by Jake Siewert
The National Science Foundation has awarded Whatcom Community College a grant of $200,000 to hold Cyber Security Camps for high school students in the area.
Whatcom is also launching four new courses this fall, which would teach students to create “apps” for the Android, iPhone, and Windows-based mobile platforms. Popular applications like the interactive game “Angry Birds” started as a mobile application, before seeing larger growth as a computer game, and just recently a board game. These classes are for students or professionals with a computer programming background looking to advance their knowledge of the mobile application field. The mobile app development class will open for enrollment in August.
For students who are interested in getting involved with computers at Whatcom earlier than next fall, the cyber security camp program currently has 24 high school students as well as 12 Whatcom students participating. Whatcom is the only college in Washington state certified by the National Security Agency and the Committee on National Security Systems to teach courses in Cyber Security.
These camps are intended to expose students to career options in information security, which is a growing and high-demand field in the U.S. and worldwide, says the Whatcom Cyber Security Center website.
Corrinne Sande, Whatcom Community College’s Computer Information Systems Program Coordinator, teaches the campers over six weeks. Sande is actively involved in Cyber Watch, an NSF funded project designed to develop security awareness, career pathways, professional development, and dissemination of best practices related to CyberSecurity. Students in Sande’s computer information classes, who also help out with the IT Booth at Whatcom enjoy her enthusiasm for her work.
“She’s a geek,” said Guy Bates, “a Cisco networking guru, and she thinks it’s all fun.”
There is a rigorous application process, and students eligible for the camp are selected based on GPA, stated goals, an essay, and teacher recommendation. Students who actively participate in and attend all sessions as well as complete all assignments can be awarded a $200 stipend, as well as possible school credit.
The current cyber security camp filled up quickly and began on January 28. The campers are working hard and their final test comes on March 17, where they will participate in a CyberSecurity competition against each other.