RIPLEY COUNTY STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT CYBERSECURITY AT CYBER CAMP 101

RIPLEY COUNTY, Indiana – Genesis: Pathways to Success (GPS), Northern Kentucky University, Ivy Tech Community College and local school corporations piloted Cyber Camp 101 at Jac-Cen-Del High School June 27-29.

Fifteen students from five area schools attended the camp including South Ripley, Milan, St. Louis School, Jac-Cen-Del and Batesville. Students learned how to protect against hacks, counter hack intruders, ethically hack and how to maintain a safe web environment. In this hands-on experience, students worked with Raspberry Pi’s and learned from cybersecurity experts including Sgt. Matt Simmons of the Indiana State Police, Christopher Nichols from Hill-Rom, Michael Carr from Hillenbrand and Kevin McGuire from Enhanced Telecommunications.

“These campers were outstanding,” Scot Cunningham, Northern Kentucky University, said. “They quickly picked up concepts that I typically cover in freshmen and sophomore college classes. I am hopeful that next year our Ripley County campers can participate in the national Cyber Patriots program.”

Cyber Camp 101 was funded by an Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN) grant to the Ripley County Community Foundation’s GPS initiative. The purpose of the EWIN grant is to establish a strategy to develop a workforce with the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities required for careers in cybersecurity. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of individuals with these skills is projected to grow 18 percent between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Ripley County schools are stepping up to the challenge with Ripley County students across every district being immersed into a full computer science and information technology culture. Starting as young as pre-K and kindergarten, students are developing digital citizenship, ethical behavior, problem solving and critical thinking skills. These character-building traits are emphasized as students increase knowledge in academic subjects such as algorithmic problem solving, network diagrams and hierarchy and abstraction in computing.

Cyber Camp 101 reinforces lessons learned in school and emphasizes the need for individuals with cybersecurity knowledge and skills while providing students with an overview of postsecondary training required for careers in cybersecurity.

“We’re thankful that Ripley County students are able to participate in programs like this that will continue to propel our community forward,” Obendorf said. “Thanks to the EWIN grant funding through the University of Indianapolis Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), this three-day camp was free for Ripley County middle school students.”

Alyssa Moorman from South Ripley Schools, Brandy Hicks from Milan Schools, Jessica Imel from St. Louis School, Amelia Comer from Jac-Cen-Del Schools, Jackie Huber from Batesville Schools and Cheryll Obendorf, GPS director, coordinated the camp. Scot Cunningham from Northern Kentucky University and Joseph Kennedy from Ivy Tech Community College developed the curriculum for the camp and facilitated learning for the camp.

“It was an honor to be included as an instructor for the Cyber Camp,” Kennedy said. “We covered some advanced cybersecurity topics in a short period of time, but the students absorbed it well and were able to demonstrate this knowledge during our final-day competition. I’m looking forward to seeing how the students progress in this much-needed field and hope to instruct them at Ivy Tech Community College in the future.”

Campers completing Cyber Camp 101 are encouraged to consider participating in Cyber Camp 201 in the summer of 2018.

Genesis: Pathways to Success is an initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation dedicated to empowering students to succeed in STEM by developing programs in areas such as engineering, agriculture, health science and technology as well as by supporting events that encourage students to apply curious minds and critical thinking skills to real-world opportunities. GPS generates ongoing and meaningful dialogue and collaboration to prepare a talent pipeline for a globally dynamic marketplace. For additional information, please visit www.genesisp2s.org.