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Student-led learning takes priority at Keesler

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Students in Keesler’s 333rd Training Squadron have taken charge of their learning.

The 333rd TRS serves over 400 officer, enlisted and civilian students per year in cyberspace skills training. Many of those students go on to accomplish essential cyber missions across the globe.

One of the courses taught in the 333rd TRS is Undergraduate Cyber Warfare Training, which teaches cybersecurity fundamentals.

Michael Barbosa, former 333rd TRS student, and 2nd Lt. Marissa Einhorn, 333rd TRS instructor, were classmates in the UCWT course. They wanted a way to keep practicing essential skills outside of class hours.

“The course is pretty demanding and we wanted to practice the skills we were learning, so I built some small mini labs on my own time,” said Barbosa.

Barbosa said he was happy with his software development, but felt that he could do more with it. He approached his instructors about the possibility of turning an empty classroom into a collaborative, student-led space for learning.

They decided to name the lab after Ada Lovelace, the woman widely considered to be the first computer programmer.

In its current form the Lovelace Lab serves several functions for students in the 333rd TRS.

“We see this lab doing a lot for our students,” said Einhorn. “It can inspire students who are waiting for training, provide support for the students who are currently in class and need extra practice time, and also provide enrichment for the students who are not being challenged.”

The lab has also served as a medium for artistic expression. Several students worked together to paint a mural on the wall to showcase their squadron pride.

Barbosa and Einhorn see the Lovelace Lab as a way to set a standard for generations of students to come. They hope to encourage future students to continue to create their own self-sustaining environments of innovation.

“I am incredibly proud of our students and graduates,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Sparks, 333rd TRS commander. “From the freehand artwork on the walls, to the design of the space, to the training missions, and even the name of the lab itself…this was their idea and their sweat equity. The cherry on top is that the students chose to name the lab after a woman pioneer in the field of computing. I remain grateful to serve alongside talented Airmen who take ownership of their squadron facilities and mission.”