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Harford Community College gets grant to offer GenCyber Smart Camp for middle school students

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Security Agency (NSA) recently awarded a grant to Harford Community College to fund the College’s “GenCyber Smart Life, Smart Home, Smart Play (GenCyber Smart Camp),” a one-week, non-residential cybersecurity summer day camp.

The grant will enable HCC to offer two one-week sessions this summer to rising seventh- and eighth-graders, ages 11 to 14, at no cost to increase their interest in cybersecurity, help them understand safe online behavior, and teach them how to apply GenCyber Cybersecurity First Principles. The camps will run July 15 to 19 and Aug. 12 to 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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The GenCyber Smart Camps will help activate the next generation of cyber defenders, helping them shift from being users to becoming makers, coders, developers, and programmers, according to a news release from the college.

Each day at the GenCyber Smart Camp, students will investigate, program, and hack familiar Internet of Things (IOT) devices such as fitness trackers, Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, and Amazon Echoes through individual and small group hands-on projects. The projects will address safe digital behavior, cybersecurity ethics, data security, and privacy through experiments with common devices.

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HCC plans to recruit students who are new to cybersecurity activities and ideas, to support the broader aim of attracting students from underserved populations to STEM to create a more diverse program, according to the news release.

Applications for the camp are due on June 3 and can be accessed by visiting Harford.edu/GenCyber. Only parents of selected applicants will be notified on or about June 17 as to their child’s acceptance into the camp.

For more information, contact Dawn Grissom at dgrissom@harford.edu or 443-412-2364.

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