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UALR, Forge Institute announces GenCyber Summer Camp

Little Rock, AR, July 1, 2021 – The Forge Institute has announced a partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Cyber Arena, the cybersecurity-focused lab within the Department of Computer Science. The initiative will support the first National Security Agency (NSA)-sponsored GenCyber Summer Camp in Arkansas for 7-12th graders. 

The free cybersecurity summer camp is part of an initiative that brings students, educators, industry, and state leaders together to drive interest and long-term investment in secondary school cybersecurity education. It is funded by a $100,000 grant from the NSA. It will take place July 12-23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily.

Forge Institute is providing instructors and guest speakers from our vast network of subject matter experts. We are also assisting with curriculum development by providing insight to spark the interest of the camp’s participants and encourage their pursuit of a career in cybersecurity. 

“This is going to be an exciting two weeks for all of the participants,” said Scott Anderson, executive director of Forge Institute. “They will have an opportunity to hear from experts in cybersecurity from across the nation and come away with more awareness of what a career in cybersecurity looks like.” 

Forge Institute has helped promote this opportunity and will be involved throughout the execution of the camp, along with post-camp activities to hopefully make this an annual event. 

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Arkansas students. I am hoping many will choose a career in IT or cybersecurity,” Anderson said. “Events like these are essential to growing the State’s pipeline of talent that our organizations need to protect their systems and networks. We are excited about Arkansas’s first GenCyber Summer Camp and our partnership with the awesome team at UA Little Rock, who is making cybersecurity education a priority for their faculty, students, and the State’s future workforce.”

“This program provides students with an engaging experience,” said Philip Huff, assistant professor of cybersecurity at UA Little Rock. “This unique camp ensures a fun time for students at all levels of technical ability. We want each student to come away feeling excited and confident about cybersecurity. The Cyber Arena provides experiences in phishing, ransomware, cryptography, forensics, and many more types of hands-on technologies. Plus, each day students reflect on ethical questions in cybersecurity and data privacy, learning through recent events. We hope to send campers back home pumped up to learn more about cybersecurity classes offered at their schools.” 

Organizations and parents interested in learning more should visit UA Little Rock’s Cyber Arena website at: http://eac-ualr.org/CyberGym

About Forge Institute
Forge Institute provides a number of workforce development courses and other offerings that empower our partners with cutting-edge technologies and capabilities to advance cyber operational objectives and enhance our national security posture. For more information, visit the Forge Institute at: https://www.forge.institute.

About UA Little Rock Cyber Arena
The primary goal of the UA Little Rock Cyber Arena is to remove barriers that prevent students from participating in high-quality cybersecurity attack and defense simulations, and the cost is chief among these barriers. The Cyber Arena drastically reduces the cost by making workouts as close to pay-for-use as possible. Workouts are stopped as soon as they are created. Students only start cloud resources when they are ready to work, and then all resources are automatically turned down when a student is no longer working. This reduces cloud computing costs to the minimum necessary for students to perform the mission.

About GenCyber
The GenCyber program provides summer cybersecurity camp experiences for students and teachers at the K-12 level. The goals of the GenCyber program are to:

  • Ignite, sustain, and increase awareness of K-12 cybersecurity content and cybersecurity post-secondary and career opportunities for participants through year-round engagement;
  • Increase student diversity in cybersecurity college and career readiness pathways at the K-12 level;
  • Facilitate teacher readiness within a teacher learning community to learn, develop, and deliver cybersecurity content for the K-12 classroom in collaboration with other nationwide initiatives.

The GenCyber program strives to be a part of the solution to the nation’s shortfall of skilled cybersecurity professionals. Ensuring that enough young people are inspired to utilize their talents in cybersecurity is critical to the future of our country’s national and economic security as we become even more reliant on cyber-based technology in every aspect of our daily lives.

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