Southeast student Joshua Bohnert, a computer science major and Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) cadet, has been chosen to attend the Advanced Course in Engineering on Cyber Security (ACE-CS), a prestigious training program at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome Labs, N.Y., this summer.
Joshua, who is from Altenburg, Mo., is one of only 37 Air Force ROTC cadets nation-wide selected for the intense 10-week “cyber-security boot camp,” according to Major Kevin Colyott, commandant of cadets for the AFROTC program and chair of Southeast’s Department of Aerospace Studies.
“The selection process is extremely competitive and it’s a real testament to the level of talent we have in our Air Force ROTC detachment at Southeast,” Colyott said. “The ACE specifically targets top students in Air Force, Army and Navy pre-commissioning programs such as ROTC, in hopes of developing them into future cyber-security leaders.”
That is exactly what Joshua is counting on.
“I want to be either a space and missiles officer or a communications officer, and both of these fields are technology-intense,” Joshua said. “I hope this program will make me more competitive in those fields.”
Joshua’s selection for the ACE program will definitely give him a competitive edge.
The ACE-CS program’s objective is to develop original thinkers and technical leaders who can solve real-world cyber security problems, according to Colyott. The program combines an intense classroom environment with real-world problems, mentoring by experienced cyber security professionals and real-world experience through internships.
“Cadets will receive hands-on training and conduct research at the laboratory,” Colyott said. “They will also participate in periodic professional development sessions, intense physical training, a weekly cyber-security team problem solving session, and a cyber war game near the end of the program.
“One of the primary benefits of participating in the ACE is the exposure students will get to state-of-the-art network security systems being used by the military,” Colyott said. “In addition, students receive hands-on training that’s generally not available in the university classroom setting.”
Joshua, who says he is honored to be chosen for the program, is appreciative of this opportunity, as well as others he has received through the AFROTC program at Southeast.
“AFROTC has provided me with so many opportunities that other people just don’t get to experience,” he said. “The ROTC program has given me a lot of confidence and taught me to be more outgoing and apply for these kinds of programs. I’m especially glad to be chosen for this program because of my interest in this field, and because I want to set an example for the other cadets in the detachment at Southeast,” Joshua added.
Joshua also currently serves as cadet group commander for the Southeast AFROTC program,
a role that includes overseeing the cadet program under the guidance of the commandant
of cadets. He also has received numerous local and national awards during his time
in AFROTC, including the Air Force Association Award, which is the top unit award
a cadet can receive, and the Air Force ROTC Commendation Medal, which only 10 percent
of cadets are eligible to receive.