Aug. 10, 2023

NDSU hosts cybersecurity camp for high school students 


The NDSU computer science department recently hosted its annual Bison Cyber Camp, which provided a week of fun-filled cybersecurity and computing education to approximately thirty-five high school students.

Students attended core sessions related to programming, robotics, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. They also selected electives to participate in, got to visit NDSU’s dining center and the NDSU campus Wellness Center’s pool. 

This was NDSU’s fifth year of offering cyber summer camps.  Instruction was provided by computer science faculty members Pratap Kotala, Simone Ludwig, Zahid Anwar, Joe Latimer and Jeremy Straub. Staff members Ben Bernard, Cayden Schmandt and Dylan Schaefer and students Anthony DeFoe, Elsa Bernard, Gavin Kestner, Danielle Hanson, Mason Kornezos, Ryan Patterson and Sydney Deaton also played integral roles in the camp. 

“Our cybersecurity and computing-focused summer camps provide students the opportunity to learn key cybersecurity and computing skills while having lots of fun,” said Jeremy Straub, NDSU assistant professor of computer science and director of the NDSU Cybersecurity Institute, who served as camp director. “The campers build great friendships within their cohort.  They also build and program robots, learn how to secure computers, are introduced to artificial intelligence and develop their programming skills. These are all key skills for today’s students.” 

The camp also provides leadership opportunities for NDSU students who serve in a variety of roles.  Undergraduate students led some activities and assisted in offering many others. 

“I enjoyed how enthusiastic the kids are.  I liked how motivated the kids were to participate and learn,” said NDSU undergraduate student Sydney Deaton.  “I enjoyed getting to know the students and watching them make friends.” 

The interaction with the college students is frequently mentioned by campers as one of their favorite parts of the camp.  It is also a positive experience for the college students. 

“These students are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to attend a camp like Bison Cyber. If I had an opportunity like this growing up, I would have taken it without any hesitation,” said NDSU undergraduate student Anthony DeFoe.  “Bison Cyber was really meaningful to me because I was finally standing on the ‘other side of the podium’ by sharing my experiences with computer science and college life.  Being able to get campers excited about computer science and higher education was an extremely fulfilling experience.” 

In 2022 and 2023, the camp was partially funded by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

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