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June 30, 2023
COOKEVILLE, TN – The Cybersecurity Education, Research, and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech University just completed its 7th annual GenCyber residential cybersecurity camp. This year’s combination camp hosted 22 students from high schools across the state and 10 teachers. During the week, student campers participated in many cybersecurity activities concluding with a final project presentation on a timely cybersecurity topic. Teacher participants in the camp completed a ten-hour pre-professional development program and a three-day camp integration program developing new cybersecurity classroom exercises that were tested during the camp.
What is GenCyber?
GenCyber (https://gen-cyber.com/) is a joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Security Agency (NSA) program providing funding for cybersecurity summer camps and yearlong activities offered to middle and high school students, where they are exposed to real technology and situations found in the workplace through activities produced and run by students at Tennessee Technological University. Students form bonds with groups and are taught valuable skills to jump-start their cyber education. These campers are mentored by current computer science students at Tennessee Tech. The camp also brings in both government and industry professionals from the field to give advice, tell stories, and share their insights.
CEROC has been running this program since 2016, and every year we strive to make it as beneficial as possible. Our staff has been working diligently for more than two months to research, produce, and run each activity students do. As students worked through their activities, we asked them for feedback so we can make this program even better next year. Below are just a few of the anonymous responses from the students.
“I learned more about cyber security in this camp than in all of the previous length of my life combined. GenCyber utilized excellent digital, hardware, and human resources to teach not only the basics of cybersecurity but also new avenues to learn more and many of the opportunities that are attainable through cyber security.”
“I am used to learning by myself, and having an actual human being explain the concepts to me was very helpful. The way the counselors behaved was also extremely helpful in maintaining a light and friendly mood throughout the camp.”
“I loved the activities; some were hands-on, a LOT of thinking and problem-solving, and having a team to help was very helpful and made me feel less alone in doing the projects.”
GenCyber at Tennessee Tech Future Plan
From this successful summer camp, GenCyber will go on the road for the next year with the Tennessee GenCyber on Wheels (TGoW) program. This program will use the Tennessee Tech STEMmobile and take the GenCyber experience to the door of high schools across the state, providing mobile versions of the cyber exercises used during the on-site camp. “TGoW is our opportunity to reach more high school students with our cybersecurity offerings than ever before. We hope to reach over 4,000 across the state over the next 16 months”, says CEROC’s Associate Director for Workforce Development, Eric Brown. “During these cyber road shows, not only will students participate in some incredible cyber activities, district teachers and school counselors will be offered professional development opportunities. CEROC will also be offering mini-grants in support of student participation in the National Cyber League Capture the Flag competition and startup support for new Cyber Patriot programs.
About the Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center
CEROC at Tennessee Tech University, established in 2016, is a center of excellence in the College of Engineering focused on K-20 cybersecurity education programs; research in emerging cybersecurity topics; and outreach programs to stakeholders in academia, government and industry. CEROC is an NSA-designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (NCAE-C CD) and host of the first and largest CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program in the State of Tennessee as well as the Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship Program (CySP). CEROC is also the home of the Golden Eagle Cyber Certificate program providing cybersecurity dual enrollment opportunities to participating Tennessee K12 school districts. More information about CEROC and its programs can be found at https://www.tntech.edu/ceroc or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.