The third year of a summer camp to teach local high school students about cybersecurity starts next week.
The week one sessions of this year’s Cybercore Summer Camp, a collaboration between Idaho National Laboratory, the College of Eastern Idaho and numerous local teachers and university professors, will be held at CEI from July 22 to 26. Week two runs from July 29 to Aug. 2. The Idaho STEM Action Center provided a $20,000 grant to fund the camp.
“It’s one of several events that we support and sponsor throughout the year that’s really working to build up the workforce of the future in this particular area, in cybersecurity and information technology,” said INL spokesman Ethan Huffman.
This is the first year where the camp will be broken into a first, more basic week and a second, more advanced one, said University of Idaho Professor Michael Haney, who is helping to organize it. This is also the first year it is being opened up to some local middle and high-school teachers who want to learn more about cybersecurity.
The lessons in the first week, Haney said, presume no background in programming other than some basic knowledge of how to use computers. The third of the four days the students will tour some INL facilities, and the first week wraps up when the students build a science project on the Friday.
“CEI funded a lot of the hardware purchases and is hosting the space for the first week,” Haney said.
The second week, Haney said, is structured similarly but presumes students have already learned the basics in the first week, and students will learn about cybersecurity and hacking in a bit more detail.
Huffman said millions of cybersecurity-related jobs go unfilled worldwide because there aren’t enough people with the needed skills.
“Here at the laboratory we face the same challenges,” he said. “We have dozens of cybersecurity positions that are open and available, and oftentimes we can’t find the folks necessary to fill them with the technical background. We recruit internationally, but we would love to see more Idaho students or Idaho Falls students having a career at the laboratory doing nationally significant work.”
Huffman pointed to the Cybercore Integration Center, one of the new two buildings under construction at INL’s Idaho Falls campus, as an example of the importance of getting people interested and trained in cybersecurity work. The buildings are expected to be done in October.
“We’re looking to fill that building with cybersecurity researchers,” Huffman said.
The camp costs $95 per week and runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first week will be at Building 3, also known as the John E. Christofferson Multi-Purpose Complex, at CEI, while the second is at University of Idaho Center for Higher Education on Science Center Drive.
Haney said there is room for 40 students to sign up. People who are interested can call 208-535-5345 or register online at ceiworkforce.augusoft.net. (Click on “Youth Programs” and “High School Age” on the menu on the left).
Editor's note: This article has been updated to note the Idaho STEM Action Center's involvement.