MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – High school students from across Michigan are staying on Northern Michigan University’s campus this week to learn more about cyber security. The Upper Peninsula Cyber Security Institute is hosting a two week Gen-Cyber summer camp to give students a chance to learn more computer science and programming skills.
37 high schoolers from around the state were picked to participate in programming workshops and summer camp activities. The Institutes new director, Michael Sauer, says its a great opportunity for the students to gain career skills while working with others.
“The really import thing with these kids, especially coming out of covid is also working on team building principles,” Sauer said. “Working together interpersonal communication, and communications in difficult situations.”
This summer’s camp is free for the students through a $150,000 grant from The National Security Association. The students are now in their second week at the camp, one of the students said the first week was all about learning the basics, now they are focused on how to apply what they’ve learned.
“It really prepares them to start thinking about their career,” Sauer said. “Obviously a lot of these kids do have a cyber security or computer science interest, that’s why they’re here”
This week, they’re using their puzzle solving skills to hack into the infotainment system of a Mazda. Rylan Painter will be a Freshman at Michigan Tech in the fall, he says being able to figure out how things work is his favorite part of computer science.
“We’re basically playing with the files in the infotainment system.” Painter said. “Trying to see how we can change how the system works by changing the background on the main screen, changing some of the symbols for the apps or even changing the language that’s being used all to together.”
The camps goal is to educate the next generation to address the shortfall of skilled cybersecurity professionals in the growing field. GenCyber is an NSA program that is working with the NMU Seaborg Center’s Mi-STEM program to put on the camp.