MCISSE CyberPatriot Program

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A CyberPatriot Center of Excellence

The Air Force Association's (AFA) CyberPatriot Program Office has announced the Midwest CISSE Chapter (MCISSE) as a CyberPatriot Center of Excellence.
University of Detroit Mercy, which is the lead institution for the MCISSE coalition, began building Cyber Security awareness across Michigan in 2006.

CyberPatriot, the nation's largest and fastest-growing youth cyber education program.



CyberCamp 2021

Two virtual camps: June 21-25 and July 12-16

CyberCamp is a great way to discover the world of cybersecurity. Many students who attend a standard AFA CyberCamp go on to participate in CyberPatriot's National Youth Cyber Defense Competition during the school year. Get a head start on your STEM career and experience what makes CyberPatriot the best national youth cyber education program.

The June camp is Monday - Friday from 9-11 a.m. and the July camp is 1-3 p.m. Students will learn about the basics of cybersecurity and this exciting career field. On Friday, students will go head-to-head competing virtually against each other, in a mini version of the CyberPatriot Competition.

For more information, contact:
Tamara Shoemaker

You can also find more venues across Michigan hosting CyberCamp at

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    Recent Updates

    Live on Facebook from 6-7 p.m. on June 16, 2020, we celebrated the Third Annual Michigan CyberPatriot awards.  There was a total of 19 state champions from Michigan who received trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in three divisions. The coach, mentor and industry partner of the year were awarded to Chris Sorensen, James Ratzlaff and their employer GE Power, Detroit Digital. Tamara Shoemaker, founder of the Michigan CyberPatriot Program, led the event with Sorensen and Elizabeth Farrell from Northrop Grumman as our industry masters of ceremony. This fall, the first place teams will be honored by Governor Whitmer at the North American International Cyber Summit 2020, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, and Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. 

    The summer of 2020 held the first ever CyberPatriot Virtual Camp in Michigan with Detroit Mercy's Tamara Shoemaker. For this event, middle school and high school students from across the state spent the week learning about good cybersecurity practice from local cybersecurity experts. The CyberPatriot Virtual Camp week ended in a mini-CyberPatriot competition with our Michigan students going head-to-head with all the rest of the campers from across the country!  We'd like to thank, Anthony Tuttle, WMCAT; John Nordbeck, DTE; Chris Sorensen and James Ratzlaff, GE Digital; Ken Sigler, OCC; John Tincher and Cyndi Millns, WCC; Doug Miller, NMU; Soctt Goethals, NMC; Mark Muzzin, MISD; Maj Rick Frantz, Bruce Crane and Michael Pretzel, ANG 101, OG/CYO; Jason Foster, Nate Ferguson and our very own Detroit Mercy Lecturer and Department Chair of Cybersecurity & Information Systems, Chair Greg Laidlaw!

    CyberPatriot XIII's registration is open until Oct. 15, 2020 with the first round of competition on the weekend of Nov. 13-15.  CyberPatriot is a virtual cyber defense competition sweeping the nation, it is not too late to start!  Please contact Tamara Shoemaker for guidance on starting a team and to be matched with an industry mentor.

    Tamara Shoemaker
    Director, Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies

CyberPatriot Summer Camp
for students in grades 7 - 11

The Detroit Mercy Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies co-sponsors an Air Force Association (AFA) CyberCamp for middle school and high school students interested in cybersecurity, operating systems and computer networks. The 20-hour curriculum is designed to be completed over five half days, with the fifth day serving as a day of mini-competition. Many students who attend an AFA CyberCamp go on to join a CyberPatriot National Defense Competition team during the school year.

The 2018 camp hosted at Detroit Mercy has ended.  For more information, contact Tamara Shoemaker, director, Detroit Mercy Center for Cyber Security & Intelligence Studies at or call 734-325-6823.

What is CyberPatriot?

CyberPatriot is the premier national youth cyber education program created to inspire high school and middle school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future. The program was created by the Air Force Association. The Northrop Grumman Foundation is the presenting sponsor.

Who makes up a team?

Each CyberPatriot team requires a coach, usually a teacher or adult leader of a team-sponsoring organization. Coaches need no special technical background. Any teacher or youth organization leader with the desire to help students learn something new, exciting and relevant can be a great CyberPatriot coach!

