News and Events

Hume Center Researchers Present STEM Outreach Camps in Alaska

Dec 4, 2017

Researchers from the Hume Center for National Security and Technology volunteered their weekends in 2017 to participate in the third annual GenCyber High School Student Camps in Sitka, Alaska. These STEM camps introduced cybersecurity to the student body at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a boarding school that primarily serves rural Native Alaskan students. The camps took place over four weekends and introduced students to robotics, electronics, cryptology and steganography (concealed messages), cyber ethics, digital citizenship, and programming. 

The camps began with a maker fair in April, where cybersecurity experts presented booths with hands-on activities focused on cybersecurity, technology, and programming. More than 175 students explored the technologies available at the maker fair, with the majority participating in a scavenger hunt identifying technologies at the various booths that demonstrated cybersecurity principles. The three camps that followed in the fall each hosted around 20 students working on specific technology and cybersecurity problems. The participants for these more in-depth, hands-on camps were selected by their teachers at the high school.

One weekend of the camps was dedicated to the GenCyber Girls Weekend, which sought to make STEM education more accessible to female students. “I always thought that this kind of stuff was intimidating, but now I want to do more of it,” shared one participant of the Girls Weekend. Another student enthusiastically added, “I woke up early on the weekend to come every time.” The GenCyber Girls Weekend culminated in a cybersecurity/cryptography/GPS scavenger hunt around the city of Sitka that ended with a pizza party at a local restaurant. 

These activities are part of the GenCyber Program sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. The GenCyber program provides summer cybersecurity camp experiences for students and teachers at the K-12 level. The goals of the program are to increase interest in cybersecurity career and diversity in the cybersecurity workforce of the nation, help all students understand appropriate on-line behavior and how they can be good digital citizens, and improve teaching methods for delivery of cybersecurity content in K-12 curricula.

The mission of the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology is to cultivate the next generation of national security leaders by developing and executing curricular, extracurricular, and research opportunities to engage students. For more information, visit www.hume.vt.edu.

GenCyber Sitka Mt. Edgecumbe High School students attending the GenCyber Girls Weekend
 decrypted messages around Sitka, Alaska to arrive at a final destination.

 

 


Return