A week-long STEM Academy camp to introduce high-school students to cybersecurity was held on the Oregon State University through campus last week. Although it was the first time the camp was held in Corvallis, it is the third year the camp has been operating.
The location was not happenstance. NW Cyber Camp co-founder, Zander Work, just completed his freshman year at Oregon State where he made connections with faculty and graduate students in cyber security who helped teach the courses. Instructors also included alumni and other industry representatives from NuScale Power, McAfee, Splunk, NetSPI, Cylance, and PKI Solutions.
“The students were awesome,” Work said. “Everyone was very engaged with the speakers and they asked a lot of good questions.”
The goal of the camp is to get more students interested in the field of cybersecurity which has over 300,000 unfilled job openings, according to Cyber Seek.
“The camp has definitely shown me a lot more opportunities for what I can do in the future with cybersecurity,” said Grace, one of the camp participants. “There are a lot of different fields you can go into like data science, machine learning, ethical hacking, or security work. That’s been really cool to learn about.”
Jayde, another camp participant, already has plans to join the Air Force and focus on cybersecurity.
“I really liked the hands-on activities and learning about real examples of hacking,” Jayde said.
Both students mentioned it was harder than they were expecting, but in a good way.
“The guest speakers have been fantastic. Everyone is knowledgeable and teach at a rigorous enough level that people don’t get bored,” Grace said.
The 20 students at the Oregon State camp came from Corvallis, Albany, Philomath and Lebanon. The camp overall hosted 110 students this summer including sites in Portland, Gresham, Wilsonville, and Bend.
Rakesh Bobba, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and the faculty organizer for the event said, “It was really fun. We would definitely like to host it at Oregon State again, and hopefully expand it to reach more students.”