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Forge Institute Partners with UA Little Rock’s Cyber Arena to support NSA-sponsored Cybersecurity Summer Camp in Arkansas

Philip Huff, left, and Sandra Leiterman, right, head the UA Little Rock CyberGym. Photo by Ben Krain.
Philip Huff, left, an assistant professor of cybersecurity, and Sandra Leiterman, right, manager head the UA Little Rock Cyber Arena. Photo by Ben Krain.

The Forge Institute has announced a partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Cyber Arena, the cybersecurity-focused lab within the Department of Computer Science. The initiative will support the first National Security Agency (NSA)-sponsored GenCyber Summer Camp in Arkansas for 7th-12th graders.

The free cybersecurity summer camp is part of an initiative that brings educators, industry, and state leaders together to drive interest and long-term investment in secondary school cybersecurity education. It is funded by a $100,000 grant from the NSA.

“This program provides students with an engaging experience,” said Philip Huff, assistant professor of cybersecurity at UA Little Rock. “This unique camp ensures a fun time for students at all levels of technical ability. We want each student to come away feeling excited and confident about cybersecurity. The Cyber Arena provides experiences in phishing, ransomware, cryptography, forensics, and many more types of hands-on technologies. Plus, each day students reflect on ethical questions in cybersecurity and data privacy, learning through recent events. We hope to send campers back home pumped up to learn more about cybersecurity classes offered at their schools.”

Forge Institute is providing instructors and guest speakers from its vast network of subject matter experts. The organization is also assisting with curriculum development by providing insight to spark the interest of the camp’s participants and encourage their pursuit of a career in cybersecurity.

“This is going to be an exciting two weeks for all of the participants,” said Scott Anderson, executive director of Forge Institute. “They will have an opportunity to hear from experts in cybersecurity from across the nation and come away with more awareness of what a career in cybersecurity looks like. This is a fantastic opportunity for Arkansas students. I am hoping many will choose a career in IT or cybersecurity. Events like these are essential to growing the state’s pipeline of talent that our organizations need to protect their systems and networks. We are excited about Arkansas’s first GenCyber Summer Camp and our partnership with the awesome team at UA Little Rock, who is making cybersecurity education a priority for their faculty, students, and the state’s future workforce.”

Forge Institute has helped promote this opportunity and will be involved throughout the execution of the camp, along with post-camp activities to hopefully make this an annual event.