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Free Cybersecurity Camps Offered to Wyoming Teachers, Students

April 9, 2018
 Young student types code into computer program in classroom
Laramie Junior High School student Dane Oliver uses a coding program to maneuver a programmable robot at the UW Robotics Club in 2015.

Teachers and middle- and high-school students throughout Wyoming can attend a free weeklong educational camp this summer to learn about computer science, hosted by the University of Wyoming.

Recently, the UW Department of Computer Science received a grant from two federal agencies to fund the outreach activity. The National Security Agency (NSA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) jointly awarded UW with a $100,000 grant for “COWPOKES-CS: Cybercamp Of Wyoming” program. The goals of the program are to increase interest in cybersecurity careers nationwide, help students understand safe on-line behavior, and improve teaching methods for cybersecurity content in K-12 curricula.

The NSA/NSF GenCyber program provides summer cybersecurity camp experiences for students and teachers at the middle and high school levels. It will be the first GenCyber camp in Wyoming, with weeklong camps in Riverton (July 2-6) and Laramie from July 16-20. Computer Science’s Director of Cybersecurity Education and Research Mike Borowczak and School of Teacher Education Associate Professor Andrea Burrows will administer the camps.

The grant will impact 100 Wyoming participants and allows the camps to be hosted free of charge for attendees. It will include 80 middle- and high-school students and 20 K-12 teachers, with 40 students and 10 teachers at each camp. The curriculum includes a basic introduction to concepts in the morning and afternoon lab sessions with hands-on activities in areas like password cracking, robotics, medical devices and data mining.

COWPOKES-CS is open to any middle- or high-school student, regardless of prior knowledge or experience. All materials and lunch throughout the entire week are provided and students will learn about computer science, cybersecurity, and computational thinking in a fun, welcoming atmosphere. At the conclusion of the camp, students can take home a tiny, programmable computer called a micro:bit, as well as any other materials they create during the week.

Any middle- or high-school educator can apply, and can use the camp as free professional development experience. Each participant will receive a competitive weekly stipend, and UW will provide materials for teachers to use in classrooms. Teachers will be able to use curriculum developed during the camp for use in their home districts. Those who wish to integrate computer science and cybersecurity within their existing curriculum will be given preference in the application process.

For more information or to apply, visit the COWPOKES-CS website.

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