In addition to the coach, a team is made up of two to six students (five competitors, one alternate). Students must be registered with the CyberPatriot Program office and must be enrolled with the school or organization they are competing with. All cyber teaching materials are provided, and there is no course or skill prerequisite for the program. Any student with an interest can join a team and be successful.

In cases where a team needs help with computer basics, the coach can request help from qualified technical mentors. Technical mentors are local volunteers who possess appropriate IT knowledge and skills. Background checks are required of all Technical Mentors in our mentor network.

What does a school need to participate?

One to three computers and an Internet connection are required for occasional weekend use during the online portions of the competition. Computer hardware requirements are modest, and most schools already have computers that meet the technical specifications of the competition. The computer technical requirements are available on If a school cannot provide the needed equipment or Internet connection, CyberPatriot will assist in attempting to provide possible leads in locating equipment. For teams needing an alternate Internet connection, CyberPatriot will provide AT&T Air Cards (provided on a needs/first-come-first-serve basis). CyberPatriot’s goal is to make sure that every team that wants to participate can participate.

There is a $195 registration fee for each team registered ($155 for middle school teams). All girl teams, Title I Schools, JROTC, Civil Air Patrol and Naval Sea Cadet teams pay no fee. In return, the team receives access to the Microsoft Developers Network Academic Alliance software. This allows the team to download a number of operating systems and productivity tools that can be used to prepare for the competition, a benefit that alone is worth several thousand dollars. Each registered team member also receives a CyberPatriot participant kit. Past kits have included a t-shirt, commemorative coin, official competitor’s pin and other CyberPatriot gear.

What training materials does a coach need?

Although coaches are welcome to supplement the provided teaching materials as they wish, all materials necessary for a successful competition are provided on the CyberPatriot website. Teachers (and other coaches) are encouraged to use the provided materials not solely for use in preparing their team for competition, but also to educate all students in their school or organization about good cybersecurity practices and safe computer and Internet use.

How does competition work?

Teams compete in three divisions:
• Open High School Division*: Open to all high schools, scouting units, Boys and Girls Clubs, and approved high school homeschool programs across the country
• All Service Division: High school JROTC Programs / Civil Air Patrol units / Naval Sea Cadet Corps units
• Middle School Division*: Open to teams of middle school students
*MCISSE has been actively recruiting schools to play in these two divisions.

The early rounds of the competition are done online during weekends from the teams’ home locations (schools, homes, libraries, etc.).

Prior to the rounds, teams download “virtual image” representations of operating systems with known flaws, or cybersecurity “vulnerabilities”. Teams must find the flaws while keeping computer functions working. Team progress is recorded by a central CyberPatriot scoring system.

For the Open and All Service divisions, scores from two online qualification rounds are added together to determine team placement into one of three tiers for the State Round: Platinum, Gold or Silver.

These tiers have cybersecurity challenges of different degrees of complexity, with Platinum being the tier with the highest degree of difficulty and the only tier where teams have the opportunity to advance to the National Finals competition. After the online State Round, the top teams in each state advance to the Regional Round for the Open Division. The top six teams in each All Service Division category advance to the Category Round.

Following the Regional and Category rounds, the top 12 Open Division teams and top two teams from each All Service Division category (Air Force/Army/Marine Corps/Navy JROTC, CAP, USNSCC) and one wild card team advance, all-expenses paid, to the in-person National Finals Competition held in Baltimore, Maryland. There, the finalists compete face-to-face against other teams in their division to defend virtual networks from a professional aggressor team. Winners of the National Finals are awarded scholarship grants.

The middle school competition is slightly different. After two qualifying rounds, the top 50% of teams advance to the Semifinals. From there, the top three teams advance to the National Finals Competition.

University of Detroit Mercy's Center for Cybersecurity & Intelligence Studies Leads the Way!

Our Center is proud to provide the leadership for Midwest Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education (MCISSE) chapter since 2006. MCISSE is open to academics, business, industry and governmental agencies that foster information assurance or cybersecurity development, based on national and international standards: CNSS, ISO, NIST along with BSI Americas and other recognized IA standards.

For the last two years, our Chapter has spearheaded growing the CyberPatriot program in Michigan. University of Detroit Mercy and MCISSE members have been traveling across Michigan informing the public about this amazing competition and the ease of fielding a CyberPatriot team, as well as paying registration fees and providing advisers and mentors for new teams. For more information, go to