani’s crash course guided presentation. The entirety of the group was immensely impressed by the way Amani articulated his informative lecture. Students were able to grasp onto the concept with great ease.

Amani initiated his presentation by introducing various game engine applications to student attendees, in which were used to build their own games from scratch and create animated objects. Here the young gamers have the freedom of creating their own virtual world with varied amounts of characters and building sites.

Amani teaching students during the 2020 International Coding Camp