Martinsville, VA – New College Institute (NCI) hosted its first annual CyberPatriot CyberCamp for middle and high school students this July with students earning top honors. Students from across the country engaged in interactive, fun sessions where they learned about the importance of cybersecurity and how to protect their personal devices and information from outside threats. The week concluded with a national championship amongst CyberCamps where NCI’s student campers ranked in the top 10 percent, and one student placed 10th out of 558 students.
“I really enjoyed doing the cybercamp,” said Katherine Johnson, participant in the NCI CyberPatriot CyberCamp. “It was empowering for me to be able to better understand the security measures that many companies have in place, and I felt better prepared for not just a career in cybersecurity, but any career.”
CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future. CyberCamps emphasize fun, hands-on learning of cybersecurity principles that are relevant and applicable to everyday life. NCI’s camp was sponsored by SAIC.
“COVID brought the cancellation of so many learning opportunities,” said Karen Jackson, NCI’s Interim Director. “We were thrilled to be able to offer this engaging STEM learning session for young people at a time when these opportunities are so needed. As our inaugural offering of this camp, I was very impressed with how well our students did.”
“I had the pleasure of attending NCI’s CyberPatriot CyberCamp this past week and it was amazing,” said Chloe Taylor, CyberPatriot CyberCamp participant and treasurer for the National Society of Black Engineers Martin-Henry County Jr. chapter.
Fifty-five students from 11 different states participated in NCI’s inaugural CyberCamp. Its curriculum included:
Monday: Introduction to the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, and an introduction to cybersecurity & careers, cyber ethics, online safety, how computers work, virtual machines, and cyber threats.
Tuesday: Cybersecurity principles, basic Windows security policies and tools, Windows file protections, auditing and monitoring.
Wednesday: Introduction to Linux, Ubuntu 16 terminology and concepts, basic GUI security, and intro to CLI.
Thursday: Basic command line security and intermediate Ubuntu security.
Friday: CyberPatriot Competition day. Students compete against their fellow campers on Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16 competition images.
“We are excited to see CyberCamps like the virtual camp hosted by NCI,” said Rachel Zimmerman, CyberPatriot‘s Director of Business Operations. “Modifying the camps to a virtual environment allowed camps to still take place this summer and allowed camps to be able to engage an audience that wouldn’t be possible with an in-person camp. We are thankful for organization’s like NCI who are helping support the CyberPatriot program.”
At the end of CyberCamp, each camper received a certificate of completion and CyberPatriot memorabilia.