Aug. 24, 2023

NDSU hosts advanced cybersecurity camp for high school students 


The NDSU computer science department recently hosted its first Bison Cyber Explorers camp for high school students this summer.  To attend, campers needed to either have existing programming or cybersecurity skills or have attended one of NDSU’s previous Bison Cyber camps. 

The camp provided a hands-on cybersecurity-related programming experience, mentored by NDSU undergraduate computer science students Anthony DeFoe and Gavin Kestner, who both recently completed their freshman year.  Campers participated in a week-long cybersecurity software development challenge.  Most learned a new programming language and all learned about the software development process. 

“Bison Cyber Camps are an incredible opportunity for aspiring computer science students,” said DeFoe, who mentored the campers.  “Campers advanced their problem-solving skills with hands on programming and real-world research experience.  It was such a great opportunity to work with campers on advanced concepts that they normally wouldn't learn until the end of their bachelor's degree. This gives campers a start in the world of computer science.” 

During the camp, students explored concepts related to vehicle autonomy and the detection of attempts to hack vehicles.  They evaluated multiple potential ways to detect vehicle cyber attacks and selected one to implement.  They also learned about key concepts related to artificial intelligence, the software design and development processes, programming and cybersecurity intrusion detection. 

“The camp was a great chance for building teamwork skills with the students,” said Kestner, a camp mentor.  “Mentoring the students and showing them a new coding language was an excellent opportunity for both the students and me.  The kids were able to work together and, by the end of the week, have a fantastic piece of work/research that is a good resume piece.” 

The campers also learned professional communications skills and got a tour of a datacenter on campus.  

NDSU has hosted cybersecurity summer camps for five summers; however, this is the fist time it has offered a camp targeted specifically for advanced students. 

“The new Bison Cyber Explorers camp builds on our existing Bison Cyber camps and provides an opportunity for additional learning for more advanced students,” said Jeremy Straub, associate professor of computer Science and the director of the NDSU Cybersecurity Institute. “It is an opportunity for advanced high school students to learn through real-world, hands-on activities and make friends with others who have similar interests, experience and aptitude.” 

The camp was partially funded by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. 

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