Last Friday, 18 high school girls graduated from the AIM Institute’s 2019 Cybersleuth Camp in an afternoon ceremony at the AIM Brain Exchange. About 40 people attended the graduation to show their support for the next generation of tech talent.
AIM’s Cybersleuth Camp is a weeklong cybersecurity camp for girls that seeks to raise interest in cybersecurity careers. Funded through the GenCyber program—a joint initiative of the NSA and the National Science Foundation that promotes digital citizenship, safe online behavior, and cybersecurity education—Cybersleuth Camp is a key part of AIM’s mission to grow, connect and inspire the tech talent ecosystem.
Throughout the camp, graduates engaged in a variety of tech activities. They built Raspberry Pi computers (which they were allowed to keep), learned Linux, flew drones, operated robots, built fortresses out of Legos, and took pictures and videos to document the experience. Representatives from the FBI and the NSA gave presentations on cybersecurity complete with sobering statistics and disturbing anecdotes about sexting and human trafficking.
AIM Brain Exchange Executive Director Erin Lasiter praised the girls for their diligence and willingness to learn.
“They dove in and they didn’t give up, even though it was very difficult sometimes,” she said.
AIM’s Instructor of Technology Experiences, Lana Yager, echoed Lasiter’s admiration of the young women.
“Using the Hokey Pokey, we learned algorithms. The girls took all the lines of the song—I think there are about 80 lines—and scrunched it down to five lines,” she said. “These girls are real troopers. We’re really proud of them.”
Zipporah, a student in the camp, said her favorite activity of the week was taking apart computers. She also recognized the increasing relevance of cybersecurity in an ever-evolving world mediated by technology.
“Computer safety is more important to learn nowadays,” she said.
Each graduate received a diploma and the Raspberry Pi computer they had built. The ceremony concluded with cake and lemonade in the Brain Exchange’s Cortex room.
As part of the AIM Institute’s mission to facilitate a more diverse and sustainable tech career pipeline, the AIM Brain Exchange provides free technology education to youth who would not otherwise have the chance to experience it.