HCC’s Third GenCyber Camp for Middle School Students Promotes Cybersecurity as a Future Career Choice for County’s Girls

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Security Agency (NSA) recently awarded a grant to Harford Community College to fund the College’s “GenCyber Smart Girls Camp,” a one-week, non-residential cybersecurity summer day camp. The grant will enable the College to offer two one-week sessions next summer 2022 to 40 rising 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls at no cost to increase their interest in cybersecurity and cyber engineering and connect them with positive female role models. The GenCyber Smart Camps will help inspire the next generation of cyber stars, helping them to shift from being users to becoming makers, coders, developers, and programmers.

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 in addition to the camps in the summer of 2022. 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, Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, and virtual assistants (e.g. Amazon Echo), and explore their relationship to “the cloud.” Participants will explore 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, successfully teaching 40 students from various middle schools from across Harford County. In 2021, Harford hosted its second camp, hosting 40 additional students.  

For more information, email Dawn Grissom at dgrissom@harford.edu.

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