‘Hackathon’ challenges teens to improve cyber security

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The future of cyber security could be in the hands of Miami Valley teenagers. Tuesday, students from high schools around the region began a 17 week coding challenge called The Miami Valley Teen Hackathon.

The teams are tasked with brainstorming and implementing creative solutions to home cyber security. The goal is to make a modern home smarter or more secure by designing an application, virtual reality program or robotic device.

At a kick-off event at Sinclair Community College, local politicians, professors and other guest speakers talked about the burgeoning tech industry and the progression of so-called “hackers.”

A representative from the contest sponsor AT&T emphasized the importance of building tech skills to bolster a future workforce.

Sinclair professor and Hackathon co-chair Dr. Mike Libassi agreed.

“When they’re working together as a team, those are the same skill sets that app development teams or coders use in the real world; how to have a design and make it come to life,” Dr. Libassi said.

Some students said they recognized the competition as an opportunity to explore a future career in a growing industry.

“I think we’re in an age where the I.T. field is going to explode for a long time because of the bursts of new technology developing at a faster and faster pace,” said Kettering Fairmont High School junior Gregory Plante.

The teams will present their final projects to a panel of judges on January 31st. Top winners receive a prize from Sinclair Community College and AT&T.

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