STEM Teachers Focus on Cyber at Summer Camp

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Underway this week is NittanyGenCyber Camp, a five-day summer camp offered at Penn State University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology’s (IST) and designed for middle and high school STEM teachers. The week-long camp kicked off yesterday and will run through Friday, 3 August 2018.

This first-of-its-kind summer camp aims to provide teachers with fundamental cybersecurity principles, delivering them hands-on experience to inform them of cyber’s intersection with data science. Applications were due on 25 May 2018, and attendees include teachers from different New Jersey school districts and Pennsylvania’s West Essex Regional School District.

The summer camp is part of the GenCyber program, which offers cybersecurity summer camps to students and teachers at the K-12 level. It’s an effort to not only increase awareness in cybersecurity careers but also to diversify the cybersecurity workforce.

NittanyGenCyber camp is funded by a grant from the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, which is why it was able to provide the camp at no charge fee to its participants. Attendees also received a stipend to cover travel expenses.

Led by Penn State’s IST GenCyber principal investigator, Dongwon Lee, associate IST professor, and two co-principal investigators, Anna Squicciarini, associate IST professor, and Nick Giacobe, assistant teaching IST professor and director of the college’s undergraduate programs, the first workshop included a hands-on course using a security board game. Additional topics covered include OS basics, social engineering attacks, cryptography basics, online frauds and fakes, steganography basics, password, forensics, cyber competitions, ethics and access control.

“Researchers and other organizations have identified somewhere between 130,000 and 209,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs exist in the U.S. today,” Giacobe told TAP into West Essex news.

“Worldwide, those estimates climb to 2.5-3.5 million unfilled cyber jobs by 2025. Regardless of which numbers you follow, the point is that there is a significant gap between the skills of the talent pool we have today versus what companies need today and tomorrow.”

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