USD Camp Seeks to Create Next Generation of Cyber Professionals

Inspiring a new generation of students to consider the cyber security field is the goal of a free summer day camp at the University of San Diego.

The GenCyber Academy of Excellence, funded by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation, takes place from July 25-29.

“In order to meet the cyber challenges facing the military, corporations and other U.S. institutions, we need to build a pipeline of young people ready to go into these fields,” said Winnie Callahan, director of the USD Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology (CCSET). “Capturing their interest and attention at an early age is the way to do that.”

USD’s CCSET is one of an estimated 80 universities nationally to receive funding for a camp and the only one in San Diego.

The program includes formal instruction from USD Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering faculty, hands-on experience with cyber defense tools, and field trips to local cyber security organizations and companies such as Playstation, Sony and Qualcomm.

Students will be engaged in a variety of exciting activities including responding to mock cyber attacks and hacking, designing systems to prevent them, as well as the basics of cyber security knowledge, skills and ethics.

More than 400 applications were received from all over the country for just 40 spots in the camp. Students selected range from those with lots of experience, including one who already holds a patent to those from underrepresented communities who will be encouraged to consider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. A group of 40 K-12 teachers also selected for the camp will learn how to incorporate cyber security principles into their curriculum on a regular basis.

— Liz Harman