CyberPatriot Having Big Impact on STEM Education and Career Choices, Data Shows

Jul 30, 2014, 07:00 ET from Air Force Association

ARLINGTON, Va., July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Air Force Association's CyberPatriot Program Office released today results of its first comprehensive survey assessing current education and career pursuits of past participants of AFA's CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program.   Graduates of the program who have now entered higher education and the workforce were surveyed to determine whether they are now in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) higher education programs or, if already in the workforce, if CyberPatriot had led them to STEM career paths.

The poll determined there is a strong correlation between CyberPatriot competition experience and participant involvement in further STEM education and occupations.

Ninety-five percent of currently enrolled respondents indicated their intention to pursue a 4-year higher education program (94 percent) or a 2-year higher education program (1 percent) after receiving their high school diploma. By comparison, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 65.9 percent of American students who graduated high school in 2013 entered college. 

Additionally, 80 percent of the respondents indicated they will pursue a 2-year or 4-year education program plan to study cybersecurity, computer science, or another STEM field, whereas the national average is only 13 percent. 

Survey results also revealed that a full 86 percent of the 254 survey respondents indicated that their participation in CyberPatriot somewhat or significantly impacted their career and educational goals.

Of the survey's 254 respondents, 159 have already obtained their high school diploma, GED, or equivalent home school education.  Reflecting the goals of those 95 survey respondents not yet graduated from high school, 90 percent are currently pursuing higher education degrees and are doing so in a STEM field.

"This data is a remarkable validation that the wonderful partnership of government, educational institutions, and the private sector is producing the desired effect," said Bernie Skoch, AFA's National Commissioner of CyberPatriot.  "The fact that 94 percent of our participants say they are going on to higher education is profound.  And we are thrilled that 80 percent of our graduates are going on to STEM studies and careers.  CyberPatriot is working; it is drawing students to STEM education and careers.  We are grateful to our generous sponsors who are making this program possible."

Notably, of the 254 respondents, 173 participated in more than one season of CyberPatriot with 29 percent indicating they will also compete in CyberPatriot VII. 

The CyberPatriot program began in 2009 with a proof of concept competition among seven high school Air Force JROTC teams and one Civil Air Patrol team. In 2014, CyberPatriot registered 1536 teams, awarded its fifth Center of Excellence, and continues to gain support from both existing and new program sponsors.

To learn more about CyberPatriot, visit

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SOURCE Air Force Association