Science & Tech

High School Students Learn Cybersecurity Basics At Texas A&M Camp

International Leadership of Texas students attending the camp also received instruction in leadership skills and Mandarin Chinese.
By Caitlin Clark, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications August 3, 2021

two high school female students sit in front of a computer
Students from International Leadership of Texas schools learned leadership skills as well as basics in cybersecurity at the camp.

Joseph Xu/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


About 60 students from International Leadership of Texas schools recently spent two weeks on the Texas A&M University campus learning the fundamentals of cybersecurity.

The camp was sponsored by the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center and its Defense Cyber Leader Development Program. The program’s director, Jim Becker, said the camp was held for the first time as part of the program’s academic outreach efforts to encourage students’ interest in cybersecurity. The camp is part of an effort to engage high school students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to be introduced to the growing field.

The students – who are sophomores and juniors from the International Leadership of Texas school system – learned everything from how a computer works to security procedures and how to employ them. While the Cybersecurity Center may explore future opportunities to teach advanced curriculum, Becker said, the camp that ran through July 23 was tailored toward students who are not well-versed in the subject.

“When you’re trying to help students be exposed to and develop an interest in an area like this, the earlier they start, the more likely they’ll be interested in college,” Becker said.

Each student learned on a Raspberry Pi, which is a palm-sized, fully-functioning computer. Becker said they were also provided with a 20-inch monitor, speakers, a keyboard and mouse, and a starter kit of hardware. Using operating systems like Python and Linux, the students were taught to use code to do things like connect to lights, temperature gauges and motion detectors.

“It’s a hands-on, activities-based experience for learning,” Becker said. “They get really engaged.”

Also, as part of the camp, students spend a week learning leadership skills from instructors at the Corps of Cadets’ Hollingsworth Center for Ethical Leadership, as well as Mandarin Chinese through ILTexas instructors.

A one-week cybersecurity camp for ILTexas students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was also offered earlier this summer, Becker said, and another camp will be held next month in Houston.

The Defense Cyber Leader Development Program is a cybersecurity workforce development program that provides Texas A&M students with experiential learning opportunities to complement their academic education, including mentoring, training for cybersecurity industry certifications, experience through internships and part-time cybersecurity jobs, leadership development and more.

Media contact: Caitlin Clark,


Video by Joseph Xu, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications

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