Ferris State University’s cybersecurity camp organizers welcomed their largest group of students, in the program’s history, to the 2019 session. Twenty high school-age participants attended the training from Sunday, June 23 through Wednesday, June 26 on the main campus in Big Rapids.
Jerry Emerick, a Ferris Information Security and Intelligence associate professor, said the increase in participants came about, in part, because more students have participated in cyber-competitions in the College of Business building. These competitions are supported by a grant from the National Security Agency and United States Department of Defense. He added that ISI faculty and students visited Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo area and southeast Lower Michigan high schools, during the academic year, to promote the degree program, their competitions and the summer academic camp session.
“We do not just presume that school systems and their students are aware of all that is available through the Ferris ISI program,” Emerick said. “We have built relationships with Kent County school systems, including Forest Hills, Kentwood and Rockford, along with others near Traverse City and several Detroit-area districts. We enjoy seeing students from Mecosta, Osceola and Newaygo Counties throughout the year, and some of our summer camp students had come from Indiana for the training. We are happy that all of them were here and learning in our program.”
ISI senior Paul Rusinowski, of Traverse City, is one of the student counselors for cybersecurity camp. Rusinowski said he was convinced that Ferris’ program was right for him after attending an outreach session at Northwestern Michigan College, in Traverse City, offered by ISI faculty Greg Gogolin and Jason Otting.
“I was pleased to participate in the ISI outreach sessions at downstate schools during the last academic year,” Rusinowski said. “Some of the activities we offered in those field trips are very familiar to the students, based on their experiences as game players. I feel that we give our cybersecurity campers an opportunity to dive deep into areas like cryptography, coding and digital forensics. I also stayed with the campers in the residence halls, offering them the chance to participate in activities on campus grounds and in our buildings.”
Emerick said the campers were high school students, including several freshmen and students who were entering their senior year.
“The number of female students in cybersecurity camp fluctuates, and they are always welcome,” Emerick said. “The young ladies we have seen over the years are also sought after as professionals because those who show interest in ISI subject areas generally have a great aptitude for this kind of work.”