NDSU holds GenCyber Camp for high school students

NDSU holds GenCyber Camp for high school students

High school students from North Dakota and Minnesota came to the NDSU to learn about cybersecurity June 24-28. The students participated in activities and short courses related to programming, how to secure computers and networks.

The ‘GenCyber’ camp is funded by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation, and is free to participants.

The camp gives students a taste of the college experience and computing and cybersecurity in the hope that they’ll decide to go on to pursue additional education and even a career in these areas. Workers in these areas are in high demand nationwide.

This was the second year that NDSU has held a GenCyber camp. This year, NDSU offered a residential camp where campers spent the night in NDSU residence halls, allowing campers to attend from further away, without having to make a commute each day. This is the first time a residential GenCyber camp has been held in North Dakota.

“GenCyber combines the fun of a summer camp with the educational value of a course,” said Jeremy Straub, NDSU assistant professor of computer science and program director. “The students get to be hands-on with security hardware, networking equipment, virtual reality, drones and other cool technologies. In the process, they learn a lot – while having a ton of fun.”

Students from the North Dakota cities of Beach, Bismarck, Brinsmade, Carrington, Carson, Devils Lake, Dickey, Dickinson, Dilworth, Enderlin, Forman, Golva, Grand Forks, Gwinner, Hunter, Jamestown, Judson, Kathryn, Lignite, Litchville, Moffit, Napoleon, Northwood, Pembina, Pingree, Portal, Spiritwood, Tappen, Tioga and Walcott, as well as Ada and Barnesville, Minnesota, attended, in addition to students from the Fargo-Moorhead area. The camp has 60 students enrolled, all in their mid-to-late teens.

Campers learned about core networking, security and programming topics most mornings and participated in electives of their choice in the afternoons. They also learned about cybersecurity research being performed by undergraduate students and were challenged by a cybersecurity competition.

“Computing education and cybersecurity are of high importance in our society today,” noted Kendall E. Nygard, chair of the NDSU computer science department. “Getting young people excited about these kinds of technologies is critical to the future of North Dakota and beyond.”

In addition to Straub, NDSU faculty Simone Ludwig, Pratap Kotala and Nygard and staff members Ben Bernard, Jeff Gimbal and David Dahl taught sessions for the camp. Several NDSU students also helped with the camp, and South Dakota-based Dakota State University sent a delegation to help teach at the camp.

NDSU plans to hold a similar camp again next year.

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