Cybersecurity club hacks its way into RB club roster


Students at a Cybersecurity Club meeting. Photo courtesy of Jessica Mauritzen.

Anna Caruso, Staff Reporter

Cybersecurity Club, a new addition to the variety of clubs available at Riverside Brookfield High School, spreads awareness about cybersecurity and allows students at RB to compete and earn scholarships. Sponsors Dan Bonarigo and Jessica Mauritzen utilize the program “CyberStart America” to give students the chance to explore their interests in the cybersecurity field.

The club is open to all students, as there are no requirements or prior knowledge needed to join. Meetings take place before school on the third Wednesday of every month, and members have the opportunity to collaborate with each other and sponsors to solve challenges through the CyberStart program.

“Really it’s for anyone, I know obviously people who are interested in computer science or cybersecurity would be good to join, but really I mean anyone who wants to kind of be a little bit more aware of some of the issues that are related to everything they do on a day to day basis,” Bonarigo said.

A unique aspect of the club is that members are able to work at their own pace. Even if students are unable to make it to the meetings, they are still able to independently work their way through the program. Additionally, the club is easy to go along with and is a palatable way to learn, as it is in game format.

“Really, people could do it kind of on their own. It’s really just to get people exposed to the idea, and maybe generate people’s interest in pursuing some sort of cyber security information, but really everyone, even if you’re not going to go into it for a job or study it, everyone should have some basic knowledge in cybersecurity,” Bonarigo said.

One of the main perks of joining is the possibility of receiving a scholarship, which can be attained by reaching the 20,000-point goal. The collection of points earned from playing the games in the program builds up over time, allowing students to grow in their skills if they participate in the club for multiple years.

“Any time there’s an opportunity for a scholarship or for a skill that is in demand, I think students should take advantage of it because it opens so many more doors, and the highlight of this program is there’s a lot of people who didn’t even know they would like it, who started it, and ended up really having fun with it,” Mauritzen said.

Cybersecurity Club works to equip its members with skills to learn and educate themselves on how technology functions. This is crucial for both the present and future alike, as understanding technology and coding is getting more and more essential.

“It’s so easy to get started and get involved with it and then also its so much fun to participate in it, and you’re actively learning, and like you’re learning all these skills on how to. Cybersecurity is really important now more than ever, and so you’re learning about different methods that people are using to steal data or be a threat online and stuff like that, and so you’re learning to combat that,” a member in Cybersecurity Club Kathleen Dransoff said.

As for the future of the club, both members and sponsors alike hope to do student-led presentations in class. By integrating their own skills and knowledge into a presentation, Cybersecurity Club members will take over the role of educating students about digital citizenship.

“I would hope that maybe we can get to a point where there’s enough people that are really confident in their cybersecurity where then they could maybe do like go around to certain classes and give their own presentations on it and share their experiences with what they’ve done with the CyberStart program,” Dransoff said.