UW-Platteville to offer summer coding camps to high school students

cybersecurity program

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering is offering three interactive summer coding camps for high school students. The first camp, Computer Games Programming, will run from Wednesday, June 8 through Friday, June 10. Cyber Defense, will take place from Monday, Aug. 15 through Friday, Aug. 19. The series wraps up on Saturday, Aug. 20 with the Hackathon, where a participant has the opportunity to win a $5,000 UW-Platteville scholarship.

“The Hackathon will be an opportunity for students to solve a problem and apply the skills they have learned in the camps and win prizes,” said Dr. Afzal Upal, professor and department chair of Computer Science and Software Engineering. “The first camp is introducing students to programming in Python by designing computer games. The second camp will be teaching students to be aware of cyber threats they face. We will show them how easy it is for hackers to steal other people’s information and the dangers we all are exposed to.”

According to Upal, it’s important to create a pipeline with high school students and introduce them not only to campus, but also the programs available. Last fall, UW-Platteville unveiled its new undergraduate degree in cybersecurity. The Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering also developed an innovative interdisciplinary program called Computer Science+X.

“We are the only UW campus to have a cybersecurity program and CS+X programs,” said Upal. “Students may not know they have these programs right here in their backyard. What better way to let them know about the programs than bringing them to our campus, put them in one of our new computer labs, and teach them the fundamental skills and concepts. Not only will the students see the programs, but the talented faculty we have and how much fun we make it for them to learn these concepts.”

Upal said he’s looking forward to teaching the camps in person and having the students receive the hands-on experience.

“We, as faculty members, enjoy seeing the faces of the students when they understand a concept. It’s why you get into the profession. All of that was missing in the virtual environment. We are excited,” said Upal. “We hope the students take away an appreciation of how broad, essential and fundamental computer science is, regardless of what career they intend to pursue.”

The Cyber Defense camp and Hackathon are free of charge, however, space is limited.

“All of this has been made possible by the generous donation by Dr. Ron Meissen [1971 UW-Platteville alumnus]. We are asking for a deposit so we know the students will be coming, but the deposit will be fully refunded,” said Upal. “It’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s free of cost to come and have an opportunity to win a $5,000 scholarship towards a field that is inspiring to the high school student.”

To register for the camps, visit www.uwplatt.edu/summer-coding-camps.