A team of five St. Joseph’s Academy students placed first in Louisiana Tech University’s Analysis & Investigation through Cyber-based Scenarios (AICS) Camp. The week-long competition took place June 3-8.
Team members were rising juniors Emma Perrault, Halley Perry, Sarah Weinstein, Emma Vu and Grace Smith. Serving as chaperones were Claire Luikart, director of SJA’s Andrea Clesi McMakin ’74 STEM Lab, and Alexandra Arceneaux, a member of SJA’s English department.
AICS is a scenario-based training model with a cyber-oriented, national intelligence focus. It is open to rising high school juniors who are interested in computer science, mathematics and liberal arts.
Over the course of the week, participating students were given a series of scenarios as if the events described were happening in real time. Participants parsed through massive amounts of information to determine who was responsible for the event, how it was accomplished and what the appropriate response should be.
“It was an excellent chance for our students to further hone their critical-thinking skills and reinforce their information-processing abilities,” Luikart said.
Senior Emma Perrault said the week was challenging and highly educational. “We had to learn how to work together as a team and learn each other’s strengths to divide the work,” she said. “By the end of the week, we vastly improved our presentation skills. The entire team was able to speak in the final presentation. The Louisiana Tech professors even commented on how impressive and accurate our final presentation was. We worked very hard.”
Perrault, who will serve as president of SJA’s Girls Who Code club next year, said she was able to improve her time-management and teamwork skills. Both will serve her well in her leadership role, she said. “This week inspired me on the many ways I can improve the club to create an environment of girls confident in their abilities to be successful in STEM,” she said. “AICS Camp gave me confidence in my abilities. It reminded me that hard work really does pay off. We consistently worked hard and earned first place because of that.”
Arceneaux expressed her pride in the team’s determination and commitment. “This camp is so beneficial in them developing an understanding of real-world problems and educating them on issues they may not know about or have little knowledge of,” she said. “The girls did amazing, and I’m so proud of the hard work they put in.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt