Harford’s Fifth GenCyber Camp for Middle School Students Will Promote Cybersecurity as a Future Career Choice
10 August 2023
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Security Agency (NSA) recently awarded a grant to Harford Community College to fund its “GenCyber Smart Camp,” a one-week, non-residential cybersecurity summer day camp. The grant will enable the College to offer two one-week sessions in summer 2024 to 40 rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders at no cost. The main goal of the camps is to increase students’ interest in cybersecurity and cyber engineering and connect them with positive role models by integrating diversity into cybersecurity lessons, with teachers, speakers and students who are traditionally underrepresented in cyber careers. For example, 43% of the summer 2023 students were female and 53% were students of color. The camp is managed and instructed by a team of cybersecurity and education experts who share the goal of inspiring the next generation of cyber stars, helping them to shift from being users to becoming makers, coders, developers, and programmers through hands-on play and team projects.
In support of the GenCyber program goal of providing year-round engagement in cyber content and exposure to career opportunities, Harford will offer several outreach events over the next two years and a camp in the summer of 2024. Each day during camp, students will participate in individual and small group hands-on projects to investigate, program, and hack familiar Internet of Things (IOT) devices such as fitness trackers, drones, and virtual assistants (e.g. an Amazon Echo), and explore their relationship to “the cloud.” Participants will delve into the technological and design principles that drive familiar devices through accessible activities framed around exploring Smart Life, Smart Home, and Smart Play domains, and by interacting with women who are cybersecurity engineers.
The College plans to recruit students who are new to cybersecurity to support the broader aim of attracting students from underserved populations to create a more diverse program.
Harford hosted its first GenCyber camp in summer 2019, and has successfully run three additional camps. This is the fifth time Harford has been awarded this very competitive grant.
For more information, email Kelly Pulaski, Coordinator for Youth Programs and GenCyber Grant Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.