Dynetics pledges $100K to U.S. Cyber Camp; beta program continues

Dynetics pledges $100K to U.S. Cyber Camp; beta program continues
(Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Aeronautics company Dynetics has signed on to support the U.S. Space &  Rocket Center's new U.S. Cyber Camp.

The camp has not officially launched. It's in its third beta test week.

Dynetics is pledging $100,000 to support the program and help build the curriculum.

WAFF 48 News caught up with a student at the beta program about how the camp is coming along.

"I'm extremely lucky. I don't think I'd be where I'm at if they didn't have it," said Svetlana Freeman, a junior at Hazel Green High School. "Basically, I've always had an interest in it ever since I was a little kid. I was on 4h robotics teams and all that stuff. Finally, when I became a freshman, they said, 'Hey, we're starting this program, cyber security.' I said, 'Of course, sign me up. That's what I want to do.'"

The Space & Rocket Center's U.S. Cyber Camp has been in the works for a while.

In August 2017, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a $10 million economic development gr ant to expand the campus at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and establish the Cyber Camp.

Now, it's becoming a reality.

[READ MORE: U.S. Space & Rocket Center gets $10M grant for cyber camp]

"I cannot tell you how it warms my heart to see you all here. You are all a dream come true," said Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and executive director of the Rocket Center.

Barnhart asked the beta program's students to give honest feedback at the end of the week. They're tweaking the program and getting it ready for its official launch. That date has yet to be released.

"I'm loving it actually. We got to basically create and build our own Raspberry Pi kits; build our own computer from scratch. They just gave us a bunch of parts and said, 'OK, build your own computer,'" Freeman said.

Corporate donors like Dynetics have a major hands-on role with the U.S. Cyber Camp. They donated cash, but that's just the beginning.

"We're just excited to be able to accelerate that for you," Dynetics CEO Dave King said. "To give you some opportunities to develop a curriculum and provide equipment and money to make this happen."

And for Cyber Camp students like Freeman, the lesson plan is only half the fun.

"The fun side of camp is getting to meet new people. It's just branching out and seeing where everyone comes from and that they're all interested in this one thing," Freeman said.

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