As the importance of computer science comes into sharper focus for many in the Cowboy State, students and teachers will have the opportunity to get hands-on cybersecurity experience at the first ever Cowpokes GenCyber camp this summer.

The camp is sponsored by the University of Wyoming and is free to attend for Wyoming K-12 teachers and students in grades 7-12.  The goal is to ensure that young people are exposed to cybersecurity career options.

“It’s amazing to see the initiative towards sparking an interest in cybersecurity and information technology-related jobs in our state’s young men and women,” said Jesse Larson of Team Networks in Casper in a statement. “We have a great future in technology jobs here in Wyoming, and instilling an interest at an early age gives a big boost to their ability to excel and thrive in a data-driven economy.”

The camp hopes to combat the national shortage of computing-related jobs made worse by a lack of diversity in the computer science fields. Made Safe in Wyoming says in a release that according to the National Center for Women in Technology, in 2016 only 26 percent of the computing workforce were women and even fewer were minority women.

“At the Cowpokes GenCyber Camp, we are pushing problem solving, not existing stereotypes within computing.  We want women and girls to join the camp too!” said Mike Borowczak, Director of the Cybersecurity Education and Research Center at the University of Wyoming and grant awardee for the camp, in a statement.

At the Cowpokes GenCyber camp, participants will solve cybersecurity inspired challenges and be able to display their own cyber-inspired projects. Those interested in participating can visit the Cowpokes GenCyber camp website.

The camp will be held in Riverton July 2-6 and in Laramie July 16-20. Funding for the camp was made possible through grants from the National Science Foundation and National Security Agency.