Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic teamed up with Charleston County School District and Trident Technical College for the 7th Annual Palmetto Cybersecurity Summer Camp at Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science June 17-21.
Close to 150 students attended the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-themed camp geared at engaging students early and providing awareness into the various career opportunities focused on cybersecurity and engineering.
“At NIWC Atlantic we have long stressed and understand the urgency of growing the workforce with people that understand the ‘1s’ and ‘0s’—the data,” said Capt. Wesley Sanders, NIWC Atlantic commanding officer. “The Navy and our nation need to be leaders in cybersecurity and this is one onramp into that career field.”
During a kickoff event with students, Sanders emphasized the importance of the camp in providing experiences to encourage students’ lifelong learning goals.
“Many of the skills learned over this week are skills previously offered at the post-collegiate level. We started introducing them at a much earlier stage because we realize it’s an opportunity to impact your life, give you exposure to cybersecurity and set you on a positive track,” said Sanders.
Subject matter experts, local businesses, community organizations and multiple volunteers ensured a productive atmosphere focused on learning, creativity and hands-on engagement for the students.
This year’s theme “Power Up with Cyber” offered students six learning tracks based on their interests and previous experience in cyber. Learning sessions within each track offered a variety of topics for students, to include hands-on lessons in network cabling, snap circuits, computer deconstruction, programming, forensics fundamentals and more.
The learning tracks offer opportunities for students to identify focus areas that could ultimately lead them into the next level of study and eventually into a STEM career.
During closing ceremonies, students and parents heard more from NIWC Atlantic leadership and received encouragement in pursuing careers in STEM.
“Find what you are passionate about and give it everything you’ve got,” said William Littleton, NIWC Atlantic STEM cyber lead. “If it is cyber security or something you learned this week, I hope that you pursue it and seek out people who will help you and move you along in that direction.”
At the end of the ceremony, students listened to parting remarks from NIWC Atlantic’s Executive Officer, Cmdr. Jeffrey Williams, and received various awards for camp participation.
“When I stand here today, I see the future – future leaders, scientists and engineers,” said Williams. “The things you did today have real world application.”
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.