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Pathways to Cyber - The Journey

Summer Camps

 


 

Each of the 70 rising 6th -8th graders walking into the 2022 GenCyber Pathways to Cyber camp showed up with the same question. They all wondered if they could hack it. Before the end of camp, every single one of them did.

Cybersecurity Ambassadors Marshall Elam and Selena Chiang welcomed the next generation of cyber professionals into the mobile cyber lab. Each camper became a penetration tester – a cyber pro who acts like hacker. The campers hunted down the “hackrificial lamb” a moniker for a highly vulnerable system. The mission was simple. Find it, then exploit it.

With less than two days of training, the campers learned to identify machines that hackers can exploit. They executed a script which gave them remote control of the weak system. The experience hammers home the previous days instruction on the importance of cyber hygiene. The machines were weak due to improper maintenance.

“Each camper gets to experience hacking by doing it the right way,” said program director Guy Garrett. “Pentesters are allowed to legally act like hackers. They want to find where you’re weak. Once you know the weaknesses, you can secure them.”

Throughout the week, campers in rising 6 th -8 th grades received an introduction to the various aspects of cybersecurity work focused around the six GenCyber Concepts: confidentiality, integrity, availability, defense in depth, keep it simple, and think like the adversary.

Lessons emphasized hands-on application in areas such as cryptography, website programming, system administration, networking, social engineering, and social media. The curriculum was designed in partnership with college instructors, Garrett and Anthony Pinto, and Avalon Middle School Cybersecurity teacher Kim Purvis.

“Ms. Purvis works with this age group every day. She taught the college faculty how to best reach this age group,” Garrett said. “Her contributions were invaluable.”

Campers also met industry professionals to learn about their day-to-day work. This included a visit from Special Agent Stephanie Cassidy, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and her partner Maple, “the cyber dog.”

The Center for Cybersecurity at the University of West Florida hosted two GenCyber camps in June through grant funding from the National Security Agency. Please request to be added to our email distribution list on our "Connect with Us" page to receive announcements about our upcoming 2023 summer camp program.

 

GenCyber Concepts
 
 
 
 
 
For more information contact us at cybersecurity@uwf.edu.
 

2021 GenCyber Camp Highlights

The UWF Pathways to Cyber Program offered two GenCyber camps in June 2021. The first was UWF GenCyber Guiding Cyber Mentors Camp, a week-long camp for educators in grades 1-12. Teachers learned about cybersecurity concepts and cybersecurity ethics through hands-on activities via online instruction. They developed lesson plans for their classrooms through experiential and role-playing activities.

The second camp, GenCyber Journey in Cybersecurity: A Girl Scouts Adventure, was launched later in the month as an exciting way to increase diversity in the profession. The Center partnered with the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council for an interactive, online, cyber-themed summer program aimed at girls in grades 6-8. We connected GenCyber Cybersecurity Concepts to the Cadette Cybersecurity Journey and created an opportunity for each Scout to earn all 3 journey badges (Cybersecurity Basics, Cybersecurity Safeguards, and Cybersecurity Investigator) by the end of the week.

The Pensacola News Journal and UWF Newsroom covered the camp. Click the links below for their coverage.

PNJ| UWF Newsroom

 

2021 GenCyber Girl Scouts Camp

2019 UWF Pathways to Cyber Camps

 

The UWF Pathways to Cyber Program offered a GenCyber camp for high school students on June 17-21. The camp served as a platform for a statewide program to increase interest in cybersecurity careers and workforce diversity, enhance cybersecurity awareness and improve cybersecurity content and teaching methods for high school curricula. 

The camp was composed of high school students from 9th to 12th grade and 2019 high school graduates, who learned about Cybersecurity First Principles together through engaging curricula and hands-on activities in Cyber Operations And Security Training (COAST) Lab and the Florida Cyber Range. The five-day fast-paced program served as an introduction to the Cybersecurity First principles, cybersecurity careers, and how to utilize the Linux operating system and command line. Additionally, the program provided participants with a practical learning experience and perspective on the broader topic of cybersecurity.

The University of West Florida also hosted Guiding Cyber Mentors, a five-day GenCyber teachers’ camp with 20 teachers targeted at grades 1-12. The non-residential camp was hosted at UWF facility during the week of June 10, 2019, and focused on three goals: (a) developing a community of mentors, (b)  developing a shared repository of lesson plans for grades 1-12 archived on the Florida Cyber Range (FCR) as a Cyber Guidebook for teachers used to train a future generation of Cyber Mentors, and (c) providing continuous year-long professional development opportunities. A mix of classroom instructions and hands-on and role-playing activities were used, with participants’ experience culminating in lesson plan development and presentation.

2018 GenCyber Camp Highlights

The UWF Pathways to Cyber Program offered two GenCyber combination camps for high school students and teachers on June 25-29 and July 9-13. The camps served as a platform for a statewide program to increase interest in cybersecurity careers and workforce diversity, enhance cybersecurity awareness and improve cybersecurity content and teaching methods for high school curricula. 

Each camp included 24 high school students and 12 middle and high school teachers, who learned about Cybersecurity First Principles together through engaging curricula and hands-on activities in the UWF Cybersecurity Battle Lab. The five-day, fast-paced program served as an introduction to the Cybersecurity First principles, cybersecurity careers and how to utilize the Linux operating system and command line. Additionally, the program provided participants with a practical learning experience and perspective on the broader topic of cybersecurity.

Pensacola News Journal, Santa Rosa Press Gazette and WEAR-TV each covered the camp. Click the links below for their coverage.

PNJ| Santa Rosa Press Gazette| WEAR-TV| Center for Cybersecurity Blog

 

The UWF Pathways to Cyber Program hosted two combination camps in July 2017 for high school students and teachers. The National Security Agency/National Science Foundation Program funded the GenCyber camps. The camps served as a platform for a statewide program to increase interest in cybersecurity careers and workforce diversity, enhance cybersecurity awareness and improve cybersecurity content and teaching methods for high school curricula.

Students and teachers learned about the Cybersecurity First Principles, career opportunities in the region and networked with cybersecurity experts through engaging curricula and hands-on activities such as a scavenger hunt, NSA Day of Cyber and a private-eye program.

Blog: GenCyber Camp Enhances Cybersecurity Awareness

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