TEEX Summer Camp Preps Kids for Crime Fighting, Cyber Style

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - A new type of cyber crime-fighting summer camp is teaching students the ins and outs of protecting computers and the valuable information they hold.

Ryan Romero, 15, a student at Texas A&M Consolidated High School, is one of eleven students picked from area high schools for the five day camp Cyber Centurion Camp. The camp is hosted by Texas A&M Engineering and Extension Service (TEEX).

"Yeah, I'm a geek. I know," said Romero.

Romero said he was never much into sports.

"I've been surrounded by computers my entire life," said Romero.

At Cyber Centurion Camp, Romero has found his home.

No rope climbing or canoe rides at this camp. Instead, students are submerged in all things tech.

"What we've been exposing them to are different aspects of the cyber career, cyber education." said Camp Director Catherine Gibson. "They've met with the FBI and learned a great deal about cyber crimes."

Students spent one day working an office simulator that made each student a network administrator. The students were tasked with building and securing a network, as well as hiring employees and keeping an eye on their behaviors. It's all designed to teach the kids how to keep an office safe from any type of cyber crimes.

Ryan's older brother, Ross Romero, said computers are all he's known.

"I've kind of had a computer since I was 6," said Romero.

Romero said cyber security is a vital part of the growing computer industry.

"So if I can understand it, not only can I protect my assets, but the assets of my family, my friends and people who hire me," said Romero.

Gibson said cyber attacks are far too easy to pull off, and happen far too often. A new type of crime-fighting hero is needed, and Texas A&M officials hope this camp will inspire students to be a part of that world.

"The world is now online, whether you're happy about that or not," said Gibson.

TEEX officials will hold another camp in July. TEEX also offers a free online course for anyone interested in learning more about online security. For more information, click on the link added to this story.