Department of Mathematics & Statistics

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Center for Cyberspace Research Partners with Dayton’s Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics School for Power Lunch Series
Posted: 05/09/2011 by AFIT Public Affairs

By:  Carrie Solberg, Marketing Specialist Air, Force Institute of Technology Center for Cyberspace Research

Planting the seed of interest, for cyberspace technologies, into the minds of future generations was the goal during the Power Lunch presentation by Mr. Juan Lopez Jr., Research Engineer for the Center for Cyberspace Research (CCR) located at the Air Force Institute of Technology on April 15, 2011.

The "Power Lunch" concept, typically associated with corporate or professional business meetings, has been incorporated into the curriculum at the Dayton Regional STEM School for grades seven through twelve.  The two Power Lunches organized during the school year are based on "show and tell" presentations by participating partners in the Dayton area, representing local technology businesses, industry, educational institutions and military agencies.

Mr. Lopez represented CCR and provided a one-hour session to students about cyber threats to power grids and research he has been conducting at the Center for three years. He also advocated for students to pursue careers in cyber security at AFIT in CCR through the civilian CyberCorp Scholarship for Service program that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Laurie McFarlin, director of Network Relationships and Communications for the Dayton Regional STEM School summarized the goal of the program by stating, “The central idea is to help students gain a better understanding of what a career centered on STEM concepts entails, by providing applied context and a sense of the “real-life” experiences associated with various career choices.”

Mr. Lopez tailored his presentation to enhance classroom lessons developed by Mr. Philip Bottelier, Science and Engineering instructor at the STEM School, about Smart Grid technology.  His presentation focused on displaying real-world examples of cyber threats to the power grid using a demonstration device he created. This device illustrates how cyber criminals try to break into Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems in order to damage or shut down a power grid, which could devastate an entire city with power outages for days or even weeks.

"The students were highly engaged and asked many questions that covered a wide range of topics from cyber law to programming languages,” said Mr. Lopez. "The presentation complements what the students are learning in the classroom and provides insight on how a career focused on cyber research contributes to efforts such as the Smart Grid."

Ms. McFarlin expressed her sincere thanks to Mr. Lopez for his participation, “You are a very important link to helping us get them ready for college, a career and life!”

Mr. Juan Lopez, Jr.