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Educators Learn about Best Practices for Teaching Cybersecurity Content

August 23, 2018

With a goal of improving teaching methods for K-12 educators to deliver cybersecurity content, K – 12 educators from Kansas and around the country gathered at Eaton Hall in July for the 3rd annual GenCyber summer camp.

The week-long camp, funded by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation, covered topics such as cryptography, data and internet security, loT security, privacy/cyber bullying and curriculum development. There were also hands-on workshops and collaborative opportunities, including a Q & A session with industry security professionals. The camp concluded with a cybersecurity competition to test the participant’s knowledge and put it to use. The camp is directed by Professor Bo Luo, Professor Fengjun Li, Professor Alex Bardas and Professor Chris Seasholtz, with assistance from EECS students.

Many of the educators in attendance oversee CyberPatriot teams. CyberPatriots is a youth cyber education program created by the Air Force Association. The goal is to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. ​The CyberPatriot program, started in 2009, has grown from a few students competing in the initial competition to over 5,000 middle school and high school teams from all over the world in 2018.

The GenCyber Program is a National Security Agency and National Science Foundation funded program and provides grants for cybersecurity camps targeting students and teachers at the K-12 level. The goals of the program are to help students understand correct and safe on-line behavior, increase diversity and interest in cybersecurity and careers in the cybersecurity workforce and improve teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content for K-12 programs. GenCyber’s mission is to increase interest in cyber security careers and diversity in the cybersecurity workforce of the Nation.

As the demand for cyber security professionals continues to increase, the EECS Department has added faculty in that area as well as doubling the number of core cyber security classes. In January 2016, KU was awarded a $4.7 million, five-year grant that is part of the NSA’s effort to encourage students to pursue a cyber security career within the government. The grant supports CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service at the University of Kansas, and offers students up to two years of tuition and a generous stipend to finish their undergraduate or graduate degree, or three years of support for Ph.D. students. For more information about CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service check out www.sfs.ku.edu.

The EECS Department was also recently awarded National Security Agency funding to lead a national team of computer scientists, electrical and computer engineers, psychologists, sociologists and philosophers to develop technology that would strengthen security for the Internet of Things, including cell phones, Bluetooth devices, wearables and smart TV’s. Professor Perry Alexander is the principal investigator on this effort.

Summer 2018 GenCyber Camp

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