By Ms Andricka Thomas (CECOM)February 23, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Communications-Electronics Command's Software Engineering Center hosted 12 computer network technology students from Harford Technical High School Feb. 2, as part of the 2012 Federal Chief Information Office Job Shadow Day.
The event was in conjunction with the Department of Defense Shadow Day initiative that runs Feb. 1 to June 15.
The Federal CIO Council searched for six federal locations in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area to participate in the program. This is the second year the council has sponsored Groundhog
Job Shadow Day. The council encourages federal IT professionals to use job shadowing and internships as an opportunity to promote IT careers within the government.
"We were excited to get involved with this initiative," said Kimberly Hoyle, SEC employee development and education outreach program manager. "Cyber security and IT is such a large field. We wanted to start building relationships with who we see as the future workforce of SEC."
Hoyle said the Harford Technical High School students caught the attention of SEC for their recent participation in the Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference championship round against seven other teams from around Maryland.
During the championship they competed in a series of fun-filled, real-world cyber security games that put their critical thinking skills to the test.
"While Harford Tech students did not win the competition, the CECOM Software Engineering Center was excited for their success and wanted to find a way to encourage them to continue to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math," Hoyle said.
The students toured five SEC computer laboratories dedicated to disciplines such as information assurance, cyber security and communication network systems at the C4ISR Center of Excellence.
During the job shadow, the students had discussions with SEC professionals about how to pursue an IT career. Most of the students indicated that they wanted to pursue a career in cyber security. The SEC professionals told the students that it is important to stay focused and make good choices because most IT jobs require a security clearance.
Cassandra Tomarchio, a program analyst for CECOM SEC, said that the event was designed to show students how software engineering applies to the Army.
"The Army deemed the Network as its top priority," she said. "Battles are being fought and won with the information technology capabilities available to the Soldier on the battlefield. We wanted
to expose students to the variety of ways they can apply their cyber-skills.
"Now students know they have the option to serve their country in uniform or as an Army civilian," said Tomarchio.
Students who attended the event said that it was exciting to apply what they learned in the classroom to real world situations.
"Today was a great opportunity to see what we have to do to get the job that we want," said student Jared Booz.
"I liked seeing all the equipment that they use, most of it was new to me," said sophomore Teddy Coates. "They did a good job explaining it all to us."