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Weekly Media Roundup: February 10, 2016

By Luci Manning

Kirn Students Learn Nuts, Bolts of Cybersecurity through Club (Daily Nonpareil, Iowa)

An afterschool club at Kirn Middle School is allowing students to explore a potential career path while learning how to protect themselves online. The Air Force Association’s Cyber Patriot program teaches students the basics of cybersecurity by having them practice on simulated “virtual machines” with pre-programmed security flaws for them to detect and solve. The hands-on experience gives students a valuable opportunity to learn by doing, according to guest speaker Anthony Kava, an information technology supervisor and information security officer for Pottawattamie County’s government. “The students’ enthusiasm, and how they seem to soak up complex knowledge so quickly, has made the experience extremely rewarding,” he told the Daily Nonpareil.

Pascack Valley Students Build Interest in Robotics (, New Jersey)

The New Jersey education commissioner and other state officials recently received a visit from a high school robotics team hoping to build more STEM-based afterschool programs in underserved districts across the state. The Pascack Valley Regional High School District Pi-oneers met with the officials to explain the value of their program, show off some of the robots they have built and discuss potential funding and corporate partnership options. “We would like to extend the experiences we have had to places where afterschool mentor-based programs do not yet exist,” high school senior and co-CEO of the Pi-oneers Alexandra Capodicasa told

An Out of This World After School Program Connects Kids with Outer Space (WPSD, Illinois)

Kids in the space-based Astra afterschool program went on a virtual journey through the solar system last week thanks to Engineer Kristina Larson from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Larson spoke to the Carterville Intermediate School students about her work on the Dawn Mission, which explored dwarf planets in the Asteroid Belt. According to WPSD, talking with a real life rocket scientist made the kids want to work in outer space when they grow up. Astra gives students the chance to learn about all things space by building rockets, meeting astronauts and more.

Meeting the Needs of Kids in the U.S. Who Fled Violence in Central America (Youth Today, California)

Child refugees in the U.S. face a lot of challenges, but one afterschool program in San Francisco is trying to make their transition just a bit easier. Refugee Transitions operates in two high schools serving a large Central American immigrant population, providing academic assistance, enrichment activities, home-based tutoring, health care and, most importantly, a safe and supportive place to be after school. Nearly 100 students take part in the program each day. According to program coordinator Joyce Arellano-Bravo, the enrichment activities, which range from yoga to disc jockeying, are particularly helpful for students trying to acclimate to their new life because “you learn English by doing,” she told Youth Today.