07:57 AM

Applications Open for 2019 Midwest GenCyber Camp

For the fourth consecutive year, a nationally recognized cybersecurity camp, called Midwest GenCyber (MGC), will introduce Omaha-area students to the fast-growing field.

The free, week-long camp hosted by Bellevue University and Metropolitan Community College, is currently accepting applications. The session will run June 24-28. Thirty camp slots are available and student applicants should be entering grades 9-12 in the fall.

Funded by a grant through the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, GenCyber is a national program. In Omaha, the MGC camp will take place at Metropolitan Community College (Camp Days 1 and 2) and at Bellevue University (Camp Days 3, 4 and 5).

The program offers students fun, hands-on activities like making and breaking apps to explore security vulnerabilities, conducting forensic investigations, and a “capture the flag” challenge to get students interested in careers in computing and cybersecurity.

For several years running, Midwest GenCyber has been recognized as one of the top cyber camps in the country for its innovative structure, engaging curriculum, and impact on the community.

Gary Sparks, MCC cybersecurity program director and an adjunct faculty member at Bellevue University, will serve as the Midwest GenCyber program director. He says students will learn key concepts by doing and gain exposure to all kinds of cybersecurity careers. Professionals working in the cybersecurity field will also participate in the camp as guest speakers each day.

“We are seeing this camp build a pipeline of students who have an interest and foundation in key cyber concepts,” Sparks said. “We estimate our camp content has reached nearly 1,000 young adults over the past three years, helping us meet the growing regional and national need for cybersecurity education and practitioners.”

This year’s theme involves creating and programming Internet of Things (IoT) devices; exploring cybersecurity devices like drones and sensors; and putting computer forensics skills to use.

Doug Rausch, program director for cybersecurity at Bellevue University and lead instructor for the camp, says a key part of the camp’s success is how it helps students master cybersecurity concepts as they work alongside their peers.

“Students will come together on the last day of camp for a large capture-the-flag competition, including drones and forensic challenges,” Rausch said. “It’s a fun, hands-on way to reinforce lessons from the camp.”

For more information, visit midwestgencyber.com.