Talented Teens of Castle Pines: Cyber security breach fuels passion for change
Arjun Avinash (far right) competing with robotics Team Komodo at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City last month. The team accomplished an inspiring fifth-place finish.
By Steve Whitlock, photo courtesy of the Avinash family
Arjun Avinash (15) will be studying cyber security at Duke University this summer. A sophomore at Rock Canyon High School with a great academic record and a strong desire to solve computer-related problems, he’s taking on the technical challenges that face our nation.
Arjun’s love for technology has most been seen in his work with robotics. He says robotics has taught him many valuable life lessons, such as team collaboration and time management. “My team recently placed fifth out of 62 teams in the Oklahoma City Regional Competition in Oklahoma City,” he said. “We are very proud of this accomplishment and hope to qualify for Worlds.” Their upcoming Colorado Regional is scheduled for March 20-23 at the Denver University campus.
Some of his past achievements include a robotics summer camp in Boulder, robotics club and software program team leader for the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Arjun tells how his father recently fell prey to identity theft because his credit card number was stolen. “The identity theft fueled me with a new motivation to find out how my father was hacked.” In short, he is using the experience to prevent this from happening to others.
Regarding his summer opportunity he said, “I am going to learn about the many ways criminals try to exploit vulnerabilities – from identity theft to phishing schemes to denial of service attacks and more. I will also learn the techniques cyber-security leaders use to defend these attacks, and I will have the chance to test my own skills at defending cyberspace in a digital capture-the-flag tournament.”
Cyber security is a field that has been growing exponentially over the last number of years. It is an area that affects both individuals through identify theft and corporations through the loss of intellectual property. As a result, young talent is in demand. Kids like Arjun are being recruited to be a part of the solution. Arjun said, “My hope for the future is to make use of tech in the right way to help people … That journey is not going to be easy, but I want to obtain every opportunity to learn in order to make a difference.” Clearly, he is one of the good guys and someone our community can be proud of.