Idaho high school students named national cyber scholars, awarded scholarships

May 27, 2021

By INL Media Relations

Idaho high school students named national cyber scholars, awarded scholarships

After participating in a rigorous 48-hour cybersecurity competition designed to evaluate essential skills in combating cyber threats, the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation has named 10 Idaho high school students as national cyber scholars. The students, along with several finalists, were awarded more than $67,000 in combined college scholarships and professional training opportunities.

National cyber scholars display advanced abilities to solve computer security issues and defend computer networks during competitive timed events. More than 30,000 students across the country sought to qualify for the national competition, with just 5,000 students advancing to the finals. Idaho’s newly anointed scholars are among the best 600 high school students in the country.

Each national scholar was awarded a $2,500 college scholarship and an invitation to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy, a multiweek training and certification course. Finalists were also awarded access to the academy. The awardees include:

National cyber scholars

Austin Li
Austin Li – Centennial High School, Boise, Idaho
Karina Hansen
Karina Hansen – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Kaleb Jennings
Kaleb Jennings – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Zoe Johnson
Zoe Johnson – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Raymond Kalwarf – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Collin Morgan – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Wyatt Nilsson
Wyatt Nilsson – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Spencer McConnell – Timberline High School/Dennis Technical Education Center, Boise, Idaho
  • Renata Russell – Gem Prep Online, locations throughout Idaho
  • Scott Osmundson – Rocky Mountain High School, Meridian, Idaho


  • Alison Russell – Hillside Junior High School, Boise, Idaho
  • Nathan Peck – Compass Academy, Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Two additional Idaho students chose to remain anonymous

To qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, students first had to participate in CyberStart America, a free online program that helps students discover their interest in cybersecurity and develop their talent and skills. Through INL’s Coding Coalition, the laboratory has encouraged students across Idaho to participate in CyberStart America for the last three years.

“Recent national events have shown the increasingly important role cybersecurity plays in our society,” said Jennifer Jackson, INL’s K-12 STEM program manager. “We’re very proud to support Idaho students in their passion for learning in fields like cybersecurity that will be vital in coming years. The incredible results in these competitions this year demonstrate that we really do have the best and brightest right here in Idaho.”


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Posted May 27, 2021

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