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College of Engineering | July 3, 2023

UTEP Empowers Young Minds at AFA CyberCamp to Become Cyber Defenders of the Future

UTEP Empowers Young Minds at AFA CyberCamp


The Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) recently hosted an impressive group of young minds at the AFA CyberCamp, welcoming more than 100 middle and high school students from various schools across El Paso. This two-session camp aimed to equip students with essential cyber safety knowledge, cyber ethics, and critical network security skills and tools. Led by UTEP Computer Science students, participants enjoyed more than 20 hours of free cybersecurity training, immersing themselves in a hands-on curriculum developed by the American Air Force (AFA) CyberPatriot Team.

Throughout the camp, the atmosphere buzzed with excitement as the students embraced the role of IT administrators, delving into simulated network environments to hunt down cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Their energy and determination during the team-based competition were truly commendable, showcasing their passion for the cybersecurity field.

The AFA CyberCamp highlighted UTEP’s commitment to promoting STEM education and providing valuable resources for students interested in pursuing careers in cybersecurity. By offering these immersive and comprehensive programs, the college aims to inspire young minds and cultivate the next generation of cyber defenders.

"The AFA CyberCamp has been an incredible opportunity for students to dig into the world of cybersecurity and gain valuable skills in a hands-on environment. As the Chair of the Department of Computer Science, I am thrilled to see the passion and engagement that the participants have displayed throughout the camp,” said Salamah Salamah, Ph.D. “By equipping these young minds with essential cyber safety knowledge, network security skills, and cyber ethics, we are shaping the next generation of cyber defenders. This camp has not only inspired students to pursue careers in cybersecurity but has also showcased the vast opportunities available in the field.”

As the camp concluded, the organizers expressed their joy in witnessing the enthusiasm and dedication displayed by the participants. The camp not only equipped them with essential cybersecurity skills but also fostered teamwork, problem-solving, and a sense of responsibility in the digital realm.

Jenn Sims, coordinator of the AFA CyberCamp sessions at UTEP, expressed her appreciation for the participants, stating, "It was an absolute joy to witness the enthusiasm and dedication displayed by the students throughout these CyberCamps. Their eagerness to learn and their determination to tackle cybersecurity challenges was truly inspiring. We are proud to provide these young minds with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the digital world. The AFA CyberCamp is just the beginning of their journey, and we look forward to seeing their future accomplishments in the field of cybersecurity."

UTEP is proud to have hosted the AFA CyberCamp, providing a platform for students to develop essential skills and explore the exciting world of cybersecurity. By nurturing their passion for STEM education and fostering their talents, the College of Engineering is playing a vital role in shaping the future generation of cyber defenders. The journey for these young cyber defenders is just beginning, and the university looks forward to supporting their growth and achievements in the field.

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