CyberPatriot XII Coach and Mentor of the Year

Dr. Brian Kowal | CyberPatriot Coach of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Brian Kowal, the CyberPatriot XII Coach of the Year!  Dr Kowal is the lead CyberPatriot Coach for the Dayton Youth Cyber Club and is also the founder of the CyberPatriot Program at the Dayton Regional STEM School where he served as lead coach for eight years. He has been involved in CyberPatriot from the start, coaching teams for ten years and training over 140 students with five Ohio State Championships. Graduates of his cyber training program include a Naval Academy midshipman who is studying cybersecurity, an NSA intern, and a Collegiate College Defense Competition team captain.​

When asked about his coaching experience, he said, “During my tenure as a CyberPatriot coach, there are often times when very experienced and knowledgeable adult cyber mentors had indicated that they believed they have learned more from the students then they have imparted.

“Upon reflection, this is not unexpected.  Today's students have grown up in the digital age and have been immersed in technology their entire lives. Many of the adults do not have the same experience. Why this is important is that the students' strengths need to be leveraged to optimize the training. Not only do the students in many cases have superior knowledge but are usually better able to communicate with their peer groups. In many cases, the coach's most important job is to channel these natural students' training strengths into an effective training program.  During our recent informal CyberCamp we tasked the senior students to develop the training material… It went remarkably well.  This concept of utilizing the students as an integral part of the training program is probably the most important lesson I could share with other coaches.”

Dr. Kowal decided to get involved in CyberPatriot after receiving a call from his son’s school saying that he was suspended for hacking into the school’s computer system. At that point, he decided to channel this energy towards cybersecurity researching programs until he stumbled across CyberPatriot and started the program. He wanted to make sure that the proper training and ethical standards were a focus of his son’s cyber talents. With proper guidance, Dr. Kowal’s son went on to become the captain of a collegiate cyber defense competition team and is now working as a cybersecurity professional for the financial services industry.

Dr. Kowal has shown a dedication to the promotion of the CyberPatriot program in the Dayton area. His ethical leadership has been inspirational to his team and recruited cyber experts. CyberPatriot is very proud of the work Dr. Kowal demonstrates and the influence he has on his competitors.

James Moore | CyberPatriot mentor of the Year

Congratulations to James Moore, the CyberPatriot XII Mentor of the Year! Mr. Moore took a first-year team from Robertsdale High School (Alabama) to the Platinum tier, the most advanced skill level in the competition. He drives nearly 100 miles round trip, coming from the next state over, to participate in practices and competitions. Outside of CyberPatriot, Mr. Moore actively serves in the Navy as a Cryptologic Technician, teaching computer security to fellow members of the military.

When asked about his time as a mentor, Mr. Moore said, "It was a privilege to watch the team develop a passion for cybersecurity, and I am honored to have been able to provide a helping hand."

William Frank Starr, the coach of the Robertsdale High School team could not be prouder of Mr. Moore as their technical mentor. He stated, "There cannot be another mentor who was driving farther, balancing a demanding military career with a family life, and delivering instruction, mentoring, and oversight to the extent that he did. The results bear out his effectiveness. Finishing with a Platinum rating and in the top 25% of over 6,700 teams nationally surpassed my expectations for our first-year team. His professional, infectious, can-do attitude was critical to our success and reflected great credit upon himself."

Mr. Moore demonstrates what it means to be an exceptional technical mentor, leading our next generation in gaining the critical technical skills our Nation needs in cybersecurity and STEM. His experience in the military has created the perfect teaching and technical experience for a CyberPatriot mentor.  Mr. Moore has been truly influential in the CyberPatriot program and to the students at Robertsdale High School.