The National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation have teamed up to launch a new summer camp initiative, dubbed GenCyber, aimed at identifying middle and high school students with an interest in cybersecurity and assisting them in developing useful academic and work-related skills.
According to the program’s Web site, the goal of the GenCyber program is to help address the nation’s growing need for cybersecurity specialists:
The goals of the program are to help all students understand correct and safe on-line behavior, increase diversity and interest in cybersecurity and careers in the cybersecurity workforce of the Nation, and improve teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content in K-12 computer science curricula.
In addition to the technical training students will receive, the curriculum also includes education on cyberethics and digital citizenschip.
The GenCyber program was launched in 2014 and currently operates 43 summer camps around the country. In addition to the student-only camps, there are a number designed to assist teachers in developing cybersecurity curricula for their classes, and a handful where students and teachers study together. The agencies hope to expand the number of camps to 200 by 2020.
One nice feature of the program is that participation is completely free, thanks to the funding commitments of the two federal agencies. A list of the current camps is available on the GenCyber Web site; interested students or teachers should apply to the specific camp in which they are interested (although most if not all are already filled for this year).