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GenCyber: Keesler, MSU empowers local K-12 teachers through cyber initiative

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trenten Walters
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler Air Force Base and Mississippi State University partnered to bring the National Security Agency’s GenCyber program to local K-12 teachers for a 5-day cyber camp here, June 3 - 7.

The NSA’s GenCyber program provides multiple cybersecurity experience camps, focused on students, teachers and a combination of both. These camps provide opportunities to gain more experience and increase student diversity in cybersecurity colleges and career readiness pathways at the secondary level.

This recent camp facilitated teacher readiness within a learning community to help them learn, develop, and deliver cybersecurity content for the secondary classroom in collaboration with other nationwide initiatives.

“The idea for this camp is to build capacity in teachers able to instruct cybersecurity back in their school districts,” said Shelly Hollis, MSU Director of Center for Cyber Education. “For many years, we’ve taught subjects such as digital citizenship, being safe online and not sharing your password. We wanted to give them an opportunity to go a little bit deeper to learn the real skills behind a cyber career.”

Nineteen teachers from local school districts learned about cybersecurity essentials: the use of Raspberry Pi, building and programming with VEX Go Robots and creating their own lesson plan they presented to their peers. They also toured tech training career fields where cybersecurity is prominent including the Air Traffic Control MaxSim at the 334th Training Squadron and the 333rd TRS’s Escape room and tunneling lab.

Aligned with the Mississippi Cyber Initiative and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, this collaboration raises cybersecurity awareness and allows for the exchange of the best practices, emerging trends and innovative approaches to cybersecurity education between the installation and local community.

“I can't wait to go back and do a whole unit on cybersecurity,” said Kayla Shouse, Prentiss County Career and Technical Computer Science and Engineering teacher. “Being here at Keesler this week has really impacted how I think about the military, cyber warfare and all the jobs that are out here for our students.”

For more information on GenCyber programs and how to participate, check out https://public.cyber.mil/gencyber/