Young Women Thrive on CompSci Education

The first of three sessions of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s GenCyber Computer Science for Cyber Security (CS4CS) Summer Program for High School Women has brought twenty-one young women from the New York metropolitan area to campus for an introduction to the fundamentals of cyber security and computer science. Each two-week session offers hands-on training and an immersive introduction to the interdisciplinary field of cyber security.

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Both faculty and undergraduate students from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering design and teach the curriculum, which uses hands-on exercises and team projects. Since no experience was necessary, students entered with a wide range of knowledge about programming and computer science.

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The first week of GenCyber CS4CS was visited by representatives from a funder, the National Security Agency, who were impressed with participants, instructors, and the curriculum. In particular, they witnessed how the range of experience levels was used as a strength when more experienced students helped less experienced students with exercises and were given additional challenges. 

The goals of GenCyber CS4CS are to provide high school women abilities, confidence, and options to consider computer science and cyber security careers and to form a support network among them. Although the program lasts only two weeks, participants are encouraged to expand their knowledge and serve as computer science and cyber security ambassadors by recruiting a team of high school classmates to compete in the nation-wide Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) annual High School Forensics Challenge.

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The week ended with a visit to NYC’s Google Headquarters for a tour and to meet women working in the computer science industry.  The opportunity to see in person, concrete examples of women in a supportive workplace and the teamwork necessary for innovative problem-solving made a big impression on GenCyber participants. Thank you Google for your hospitality!

The free GenCyber CS4CS program is supported by the National Science Foundation the National Security Agency, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and is led by Professor Nasir Memon, head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Information Systems and Internet Security Lab.

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