Sandia National Laboratory looks for the next cyber warriors

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ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – Terrorism comes in many forms, one of the most destructive can be in the form of a cyber attack.

Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque deals with those types of attacks all the time. They’re looking for the next generation of brilliant minds to protect computers, right here in New Mexico.

On Thursday, a group from Sandia visited a computer class at Española Valley High School in Española, New Mexico. The visit came with an adapted cyber attack training course where students got to participate in a computer programming course and experience an actual cyber attack.

“It’s called TRACER FIRE and we try to take some of the ideas that we train our university students and to distill them down to something that the high school students can enjoy and learn,” said Kevin Nauer, Cyber Security Research Engineer at Sandia National Laboratories.

About 30 students participated in the day long course. Some of them expressed an interest in continuing their education into the cyber field after college.

“It’s interesting,” said Ashby Bito, Española Valley High School Freshman. “It’s an eye opener for what’s going on in the world today. I believe that people should be more aware of what they’re using, especially that technology is taking over.”

Two former alums from Española, who are also current employees at Sandia Labs, say they are proud and honored that Sandia is reaching out to young members from their community.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community as well,” said Tony Medrano Lona III, Instructional Designer at Sandia National Laboratories. “And it’s our way of showing these kids here at the high school, at Española Valley that we are concerned that about them.”

“Social responsibility is a big deal and I’m so grateful to the people at Sandia,” said Jessica Montoya-Valerio, Business Management Professional at Sandia National Laboratories. “The people who have helped me professionally that they are giving back to the community where I was born and raised.”

The cyber training for Thursday’s class was created at Sandia back in 2008. Sandia National Laboratories trains cybersecurity responders for the Department of Energy and other agencies.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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