GenCyber at CSUSB

CSUSB’s Jack H Brown College of Business and Public Administration Cybersecurity Center recently hosted it’s 4th Annual GenCyber camp, this past June 18th-22nd. This free cybersecurity summer program, held in partnership with the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, welcomed 250 girls from both middle and high schools in the surrounding area. Funded by a generous grant through the National Security Agency, the camp is designed to teach safe online behavior, awareness of the cybersecurity field and exposure to hands-on technology activities related to cybersecurity.

Students attended sessions taught by security professionals from Google, Facebook, Bank of America, Cisco, IBM, Northrup Grumman and the Dept of Homeland Security. Camp sessions included a drone obstacle course, programming micro-computers such as Arduinos and Raspberry Pis, an escape room, securing a web-page, rock climbing, a computer forensics challenge and much more.

The camp depends heavily on CSUSB volunteers which included 66 technology students completing more than 1,060 hours to successfully host the 5-day camp. Nationally, there are almost 200 GenCyber camps taking place this summer at different universities around the country funded by the NSA. Since 2015, CSUSB has hosted more than 1000 middle and high school girls attending this cybersecurity camp.

The GenCyber program is part of the Cybersecurity Center’s larger outreach initiative to spread education and awareness about cybersecurity. This 2017/2018 academic year has seen a surge in volunteer activity with more than 160 CSUSB student volunteers completing 1377 hours (including camp hours) and serving 10,549 individuals in the surrounding 2 county region.

Facebook Joins Forces with CSUSB Cybersecurity Department for New Educational Opportunities

By Christine Hysell

San Bernardino - Since 2015, nearly 750 girls have attended CSUSB’s GenCyber camp. Representatives from Facebook return each year to teach a session at the camp in hopes of encouraging young girls to enter the cybersecurity field in the future – but the partnership has expanded beyond a single summer event to include sponsorships and recruitment for older students.

The social media giant sponsored 21 CSUSB students to give them the opportunity to attend Black Hat and DEF CON, two computer security conventions held in Las Vegas in July.

“DEF CON has many purposes, but ultimately, it is a gathering of hackers and cyber geeks from all over the world, ranging from Noobs to Uber hackers,” Lauren Cirillo said. “To put it simply, I would not have attended the convention if it weren’t for Facebook and their support. I am grateful to them for allowing me this opportunity and fulfilling a dream of mine that I have had since high school.”

The students in attendance saw the value of their education in a tangible way through both conventions.

“As a student that as studied Business Administration and is now Cybersecurity focused, the business application focus of BlackHat was so easy to pick up and see the importance of,” Nick Trezza said. “The presenters all work in their field and were showing ways to change the way that the working world looks at security. These guys are trying to take the difficulty out of keeping client and business information secretive.”

Facebook supported future learning endeavors for these students and others in the cybersecurity field through a new educational initiative: a 12-week course on web security, with students receiving credit and Facebook certification upon completion of the class.

CSUSB is one of seven schools to partner with Facebook, and students plan to visit the Facebook campus in the future. In addition, students hope that this partnership may lead to recruitment for potential jobs and internships.

Facebook’s contribution to the educational community (including a mixer and luncheon for the students attending DEF CON and Black Hat) has encouraged students to pursue their passions beyond the classroom.

“I had no idea that I could learn such amazing material without being in school, and it has triggered my interest in game theory,” Trezza said. “All in all, the learning experience as a student seeing what professionals and experts are talking about was an unparalleled experience. Thank you to Facebook a million times!”

CSUSB partners with San Gorgonio Girl Scouts to provide free Cybersecurity camp

By Christine Hysell

San Beranrdino - Two hours after registration opened for Gen Cyber, a Cybersecurity camp for girls in grades 6-11, all 250 spots were filled. The camp is divided into two weeks – 200 middle school girls meet June 19-23, and 50 high school students attend the next week, June 26-30.

A large number of students from Title 1 schools in underserved areas are recruited to participate in the event, and 62% of attendees in 2015 and 2016 qualified for free or reduced lunch. In the first two years of hosting Gen Cyber, a total of nearly 500 girls attended the camp.

Gen Cyber is funded by the National Security Agency as well as the National Science Foundation. The estimated expense of the event for each girl is over $2000. Every attendee receives a Raspberry Pi (micro-computer), that they will learn to use throughout the week.

Several corporations work with CSUSB, sponsoring the event and offering activities for the girls to be involved in, including Facebook, IBM, Cisco, Google, Bank of America, Northrop Grumman, and the Department of Homeland Security. Capture the flag, various presentations, drone and coding experience, and sundae bars are all a part of the experience.

Primary goals of the event are to provide girls with an understanding of what constitutes safe online behavior, as well as to increase diversity and interest in Cybersecurity and related careers. The camp itself welcomes students from all backgrounds, with 37% of past campers being Hispanic, 31% Caucasian, 14% African American, 5% Asian, 4% Native American, 2% Hawaiian Pacific Islander, and 7% other.

For more information, contact

Droning On

CSUSB Drone Club Holds Demo for Local Girl Scouts

By Christine Hysell 

San Bernardino - On April 26, 2017, approximately 150 Girl Scouts set aside their cookies to attend a drone demonstration at Bourns, Inc in Riverside, CA. Upon their arrival, the girls learned about the various uses of drones and careers in the field, from reconnaissance to Amazon deliveries.

Dr. Vincent Nestler, with help from volunteers from CSUSB’s Drone Club, hosted the event. In the days leading up to it, volunteers prepared the drones for the demo with firmware updates, iPad updates, and software configuration, as well as by charging batteries and studying materials. Throughout the day, they presented some of the capabilities and limitations of the technology.

“We taught them the uses of drones and the practicality of why people have drones,” volunteer Lauren Cirillo said. “We told them how farmers use drones to find livestock that wander off. We talked about different jobs you can have in drone flying. You can find employment being a drone pilot.” Scouts also had the opportunity to work with the drones themselves.“We demonstrated for them the key features [of the DJI Magic Pro],” Cirillo said. “We had them go to max height, which is 400 feet in the air. The girls took a selfie with the drone. Using hand movements, you can have it take pictures of you.”

The event encouraged girls interested in technology or cybersecurity to pursue their interests. “The girls were thrilled with the drone activities,” Girl Scout STEM Program Manager Carrie R. said. “The majority of the girls had never had any exposure to drones. They were so excited to see them in action.”

CSUSB would like to thank Dr. Nestler; the Drone Club; Bourns, Inc; and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio for making the event successful.

For more information about the CSUSB Drone team, please visit contact us at