IUP Offering Free, Virtual Cybersecurity Camp for Middle and High School Students in February

Posted on 11/3/2020 2:09:12 PM

For the fifth consecutive year, Indiana University of Pennsylvania has secured funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency to offer its free cybersecurity camp, GenCyber, for middle and high school students.

The camp has traditionally been held during the summer months, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IUP GenCyber camp will be presented virtually and will not take place in the summer months.

IUP’s program will be held on five dates in February 2021: Feb. 6, 7, 13, 14, and 20 (Saturdays and Sundays). To be eligible for the program, students must be entering grade seven in fall 2020.

Deadline for application is November 18. Information about the camp and application forms are available at the GenCyber website.

More than 40 teachers and 200 middle and high school students have participated in IUP’s free camps since 2016 (programs in 2016, 2017, and 2018 included free programming for teachers). IUP has received more than $400,000 in funding from the NSF and NSA for the GenCyber program over the past five years.

IUP professor of Computer Science and director of IUP’s Institute for Cyber Security Waleed Farag directs the program.

This year’s camp will address essential security concepts, with an intention to strengthen interest in cybersecurity among middle and high school students in western Pennsylvania. Instruction will be delivered by a team of professors with varied backgrounds who have established expertise in cybersecurity teaching and research.
The camp will provide instruction, group activities, hands-on laboratory experiences, and informal instruction. Participants will learn hacking defense techniques and safe online behavior, along with information about opportunities for careers in cybersecurity.

Each student participant will receive a free Raspberry Pi 4 Kit upon completion of the camp sessions.

According to national experts, jobs in cybersecurity have grown 91 percent nationally, and the demand for cybersecurity workers is expected to rise to 6 million globally.

For more information, persons may email gen-cyber@iup.edu.

A recent Ponemon Institute study ranks IUP’s Computer Science Program among the top 25 percent of 183 American schools for cybersecurity education. The Ponemon Institute conducts independent research on digital privacy and security. 

This ranking reflects IUP history of recognition for excellence in the field of cybersecurity and information assurance. 

IUP is a National Cyber Security Alliance “Champion,” recognized by the National Cyber Security Alliance. IUP was recognized in a 2014 national survey of “Best Schools for Cybersecurity” by HP Enterprise Security, released in October 2015. The university was ranked in the top 25 percent of all cybersecurity programs in the nation. Only four Pennsylvania colleges and universities were rated in the top quartile.

The university is a recent recipient of a grant from the National Science Foundation to support women and minorities in cybersecurity. It has received several NSF grants related to this initiative. Over the past three years, IUP has received more than $1,250,000 from the Department of Defense for scholarships for IUP students who are enrolled in concentrated studies in the cybersecurity field as well as outreach activities.  

IUP was first selected as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, a recognition that the university continues to hold.  

IUP’s program is unique because of its interdisciplinary character, blending the disciplines of criminology and computer science. In addition to the development of computer programs and systems for cybersecurity, IUP’s program focuses on cybercrime detection, loss prevention, and how to collect the evidence to prosecute cybersecurity offenders.