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Events in West Virginia Promote Cybersecurity Studies, STEM

Institutions across the state are preparing spring and summer events such as the GenCyber conference, WVSU's Yellow Jackets CyberDefender Camp, WVU's Camp STEM, and the University of Charleston's science camps.

A diagram showing the different branches of STEM study.
(TNS) — Teachers throughout the region are invited to share their classroom cyber expertise and insights at a GenCyber conference, offered in person in Huntington and virtually this spring at Marshall University.

The 2024 GenCyber Teacher Academy Conference be held on MU's Huntington campus Saturday, April 20, focusing on the theme "Cybersecurity in the Classroom: Empowering K-12."

According to a Marshall University release, conference organizers seek to recruit teachers who can showcase how they are integrating cybersecurity concepts in their classrooms.

"The conference will be open to all teachers from the Tri-State area who are interested in integrating computing and cybersecurity into their curriculum," said Dr. Husnu Narman, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering and a member of Marshall's Institute for Cyber Security, in a Feb. 9 release.

"Teachers will have an opportunity to network with their peers and share their success stories and challenges in implementing these subjects in their classrooms," Narman added.

Registration for the conference is free for all kindergarten through 12th grade teachers. Materials and lunch are included.

Additionally, a $100 stipend will be given to teachers who present virtually, with a $200 stipend for those presenting in person.

The conference will also include three $500 prize drawings for virtual participants and three $1,000 prize drawings for in-person participants.

The registration deadline for the conference is Friday, April 5. Registration forms are available at

Further information and registration assistance are available by emailing

The conference is being offered through Marshall University's College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, with support from the GenCyber summer camp program of the National Science Foundation and National Security Agency.


West Virginia rising seventh through 10th grade students can also immerse themselves in cyber exploration at West Virginia State University's Yellow Jackets CyberDefender Camp June 10 through June 14.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, campers will learn about security principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability; distinguish types of malware and attacks; apply tools and techniques for vulnerability assessment; implement host security; explain the security function and purpose of network devices and technologies; identify types of authentication; perform basic configuration; and distinguish types of cryptography and their uses.

"This is a five-year program going on," WVSU 4-H Stem Specialist Vathani Amarasingham explained. "This will be our third year for the camp."

Application forms and more details are available through a link at or by emailing Vathani Amarasingham at

WVSU hosted a grand opening ceremony for its new Cybersecurity Innovation Center, located in Wallace Hall on the Institute campus, in November 2022.

"This center will help meet the needs of the state and region's workforce by providing a highly trained cybersecurity workforce to meet the job market demands for this rapidly growing field," WVSU President Ericke S. Cage said at the event.

The CIC was funded partially by a March 2022 grant of more than $764,000 from the Kanawha County Commission. The U.S. Department of Education also contributed $2.5 million for the CIC to work collaboratively with Marshall University on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure.

Amarasingham said she expects some of the CyberDefender Camp activities will take place in the CIC, adding that she and colleagues hope to offer related programs at area elementary schools later this year.


While not directly involving cybersecurity studies, West Virginia University Institute of Technology's annual Camp STEM will delve deeply into science, engineering, technology, and math experiments and exploration this summer in Beckley.

The June 9-14 camp will combine STEM-intensive classes with special projects and field trips for ninth through 12th grade students.

Campers will interact with WVU Tech faculty and students in their STEM fields of interest. Programs will include hands-on activities with electronics, automobiles, forensic investigation, and robotics, among others.

"Basically, they come to campus and meet with faculty," said Dr. Nathan Galinsky, who has coordinated the camp since 2021. "We bring some companies to campus to show them what their career path might look like in different majors. It's been a really good experience. Students can explore different fields and meet faculty members — they might one day be in their class."

Galinsky said Camp STEM accepts 30 students per summer, although an enrollment of 40 might be feasible.

The camp costs $600 for the week, which includes tuition, all meals, a residence hall room, T-shirts, camp activities, and field trips. Registration gets underway in March.

Camp STEM scholarships are available; contact Dr. Nathan Galinsky at 304-929-1651 or for more information or with any other questions pertaining to the camp.

WVU Engineering Challenge CampsEngineering Challenge Camps for elementary, middle and high school students offer theme-based, hands-on learning at West Virginia University.

Elementary student camps will be held June 10-14, July 8-12 and July 22-26, with morning sessions for grades one through three and afternoon sessions for grades four and five. Middle and high school Engineering Challenge Camps are scheduled for June 24-28, July 15-19 and July 29-Aug. 2. Enrollment is limited to 25 campers per week.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. on March 1. For further information, contact Julie Gruber at or 304-293-0399.


The University of Charleston will host week-long science camps for Kanawha County fifth through 12th grade students this summer, as well; the camp schedules will be announced in March at

The UC camps are supported through a network that includes West Virginia Science Adventures, the National Youth Science Foundation, and the Division of Science, Technology, and Research of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The NYSF provides full tuition for campers. A $25 registration fee is due upon acceptance, and scholarships will be available (the registration fee will be refunded to those who attend on scholarship at the completion of the camp).

Current eighth grade students inclined toward STEM pursuits can study the stars while eating s'mores, exploring nature and more at a science camp this summer at the Green Bank Observatory.

Twenty-five eighth grade students from across the United States will be selected for the PING summer camp that will take place July 22 through Aug. 3 at the observatory and national research center in Green Bank, Pocahontas County. Teams will conduct research by observing the universe with a 40-foot-diameter radio telescope.

PING (an acronym for Physics Inspiring the Next Generation: Exploring the Cosmos) Camp is designed to promote diversity among future scientists, engineers and technologists. It is fully funded, meaning all costs for campers are covered.

PING is a collaboration between the National Society of Black Physicists and Green Bank Observatory to expose traditionally underrepresented minorities to science and engineering with a focus on physics and radio astronomy.

Supplemental educational activities will include bench experiences, building electronic circuits, coding, and educational seminars. Campers will also be able to partake of outdoor experiences such as swimming, hiking and biking under staff supervision.

The online application deadline is Monday, May 27.

Additional information and applications with supporting materials can be found at or

©2024 The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.