GenCyber Girls Camp: A Free Summer Program About Cybersecurity

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By Selena Templeton & Sean Martin

Selena Templeton and Sean Martin had the chance to chat with a few folks from an all-girls cybersecurity summer camp at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology called GenCyber Girls Camp. It’s a summer program and it’s free (thanks to the National Security Agency) to accepted participants in middle or high school girls (incoming grades 8-11).

The guests are:

  • Kelly Corwin - GenCyber camp director

  • Benjamin Garcia - one of the assistant camp instructors (also an SDSMT student)

  • Kendall (16 years old) and Liliana (12 years old) - two GenCyber campers

This is a beginner camp, so no previous experience is necessary. Sessions focus on core principles and practices of cybersecurity, robotics and programming, as well as emphasizing cyber ethics, online safety, cybersecurity and defense. 

Students also have the option of studying wireless security, advanced robotics, the internet of things, white hat hacking, unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D printing and careers in cybersecurity.

While there are many of these GenCyber camps across the country, students come from out of state to attend the South Dakota camp.

[Attending an all-girls cyber camp] makes me feel more comfortable, just because it’s nice to know there are other girls that are interested in the same thing that I am.
— Liliana, 12-year-old GenCyber camper


From the SD School/GenCyber Girls Camp website:

This camp is sponsored by the NSA Gen-Cyber program and is free for accepted students to attend. Students will need to complete the application process to be considered for acceptance.

Eligibility: Middle/High school girls (incoming grades 8-11)

Curriculum: Principles and Practices of Cybersecurity, Programming, and Robotics.

Additional Curriculum: TBD; may include: Raspberry Pi Programming, Advanced Robotics, Internet of Things, White Hat Hacking, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, 3D Printing, Capture the Flag, Social Media Safety, and more!  

Activities: Stargazing, Movie Night, Field Trip to Mt. Rushmore, Ice Cream Social, and more!

Learner Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of essential concepts and first principles in cybersecurity

  • Demonstrate an understanding of correct and safe online behavior

  • Demonstrate an understanding of current and potential cybersecurity and privacy issues in everyday

  • Demonstrate basic programming skills

To learn more about GenCyber Girls Camp, both from the director's point of view and from the students' point of view (whether they are thinking about a career in cyber or not), tune in to hear our conversation with Kelly, Benjamin, Kendall and Liliana! Enjoy!

About Kelly Corwin

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Kelly Corwin is an instructor at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

It was an introductory computer programming class at Clarion University that sparked my interest in computer science, and later on I realized I could integrate this training with my lifelong dream of teaching. I graduated from Clarion with a computer science major and math, information systems, and honors minors, then moved on to Ohio State University where I completed the MS in computer science and engineering. I have been gradually moving west across the US - from Pennsylvania, to Ohio, then to Illinois, and finally to South Dakota.

I have been passionate about teaching since the age of four, and I am thrilled to be living my dream each day in the classroom and in one-on-one meetings. I believe that every student can learn to think algorithmically and write basic computer programs, and I want to do my best to help each student reach their personal goals along with the goals of the courses I teach. I also believe that college is a time of transition and discovering personal responsibility for many students, so while I strive to create environments that facilitate trust, openness, curiosity, and learning, I encourage students to take responsibility for effectively utilizing the resources available through my courses and across campus. I have been delighted to teach several versions of introductory computer programming at the college level as well as teach high school students in the GenCyber summer camp program.

Find Kelly on LinkedIn.