Students gain knowledge about cybersecurity

Submitted photoCamp participants toured the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center.

Students from Ripley County received hands-on experience in the field of cybersecurity through the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Camp held for middle and high school students interested in technology. Hosted by Genesis: Pathways to Success at Jac-Cen-Del High School, the camp provided essential knowledge in cyber security, computer networking and security and information technology, according to GPS executive director Cheryll Obendorf.

The AFA CyberPatriot curriculum provides a deeper look into standard computer programming lessons, and students are able to reinforce this information through challenges and competitions. During the camp, students worked to defend their computers from cyber-attacks while strengthening their responsiveness and problem-solving skills. Along with the challenges and competitions, students were also able to learn about career options in the field of cybersecurity and the postsecondary training required to enter this career path.

An off-site tour and information session at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center showed students the facilities and operations that are supported by their cyber security staff, and students were able to interact with the experienced employees. Simulations of infrastructure failure, wartime security and penitentiary security were presented, and representatives strongly emphasized the need for bright students in the cyber security field. Students learned about the Cyber Academy at MUTC, which is offered by Ivy Tech Community College.

“The cyber security camps are an example of Ripley County schools’ success as a leader in Indiana,” commented Brandy Hicks, Milan Community School Corp. instructional technologist. “The camp allows us to create a pathway to put highly employable skills at the forefront of student learning. There is no hotter area in the tech industry right now than cyber security. I was proud to see students successfully working through cyber modules in the camp. It’s important to develop an action plan to build community success, and that is what we’ve done for the last three years in implementing a cyber security camp to home-grow cyber security focused students in Ripley County.”

Northern Kentucky University professor Scot Cunningham was the instructor for the camp. Assistance in the classroom was provided by Hicks; Amelia Comer, Jac-Cen-Del High School computer science instructor; Cole Vanderpohl, a recent Hanover College graduate; and Jackie Huber, Batesville Community School Corp. director of technology curriculum.

Genesis: Pathways to Success, Northern Kentucky University, Ivy Tech Community College, Hanover College and local school corporations joined together to offer the camps with the help of generous sponsors. Duke Energy, Hillrom, Southeastern Indiana REMC, College of Informatics at Northern Kentucky University, Jac-Cen-Del Community Schools and the Ripley County Community Foundation all showed their dedication to a brighter future in technology for the youth of Ripley County through their sponsorship.