San Juan College hosts youth cybersecurity camp
The program is sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.
FARMINGTON — A free summer camp focusing on teaching San Juan County students about cybersecurity is in high demand as San Juan College officials work to accommodate everyone who applies.
San Juan College is hosting two GenCyber Summer Training Camps this summer for students in fourth- through 12th-grade to expand their knowledge about cybersecurity, according to Dean of School of Business, IT, and Workforce Development Bradley Purdy.
The program aims to increase interest in learning about cybersecurity and safe on-line behavior — and developing possible career interests in the field, according to the GenCyber website. It's sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.
College officials are working to expand its cybersecurity offerings including revising its IT program to allow students to earn industry professional certifications in the field, Purdy said.
The college is currently pursuing plans to be recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the NSA.
"We're trying to focus as much as we can encourage the community to understand cyber security," Purdy said.
The camp, scheduled for June 26 to 30, is full and closed to applicants.
Purdy said the second camp, scheduled for July 10 to 14, is nearly full, but he is working with area organizations and the San Juan College Foundation to try and accommodate all the interested children.
"I'm confident we can handle everyone that applies, but it's not a guarantee," Purdy said.
A grant from the NSA worth about $71,000 helped fund the week-long cybersecurity exploratory program to teach as much as they can about cybersecurity, Purdy said.
The camp will focus on hands-on activities and experiential learning to learn about cybersecurity concepts including computer safety, data encryption and ethical hacking, along with network security, threats and vulnerabilities.
Each student attending the camp gets a Raspberry Pi – a small computer – to learn how to install an operating system and provide a hands-on approach to learning how computers function, Purdy said.
Students will also learn how to code and program a Sphero robotic ball.
Sphero recently produced a model of its robotic ball designed as the Droid BB-8 from the film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
There will be presentations and activities in the afternoon, including an FBI agent who will discuss how cybersecurity affects the students and how the agency works to protect important data, Purdy said.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.
If you go
What: San Juan College GenCyber Summer Training Camp
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from June 26 to 30 and July 10 to 14
Where: San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington