Over the past three months, Irvin Lemus logged more than 7,000 miles and 70 hours on the road. He wasn’t taking a summer vacation road trip — he was checking in on more than 1,000 students who participated in 29 cyber camps throughout the Bay Area.
The 28 Bay Region community colleges voted overwhelmingly to support the summer CyberCamp program over the past two summers. Strong Workforce Program Regional Funding was dedicated to this effort.
Lemus is the cybersecurity instructor at Cabrillo College and the Bay Area Cyber Competitions Regional Coordinator for the Western Academy Support and Training Center. In that role, he’s built the Bay Area Cyber Competitions program from the ground up and said he does not plan to stop any time soon.
“This year, we had 20 colleges of the 28 participate. I can see the last eight jumping on board next year, bringing cyber camps to the entire region,” Lemus said.
While every camp follows the same curriculum, each one has its own personality based on the students who participate. Lemus said that no two classrooms were the same throughout the six weeks, but the benefits students took from the program did overlap.
“Students were excited about Windows and Linux security, to meet new friends, and see that they are part of something much bigger than the classroom they were in,” he said.
Cyber camps serve as a recruiting tool for CyberPatriot teams throughout the region, but that’s not the only mission. Lemus and his team also hope to increase awareness about the benefits of cybersecurity education, especially among underrepresented communities.
Lemus added a capture the flag challenge to this year’s camps and is planning to better align the camps with courses offered at the region’s community colleges for next year.
“We want the communities of the Bay to know that we exist and have strong CTE programs,” Lemus said. “High school students, college students, and the community at large can take advantage of that.”
Lemus’s work has been instrumental in raising awareness about cybersecurity education and helped the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC) become a designated CyberPatriot Center of Excellence.
“I want to recognize Irvin Lemus, our CyberCamp Coordinator over the past two summers, for his direct involvement and leadership. Irvin’s expertise and years of experience helped the BACCC receive the Center of Excellence designation,” said Richard Grotegut, Bay Region Deputy Sector Navigator for the ICT-Digital Media Sector.
For more information about Bay Area Cyber Competitions or to get involved with the program, visit baycyber.net.
Photo: Richard Grotegut (left) and Irvin Lemus (right) with summer CyberCamp participants