News - Military

Cyber News Now: USC Aiken and SRNS bring CyberPatriot Camp to local middle school students

July 26th, 6:52 AM EDT

AIKEN (WFXG) - USC Aiken and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions teamed up to bring the world of cyber to local middle school students. Through the CyberPatriot Camp, kids got early exposure to cyber security skills and learned why those skills are important.

“Our goal here at the Ruth Patrick Center is to infuse the love of science, technology, engineering and math. So, by introducing them to more technology concepts, we’re able to complete our mission," said John Hutchens, Director of Special Programs.

Education helps prepare kids for the future, and Hutchens feels learning about cyber security is becoming increasingly important,

“Kids nowadays with virtual school, virtual programs, applications, technology at their hands all the time, they may not be aware of the cyber security threats that are out there,” said Hutchens.

That’s why the school rolled out its first Cyber Patriot Camp. It’s put on by the Air Force Association. The national competition is usually for high school students, but grades six through eight are now in the mix.

It’s a small group with only 10 students, but it's a camp with big interest.

“I wanted to learn more about cyber security and to see how fun it would be and it was really fun to do and to learn more about what my dad does,” said Mareli Cruz, Cyber Patriot Camp student.

“My dad actually enrolled me in it. It was actually pretty fun though,” said Dallis Odom, Cyber Patriot Camp student.

The kids learned entry level skills, like security policies and cyber ethics. Then, they competed with more than 100 other teams across the country.

Hutchens feels the learning opportunity marks a bright beginning for the kids’ future.

“It is such a new topic for everybody that if we can get them interested at an early age, then they can continue their interest in cyber.”

USC Aiken plans to bring the Cyber Patriot Camp back next year with a twist. Next time, they hope to introduce students to local experts to see how cyber security plays a role in our community. They also hope this will introduce them to potential career paths. 

Copyright 2021 WFXG. All rights reserved.