U.S. Cyber Challenge Announces 2011 Cyber Camps

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More than 200 participants from across the country will attend weeklong cyber security training in July and August

The U.S. Cyber Challenge today announced the 2011 Cyber Camps, a series of weeklong “boot camps” designed to provide attendees with intensive training and other opportunities to enhance their skills and become the nation’s next generation of cyber security professionals.

The camps will take place in California (July 11-15) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Maryland (July 11-15) at the Community College of Baltimore County, Essex; Missouri (July 25-29) at the University of Missouri, Columbia; Virginia (August 1-5) at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Richmond; and Delaware (August 8-12) at Delaware Technical and Community College, Dover. The Maryland camp is for high school students only; all other camps include those who are age 18 or older. The California, Missouri and Virginia camps are regional, open to eligible participants from those states not hosting their own camps.

The curriculum includes in-depth workshops on a range of topics, including penetration testing, reverse engineering, and forensics, all taught by college faculty, SANS Institute senior instructors and other cyber security experts. The week will be capped off by a virtual “capture the flag” competition and awards ceremony on the last day, with each member of the winning team receiving a $1,000 scholarship provided by (ISC)2

In addition to providing expert training for participants to improve their skills and employment potential, the Cyber Camps will provide attendees the opportunity to engage with major technology companies and government agencies at onsite career fairs for internship and employment opportunities.

Attendees to the invitation-only camps were selected based in part on their scores from Cyber Quests, an online competition offered through the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) in April that drew more than 800 participants from approximately 400 schools nationwide. Cyber Camp invitations were also extended to individuals who demonstrated proficiency in other U.S. Cyber Challenge competitions, such as the Cyber Foundations, CyberPatriot, NetWars, and the DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge.

“We have a tremendous cadre of talented individuals attending the camps this summer,” said Renée N. McLaughlin, Executive Director of U.S. Cyber Challenge. “We wanted to attract those with the most aptitude and potential, and our campers range from undergraduates and graduate students, to working professionals looking to enhance their existing skills, or transition into the cyber security and technology fields. This combination of skills, experience and passion will provide the perfect mix for an incredible learning environment.”

The need for skilled cyber security practitioners, researchers and mentors has never been more critical, as the volume and complexity of cyber attacks, vulnerabilities and online scams continue to escalate. Industry experts agree on the importance of recruiting and retaining individuals capable of preventing, detecting and responding to attacks on our information systems and overall digital infrastructure.

The Cyber Camps are part of several initiatives underway through USCC, a national coalition focused on identifying and developing cyber security talent to meet the country’s critical cyber security workforce needs.

National camp sponsorships are provided by i2, Juniper Networks, SE Solutions and SecureInfo. The Association for Federal Information Resources Management, the Center for Internet Security and the SANS Institute are providing national scholarship and educational support.

In addition to providing the “capture the flag” scholarships, (ISC)2 is supporting the Cyber Camps through a sustaining alliance, offering opportunities for camp attendees to participate in security credentialing processes, providing courseware and materials to teachers and schools, and other in-kind support.

“We are building on the successful pilot camps conducted last year in California, Delaware, and New York,” said Karen S. Evans, USCC National Director. “We appreciate the generous support of our sponsors, which has enabled us to grow the program since last year, expanding from three states and 55 campers to a program open to all 50 states and U.S. Territories, with more than 200 campers. We’ve also been able to provide scholarships to the top performing students to cover their costs of participation, along with some financial assistance for travel. We thank our sponsors and partners for making it possible for so many to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”

For more information about the Cyber Camp program and each of the specific camps, visit U.S. Cyber Challenge online at http://www.uscyberchallenge.org.

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About U.S. Cyber Challenge:
The mission of the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), a division of the Center for Internet Security, is to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. USCC's goal is to find 10,000 of America's best and brightest to fill the ranks of cybersecurity professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.

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