Gencyber program offers enrollment for day camp

Sarah King and Lia Sykes were in the Gencyber program in June 2017.
By: 
DONNA SUMMERALL
Staff Writer

The Gencyber program in a partnership with BulldogBytes, is reaching out to girls from second through fifth grades to encourage them in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classes. They will sponsor a free camp June 25 - 29, at the Bryan Public Library.

"We will spend a lot of time talking about online safety," Sara Lee, director of the camp, said. "Children become active on social media early and they need to understand that not everyone who sends them a friend request is a friend. You can't begin too early explaining cyber safety."

Lee said this is the second year the program has been offered in West Point.

"We teach students programming and supply them with a robot," Lee said. "The hands - on approach works well and encourages girls to pursue the sciences. Today's young women have many more opportunities than previous generations. They can do and be anything."

The week-long day camp is free but students must apply online. There will be a light breakfast and an afternoon snack available.

"As they move into adolescence, we try to educate them," Lee said. "Catfishing and Cyber Bullying are not something that happens somewhere else. It happens everywhere. We give them ideas and tools to help keep them safe online."

Lee said this is the third year to host an elementary school group. The camp will be offered in Columbus, West Point, Jackson and Eupora. She said it is a wonderful program to be taken into the communities.

"Girls don't see a lot of STEM role models," Lee said. "We want them to understand that just because they don't see a lot of women in Tech fields, it doesn't mean they can't make it their field of study. Women are computer programers, scientists and are working in robotics and in Technological fields."

Lee said women her age grew up seeing working women as nurses, secretaries and teachers. The world has changed and women are now filling roles previously only occupied by men. GenCyber wants to show girls that through educational opportunities, the future is wide open to them.

Bulldog Bytes provides a pathway for our Mississippi youth to learn digital citizenship and computational thinking, skills that are vital to our digital economy. Bulldog Bytes is an important part of Mississippi State's work to develop a computing and cyber security workforce for the future.

Students at the introductory Bulldog Bytes camps learn cyber-security basics: security vulnerabilities, cyber crime, and how attention to safe online behavior is crucial to their personal safety.

The GenCyber program is providing summer cybersecurity camp experiences for girls in West Point June 25 - 29. The goals of the program are to increase interest in cybersecurity careers and diversity in the cybersecurity workforce of the nation, help all students understand correct and safe on-line behavior and how they can be good digital citizens.

Our vision is for the GenCyber program to be part of the solution to the Nation's shortfall of skilled cybersecurity professionals. Ensuring that enough young people are inspired to direct their talents in this area is critical to the future of our country's national and economic security as we become even more reliant on cyber-based technology in every aspect of our daily lives.

To ensure a level playing field, GenCyber camps are open to all student and teacher participants at no cost. Funding is provided jointly by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.

To apply for the GenCyber day camp, go to www.bulldogbytes.online/apply and click on Elementary Camp Application.

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