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Forbes Road students take cybersecurity presentation to national business competition | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


This time last year, Forbes Road Career & Technology Center teacher George Karnbauer was keeping an eye on three of his students as they gave a cybersecurity presentation, making sure to jump in if he felt like something needed clarified or explained.

Last month, Karnbauer sat in the audience as those three students — third-year seniors Matthew Goss, Larson Blum and Aiden Gerhart — kept an eye on a new group of students giving the presentation for seniors at Juniper Village in Monroeville.

“The boys were taking my role, which is just fabulous,” Karnbauer said.

The group has brought the cybersecurity presentation, one of a variety of community service options available to Forbes Road students, to seniors, children, PTAs and other groups frequently targeted by scammers. And now that the presentation earned them a third-place finish in the Future Business Leaders of America statewide competition, they will bring it to the national competition in Orlando at the end of June.

“We’re all really excited because not many people from Forbes have competed in nationals,” said Goss, who lives in Monroeville. “For nationals, we present the project and show how we’ve used it to help the community.”

The group has started a GoFundMe, collecting donations to help offset the cost of the trip.

“They’re seniors, so it’s kind of their last hurrah for high school,” Karnbauer said.

Group members Larson Blum of North Versailles and Aiden Gerhart of Monroeville also teach digital literacy at Homestead nonprofit Computer Reach.

“Different nonprofits around Pittsburgh will send people to a training session,” Karnbauer said. “One of our students taught a group of men who’d been in prison long enough that computers have sort of passed them by. The skills that they’ve learned a part of their community service helped when they got up there in an actual classroom. So not only has the community benefited, but these boys have grown up and are becoming part of it.”

Karnbauer’s “Tech Caregivers” community service program is entering its second generation.

“If they pass the certification, they start going out into the community with us, and if they stay with it, we have T-shirts now that group members get.”

Even though he’ll be leaving the program once he graduates, Goss is excited for its future.

“The Juniper Village presentation was given almost entirely by the new team,” he said. “And nationals is going to be an amazing opportunity not just for our resumes, but also to showcase volunteering and how important cybersecurity is.”

Visit GoFundMe.com to donate to the group’s trip — search “Help PA Students Reach National Competition in Orlando” in the search box.

The Future Business Leaders of America’s National Leadership Conference is June 29-July 2 in Orlando.

Patrick Varine is a TribLive reporter covering Delmont, Export and Murrysville. He is a Western Pennsylvania native and joined the Trib in 2010 after working as a reporter and editor with the former Dover Post Co. in Delaware. He can be reached at [email protected].

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