Accolades News

Colby Fujino ʼ23 Shines in National Cyber Scholarship Foundation Competition Earns GFACT Certification

Posted on January 14, 2022 by Holly Iwasaki

Cyberattacks are among the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. Cybercrime Magazine reports that as these attacks increase in size, sophistication, and cost, the need for early cybersecurity education is essential for the safety of our world now and in the future.

Mid-Pacific's Technology and Engineering teacher, Danelle Landgraf, recognizes the importance of equipping the next generation with real-world cybersecurity skills. Landgraf and Director of Education Technology, Brain Grantham, oversee the CyberOwls Club, where Mid-Pacific high schoolers learn about the industry and develop their digital knowledge.

"The CyberOwls team is essential. Cybersecurity affects all of us. Unfortunately, cybercrimes are growing and we need to train young people to help protect our data and make them more aware of what could happen," says Landgraf.

Last March, Landgraf, who also supports the Yearbook class, assisted Colby Fujino ʼ23 on his yearbook pages. She observed that Fujino's skill sets aligned well with cybersecurity.

"Colby is a logical and creative thinker. I thought he would enjoy the problem-solving nature of the CyberStartAmerica competition," says Landgraff.

As a result, she encouraged Fujino to participate in the program that requires high school students to tackle four unique bases, focusing on offensive and defensive cybersecurity disciplines.

Fujino agreed, and with Landgraf's support, he completed course requirements to compete in the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation Competition. Top finishers in the competition are awarded $4 million in scholarships and advanced training. Fujino placed in the top 500 and was offered entry into a Global Information Assurance Foundational Cybsecurities Technologies Institute (GFACT) course to further his knowledge of essential cybersecurity concepts at no cost. This past November, he received his GFACT certification.

"Shout out to Ms. Landgraf for helping me get my certification," says Fujino. "She started me on CyberStart America, supported me through all the competitions, and pushed me towards this certification," shares Fujino.

Looking toward the future, Fujino is interested in pursuing a degree in Cybersecurity or Computer Science. He has the fundamentals required to kickstart a career in either industry with the certification. Fujino is also part of the Mid-Pacific CyberPatriots Club that recently competed in Hawaiʻi's Gold Tier competition, and the Mid-Pacific Boys Sporter Air Riflery team, which took home the ILH Championship and their fourth state title this year.