For the fifth year in a row, students from Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester County school districts in South Carolina beat the summer heat by participating in a Cybersecurity Summer Camp hosted by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic, June 19-23.
This year the camp was held at Burke High School of Charleston County and consisted of more than 30 SSC Atlantic employee volunteers, along with others from Trident Technical College. All volunteers instructed courses and facilitated exercises in today’s information technology (IT) environment related to cybersecurity and national defense.
In an effort to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, and to enable the nation to meet its cyber defense needs, this year’s camp continued the tradition of giving high school students hands-on skills and experience geared toward encouraging interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
“You are the future of science and technology and your country is looking to hire you for the future,” said Dale Ormond, principle director, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering), and the event’s keynote speaker.
More than 135 students were able to choose from tracks such as cybersecurity, programming, robotics and computer network defense. Classes in these tracks had campers deconstructing computers, writing HTML, building robots, and a variety of other fun and educational activities.
The SSC Atlantic cybersecurity outreach team, led by Bill Littleton, camp director, developed six tracks that brought middle school campers along for the educational ride. SSC Atlantic professionals led “Junior Cyber Warrior” classes for 5th through 8th graders in areas such as computer deconstruction, command and control systems, building PowerPoint slides, internet security, LEGO® robotics, cyber espionage, snap circuits, scratch programming, trebuchet building and cybersecurity.
In a cyber-espionage challenge students had to recover key intelligence from a USB drive containing stolen information after searching a mannequin which represented a potential spy. Once they found the suspicious item on the spy, they examined the data for valuable secrets using popular cryptography and forensics tools.
Other campers enjoyed sessions like, Installing and Securing Linux; Networking, Installing and Securing Windows; Vulnerabilities and Threats; Java Script Design and Raspberry Pi. Students interested in engineering and robotics were treated to a VEX robotics program packed with hands-on project-based learning activities. Students also got to experiment with a small drone as they tried to navigate through various obstacles.
“It all starts with watching something and then asking, ‘How does that work or how did that happen?’” said SSC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Heller. “Then you find the answer, but to get to it more questions pop up and you have to find the answers to them, and suddenly you are on the road to becoming a scientist and engineer.”
This fifth annual Cybersecurity Summer Camp was supported with funding provided by the National Defense Education Program (NDEP), SSC Atlantic and Navy Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) funds.
SSC Atlantic develops, acquires, and provides life cycle support for command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, information technology and space capabilities. A leading edge Navy engineering center, SSC Atlantic designs, builds, tests, fields and supports many of the finest frontline C4ISR systems in use today, and those being planned for the future.