Breaking News
More () »

GenCyber Camp for visually impaired students at UAH

10 high school students with blindness and visual impairments learned about cybersecurity this week.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — "Our first camp for visually impaired started two years ago," said Jesse Hairston, the Assistant Director at the Center for Cybersecurity and Research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. "So, we work with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, and we bring in students from all across the southeast who are visually impaired, and bring them into our camp to teach them about cybersecurity and just help them explore their interest in that."

"I knew the technology field was growing," said Charli Strawn, a rising sophomore from Guntersville. "I didn't realize how much and how fast it was growing. With hiring people with disabilities...especially people who are blind or visually impaired."

"We've gone over some fundamental cybersecurity concept," said Campbell Rutherford, a rising senior from Tennessee. "We did some computer programming, some cryptography...which I thought was a lot of fun."

Hairston described some of the crytography tools. "You rotate the ring around to encrypt or decrypt messages," Hairston said. "So, we're doing encryption here. These were actually custom made for low-vision/visually impaired students. For our completely blind students, typically they know braille. We made this ring for them so they know how to fill the rotation and they can encode and decode messages all the same."

"We've also discussed online safety and creating strong passwords."

"Keep it as complex as possible," said Olivia Wilikerson, a rising junior from North Carolina. "Which I know sounds a little scary. It's definitely more scary to see what a cyber criminal can do to your information."

"It's just really inspirational," Hairston said. "Many of these students are absolutely brilliant. Just given a way to engage with the software, a way to access it, I can see them as being extremely successful in a cybersecurity career."

RELATED: Three veterans, all older than 99, threw first pitches with the Rocket City Trash Pandas

RELATED: UAH garners NCAA South Regional Berth as No. 5 Seed

Before You Leave, Check This Out