By Southwester Staff

The Southwester is proud to highlight artists, writers, and creators that live in the neighborhood and make our vibrant DC quadrant what it is. In this issue, we highlight Southwest resident Adom M. Cooper and congratulate him for the December 2023 publishing of a children’s cybersecurity book entitled “RhinoRAM: Your Friendly Neighborhood Cybersecurity Protector.” Cooper has been a resident of Southwest since 2014, but his local connections go much deeper. Cooper’s late Great Aunt Joyce Mitchell Cook was a resident of Tiber Island for decades and she was the first African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy. 

Cooper is a national security and foreign policy expert, a lawyer, formerly worked at the U.S. Department of State 2015-2023, and is currently an International Compliance Analyst for Nonproliferation Programs at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He also serves as a Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. 

When asked about what led him to create RhinoRAM, Cooper had this to say: 

“As a security and risk professional, I noticed there is a lack of cyber resources at the elementary school level. Today, kids are getting on the Internet earlier than ever. In fall 2020, I watched my four-year-old goddaughter grab my iPhone and seamlessly navigate to where my games were. It made me wonder where she would learn about cybersecurity. It is crucial to expose young Internet users to Internet dangers and realities awaiting them every day on smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. Folks from historically and traditionally marginalized communities are often the most at risk and this is no exception on the Internet. We must make sure young users are equally tech savvy and tech secure.”

During the spring of 2021, Cooper met Baltimore-based artist LaTosha Maddox at a DC street fair and commissioned her to help him bring RhinoRAM to life in illustrations. Adom says it was important for him to have someone who looked like him with shared lived experiences to bring RhinoRAM to life. From spring 2021 through fall 2023, Adom presented RhinoRAM at several conferences, including at the 2021 NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference and Truman National Security Project’s TruCon2022

In addition to the book, Cooper has created an accompanying curriculum for RhinoRAM. In January and May 2023, he piloted part of his RhinoRAM curriculum at two DC Public Schools: Southwest’s own Amidon-Bowen Elementary and Tyler Elementary in Southeast DC. 

“The feedback from the students was outstanding. They were eager to learn and ask questions,” said Cooper. 

Here is an excerpt from the book, provided to The Southwester

What is cybersecurity, you ask? It is about knowing how to use the internet in a safe and smart way.  As a kid, it is important to learn about safety when using the Internet. 

There’s a lot to learn about internet safety and we’ll be joining RhinoRAM and his friends on this learning journey! 

Let’s start by talking about the internet. The Internet is a network that allows smaller groups of computers and devices to talk to each other.

The book can be found in paperback and e-book Kindle format on Amazon. Link: 

In addition, you can learn more on the RhinoRAM Instagram account (@RhinoRAM_CyberProtector) or on LaTosha Maddox’s Instagram account (@ArtByTosh).

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