Schools receive CyberCamp Funds

Published 9:30 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lunenburg County Public Schools have received $62,500 in state funding to implement a program to encourage students to study cyber security.

A Feb. 18 letter from the Virginia Department of Education notified the division that it received a grant to implement the Virginia CyberCamp 2016 Program.

Lunenburg was one of 32 school systems selected.

“The primary purpose of this program is to increase awareness of careers in cyber security and inform students about the vast opportunities in the workplace,” said the letter from Steven R. Staples, the state’s superintendent of public education. “The cybercamps will serve as models for

building the pipeline for (kindergarten through twelfth grade) education to meet Virginia’s cyber security workforce demands.”

Lunenburg’s cybercamp program is for rising 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-grade students who are interested in cyber security careers. The camp will be held June 14-16, 20-23 and 27-29.

“This is a great thing for our students, school, and community,” said Natalie Coronas, assistant principal at the high school.

During the camp, students will increase their cyber literacy through hands on experiences in STEM activities consisting of curriculum, LEGO and VEX EDR robotics, training and research using computers and career planning tools, information provided by the school system said. There will also be guest speakers from cyber security-related businesses, and two field trips consisting of tours and information sessions with staff in the security department of First Citizens Bank in Raleigh, N.C. and with Bill Sammler at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service office in Wakefield.

Transportation and meals — breakfast, lunch, and two snacks — will be provided to the participating students who are admitted into the summer program.  At the culmination of the camp, recognition will be given to students who successfully complete it, and parents, school and community leaders will be invited to an awards ceremony where the students will be presented with a certificate.

Students wishing to participate in the camp must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, complete an application, obtain a teacher recommendation, participate in a possible interview with the camp committee, and have excellent attendance and discipline records at school, the school system said. Committee members will rank all applicants and the top 25 applicants will be admitted to the camp. Interested students may obtain an application from the office beginning March 1 and all applications will be due by a deadline to be announced in order to be considered.

Cybersecurity is a growing field of which Gov. Terry McAuliffe hopes to put Virginia at the forefront.

In May 2014, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the members of the Virginia Cyber Security Commission, a group established by executive order to bring public and private sector experts together to make recommendations on how to make Virginia a leader in cyber security.

The extensive presence of state, federal, military and private cyber security businesses, assets and activities throughout Virginia poises the state “to take advantage of its unique resources,” the executive order noted.

“While rapidly advancing technologies create substantial security risks, they also present significant opportunities for producing more efficient and protected proprietary networks, strengthening the commonwealth’s cyber security framework, and advancing vital prospects for economic development.”