Break the cycle of poverty through education

Communities in Schools

Cybersecurity Camp

The Details

Program Goal

Help introduce high school students to cybersecurity

Participant Break Down

20 underserved participants from community schools in North Carolina

Our Peer Coaches

Ansh Gupta
Adwit Aggarwal

Camp Overview


Introductions, ice breakers, and intro to cybersecurity


Introduction to Anticheat


Social Engineering Attacks


Cyber Threats


Cyber Ethics


Application and Network Security


Project day


Project day


Showcase day!

Professional Mentors/Judges

Maniam Palanivelu

Director of Customer Success Operations at Netscout
  • Anti-Cheat
  • Cryptography

Mike Schiller

Software Quality Engineer II at Netscout
  • Cyber Ethics
  • CIA triad

Brian Bonner

Sales Engineer at Netscout
  • Application security
  • Presentation prep

Brian Bonner

Software Engineer at Netscout
  • Application security
  • Presentation prep

Maniam and Deepesh served as judges for our final competition as well as Alan Saqui, Research Technology Integration Engineer at Netscout, who served as a guest judge.

Students in Action

Winning Presentations



Our first place team consisting of Michael, Byron, and Ascher made a cipher titled IEM or irrational encryption method. They came up with an encryption method that involved using a different cipher each day which was based on the date of that day.
They took the square root of the day in order to get an irrational number. Each digit in the irrational number was then used as the number to shift the letter in that position.



Our second-place team consisting of Antonio, Marissa, and Connor made a cipher titled the CAM cipher. Their encryption method was coded in python and involved the usage of random integers. In doing this, they made it so that each time the cipher was used, it would encrypt differently based on the random number selected. Knowing these random numbers would be the only way to then later decrypt the message!



We also had a prize for the cyber breach category and this one went to Daniela and Lindsay! The cyber breach they decided to cover was the 2013 Target Data Breach. They were well articulated and covered all aspects of the breach, going into detail about how it happened and how it could have been prevented. Additionally, during their presentation, they showed a great understanding of the concepts and fundamentals that we covered during the camp.


Students worked together to create a cyberdefense from start to finish

Students pitched their projects to professional mentors and competed for first and second place

More than $600 distributed to participants in rewards and incentives

Students leave camp with a finished product, ready to be showcased in a college application or job interview

Certificates and winners announced and received certificates and prizes

All students reported a dramatic increase in their understanding of and their comfort with cybersecurity ideas and processes after the camp

Survey Results


“I enjoyed working with friends to complete a challenge and learning about different hacks and breaches”
Jack Sullivan
"It was a pleasure watching all the participants grow their tech skills in the classes and expressing their creativity through their presentations!"
Ansh Gupta
Peer Mentor
“I learned how to present understandably and fluently and I learned to think critically. I loved all of the activities like the Kahoots!”
Ariel Vera
"It was great to interact with this group of students who stayed engaged through the camp. I also enjoyed the projects from the teams who developed their own cipher code and also presented some data breach case studies."
Mani Palanivelu
Professional Mentor and Judge

Thank You Organizers!

Renee Leak & Stacey Weinstein

Ansh, Adwit, Latha, & Mariel

Maniam Palanivelu, Mike Schiller, Brian Bonner, Deepesh Nair, & Alan Saqui

Board Member

Jayashree Sundaresan

Jayashree Sundaresan is a Senior Technology leader with 24+ years of experience. A servant leader at heart, she strongly believes in creating positive impact to transform people beyond who they think they are and what they think they can achieve. Jayashree is very passionate about empowering women, guiding children, giving back to society and focusing on wellness as a priority. She is also a die-hard sports enthusiast and a singer. She thoroughly enjoys coaching & mentoring people to share and learn. Jayashree holds a Bachelors degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering and an MBA from Santa Clara University, USA.

“I am thrilled to join the Board of Directors at SSF and impact lives by helping with the education of underprivileged, deserving, bright, and passionate students. The vision and mission of SSF aims to pull families out of generational poverty through the skill building, mentoring, training and sponsorship of scholars. This energises me and resonates with my values and beliefs to lead change in communities through working with children, educating them and helping them gain confidence, perspective and a lifelong desire to be a force of positive impact.”

Advisor & Board Observer

Uma Meyyappan

SVP, Head of Digital Innovation, LPL Financial

“Uma is an Innovation Technology Executive with over 20 years of experience in the Financial services industry where she accelerates business value with the use of emerging technology.

Uma’s extensive research in financial technologies such as digital payments, biometrics, augmented reality, and Internet of Things (IoT) has resulted in over 35 issued US patents to her name.

Uma is a Founding LP in Neythri Futures Fund and Founding circle member in Neythri, an organization that promotes south asian women. Being a strong believer of child literacy and education Uma is delighted to assist Shooting Stars Foundation eradicate generational poverty through STEM education.”

Board Member

Kevin Lee

Program Manager at NVIDIA

“Kevin has over 10 years experience in leadership roles in the Finance and Technology sectors. Prior to joining NVIDIA, Kevin taught at University of California, Berkeley and helped the school transition from in-person learning to online learning.

Kevin is passionate about learning, teaching, and fostering innovation from future generations. Having witnessed first-hand the positive impact education can have on his students’ career prospects, Kevin is excited to contribute to Shooting Stars Foundation and its mission to break the cycle of poverty through STEM education. “

Advisor & Board Observer

Brian McCann

President, Security Solutions at Neustar, Inc.

“High-energy business leader with passion for driving growth in organizations and cyber security technologies – and education foundations!

SSF’s founder and mission are rooted in empowering others to take control to improve their future. STEM education is a proven and scalable path to break generational poverty.”

Board Member

Dawna Taylor

Regional Director with the Global Services Department for Cognia,

“Dawna L. Taylor is the Regional Director with the Global Services Department for Cognia, the largest School Improvement organization globally. Before joining Cognia, Ms. Taylor served as the Assistant Vice President of K-12 programs for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. She also led, designed, and oversaw an out-of-school STEM program for middle and high school students in Baltimore, MD, and Vicksburg, MS. She has been an elementary teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal, and principal in traditional public schools and charter schools.

Ms. Taylor served as Director of Blended Learning Programs for one of the nation’s largest public cyber schools. Her professional expertise is in developing, managing, and consulting for charter schools and STEM Outreach programs across the country. Ms. Taylor has a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida A&M University in Elementary Education and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, Supervision, and Administration from Jones International University. She is the proud mother of two adult children, Raleigh and Morgan.”