Deaf and hard of hearing high schoolers learn about cybersecurity at UAH GenCyber Camp

Person working on a desktop computer.

A GenCyber camper works on a computer. The camp for deaf and hard of hearing students is hosting high school students from at least nine states.

Image courtesy of Michael Kulick

Fifteen deaf and hard of hearing high school students from at least nine states are learning about cybersecurity and computer technologies this week during the fifth annual GenCyber Camp for deaf and hard of hearing students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System.

“Due to the increase in cybersecurity threats, there’s been a rapidly growing demand for specialists with the background in cybersecurity skills,” says Steven Forney, a research associate at UAH’s Systems Management and Production Center who is helping conduct the camp and who is deaf himself.

The camp, being held by UAH’s Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education (CCRE), has attracted campers from states including New York, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama.

“This camp comes with the resources and skills that can help the deaf and hard of hearing students to become more familiar with different kinds of tools and systems and provide them the ability to perform various cybersecurity tasks with the right soft skills and mindset,” Forney says.

“Students will learn about online safety, cybersecurity careers, cryptography and more,” says Jesse Hairston, CCRE assistant director. “This year our focus is on digital forensics and programming microcontrollers.”

GenCyber is funded through a grant from the National Security Agency.

“We partner closely with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf Regional STEM Center and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to bring in students from across the country and make GenCyber a memorable experience for these campers,” Hairston says. “Our partnership with the FBI gives our campers experience with real-world tools as they learn about cybersecurity careers and online safety.”