Pace GenCyber brings cybersecurity to high school classrooms for the third year

Pace University’s GenCyber teacher workshop has completed its third year! The NSA and NSF-funded program, organized and run by the Seidenberg School, took place from July 13-21 and involved a wonderful cohort of high school teachers from across the nation attending lectures, discussions, lab exercises and activities pertaining to topics in cybersecurity.

Twenty-three high school teachers attended the Pace University Pleasantville campus to learn fundamental cybersecurity concepts and to study new resources and methods to facilitate integration of cybersecurity material into their class curricula or after-school activities.

Workshop participants were introduced to cybersecurity first principles, cryptography, web security, access control, biometrics, and cybersecurity analytics. The curriculum, designed and delivered by Seidenberg faculty and staff, was based on a combination of interpersonal, intrapersonal and kinesthetic learning activities that aimed to ensure participants got the most from their time at Pace University.

The GenCyber program is part of Seidenberg’s outreach efforts to infuse STEM and cybersecurity education into high school classrooms. As a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Pace strives to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for the challenges of the future. Through programs like GenCyber, Pace University supports teachers across the country in teaching the fundamentals to their students.

GenCyber participant Ron Conwell, who teaches Career and Technical Education at Clarkson Community School is Clarkston, MI, said: “Of the professional development experiences I have been to, this rises to the top just based on the amount of student engagement experiences that we were able to participate and engage in. We got to actually use [Raspberry] Pis, actually do the labs, and engage in the experiences ourselves rather than have to focus on just taking notes while other people talked.”

Ed McGinnis, who teaches Computer Science at St. George’s School in Newport, RI, agreed. “There were lots of resources and lots of info received. We were given links and tangible things to take home to use immediately in the classroom.”

Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation and program director said that “through Pace GenCyber we aim to educate high school teachers about cybersecurity. Curricula taught in high schools is particularly well suited for integration of cybersecurity, since cybersecurity problems can often be reduced to the fundamentals of mathematics and computer science.

“Through the Pace GenCyber curriculum, we not only teach cybersecurity, but we also showcase the connections between cybersecurity topics and the participants’ teaching disciplines, as well as provide the tools needed to infuse the material into the classroom. Pace GenCyber is more than just a summer workshop, it is a community of faculty, students, teachers, alumni, government and corporate leaders who contribute to shaping the future of cybersecurity.”

GenCyber is made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. The 2017 Pace University GenCyber program was designed and administered by Andreea Cotoranu (Program Director) and Dr. Li-Chiou Chen (Lead Instructor), with teaching support from Seidenberg School faculty Dr. Charles Tappert, Dr. Yegin Genc, and computer science high school teacher Jigar Jadav (Mamaroneck High School). Credit is also due to Barbara Woodworth and Jill Olimpieri, as well as Seidenberg students Tianyu Wang, Elizabeth Molloy, Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Steven Porras and Tristan Still. ​

Seidenberg hosts cybersecurity programs for high school teachers and students

20160722_140351Recently, the Seidenberg School welcomed teachers and high school students from 10 states for free training as part of an NSA grant to promote K-12 cybersecurity education.

The programs invited participants to visit Pace University’s Pleasantville campus for a week of cybersecurity education training. 25 high school teachers attended the first session, and 30 high school students the second. Since there’s plenty to cover, this post is all about the GenCyber teachers’ workshop and you’ll just have to wait for the next post to hear about Camp Cyberbot!

“The GenCyber summer programs aim to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by preparing our educators and by getting young students interested in the cybersecurity area, which is one of strengths of the Seidenberg School at Pace University,” said Professor Li-Chiou Chen, the principal investigator of the project.

One of the attendees, Nathan VanDyke, a high school math and computer science teacher from Minnesota, said: “This is really a whole new world for us. Cybersecurity will be a major area of study and we need to prepare our students for this field.’’

20160722_141234VanDyke was one of 25 high school teachers from 10 states who were at Pace University from July 14-22 to attend a program at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. The school is the only one in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) to host the teachers’ cybercamp as a part of the national GenCyber program funded by the National Security Agency to promote cybersecurity education at the K-to-12 level.

Teachers were introduced to Raspberry Pi, a tiny, inexpensive computer that makes it easier to teach computing concepts, such as encryption and programming in the classroom. 

After the GenCyber workshop’s conclusion, participants were awarded with certificates of completion.

Next post, we’re talking about the second session, Camp Cyberbot, which saw high school students building underwater SeaPerch robots and testing them in the PLV campus pond!

Seidenberg continues cybersecurity education with GenCyber workshop

GenCyber WorkshopThe Seidenberg School has long been committed to promoting cybersecurity education through a variety of programs and activities. GenCyber, a workshop hosted by Pace and Seidenberg this month, is one of the many ways in which the Seidenberg School has contributed to inspiring the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. 

The workshop is a prestigious cybersecurity education program funded jointly by the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, designed to promote cybersecurity education at the K-12 level. The 2015 Pace GenCyber was designed specifically for high school teachers, and Pace was one of only ten universities nationwide selected to host a teacher workshop in 2015. We welcomed 22 participants, mostly in STEM fields, but not exclusively so, from all over the U.S. including Washington, Florida, Colorado, and Iowa.

The workshop took place at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus, and was spearheaded by Professor and IT WEST Department Chairperson Li-Chiou Chen and Director of Assessment Andreea Cotoranu. The two organized the program from activity design, to instruction, and everything in between. Lectures for the workshop were then delivered by professors of high esteem within the Seidenberg faculty including Li-Chiou Chen, PhD, Charles Tappert, PhD, Meikang Qiu, PhD, and Darren Hayes, DPS with assistance from some of their talented doctoral students. Jigar Jadav, Computer Science teacher at Mamaroneck High-School, and Pace Computer Science PhD student, provided invaluable input on high school instruction and lesson plan development. Moreover, an orchestra of Pace and Seidenberg students and staff ensured that all logistics worked smoothly. According to Andreea Cotoranu, “this was truly a team effort.”

GenCyber Workshop

Throughout the two weeks of the workshop, the teachers dove into a variety of integrated lectures, labs, resource sharing, curriculum development activities, pedagogy, and community building that all focused on different aspects of four main pillars in cybersecurity including cryptography, network security, access control/biometrics and computer forensics. The workshop also introduced Design Thinking pedagogical strategies for problem solving, a student-centered approach to teaching that fosters learning through project development (brainstorming, creating, doing, etc.) in lieu of traditional lecture-style teaching methods.

GenCyber Workshop

Westchester Magazine quoted participant Virginia Nalbandian, a Pleasantville High School mathematics and computer science teacher, as saying, “the workshop has inspired me as a teacher to return to my classroom and inspire my students. And this is what education should ultimately be about.” Sponsors, participants, and organizers all feel hugely satisfied by the workshop’s success.

Everyone involved in GenCyber left the program with a positive, enthusiastic mindset about going forth and integrating cybersecurity in their curricula. The feedback from both participants and sponsors (NSA/NSF), has been excellent, and we are thrilled with the outcome! The organizers and sponsors are already discussing the plans for the return of the workshop next summer, and we look forward to hear how the project will grow.