Farmington High sophomore Karthikeya Thota and North Farmington junior Jacob Marchionda have qualified as finalists in the National Cyber Scholarship Competition.
At the high school level, the competition focuses on a group of computer security puzzles and challenges that test students’ skills in the areas of password cracking, reverse-engineering, memory corruption, and cryptography called “Capture the Flag” (CTF). Players who solve the challenge receive a flag — a secret string of code they can exchange for points. The more points gained, the higher the competitor moves up in rank.
To be eligible, students had to meet a variety of requirements including achieving a specific level in CyberStart America.
The competition awarded 600 college scholarships to the top-performing students. Prizes include $2,500 college scholarships, access to professional cybersecurity training, and more. On May 18, Marchionda received a $2,500 college scholarship.
“I’m really thrilled about winning a scholarship,” Marchionda said in a district press release. “It gave me an opportunity to use what I’ve learned to compete for a real prize. All around, it was a really fun experience and will help me pay for college. I’m definitely going to compete next year.”
“I am so excited to have earned this achievement and my digital badge to post on my LinkedIn page,” Thota said.