ECCC through Mississippi State University is hosting a GenCyber Camp where many girls in second through fifth grade are leaning about cyber security and computer programming.

“This is a camp funded by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, we have 25 participants in this camp and they’re all girls, and the reason they’re all girls is because computer science is only 18% females, so this camp is targeting girls to get them interested in computer science,” says Ken Ethridge, a computer science instructor at ECCC.

With women under-represented in the computer science field, it’s important to get girls interested in the field at a young age.

“We have some female mentors so they get the opportunity to look at those who make up the field of computer science with Mr. Ethridge and the female mentors that we have,” says Kristi Jernigan, a 9th grade STEM instructor.

Those at the camp are enjoying the experience, especially getting to play with robots.

“Well I think it’s really fun because I’ve always liked robots and always wanted to play with them ever since I was little,” says Cayleigh Hayes.

“It’s fun; it’s really cool getting to program all the robots and learn about them. It’s pretty cool!” adds Atley Thomas.

There’s also more the girls want to learn from this camp.

“I’m hoping to learn how to use a wireless robot,” Thomas says. “I think we might be working on that soon, so I’m excited about that and I also hope to learn more about programming robots and get better at it.”

According to the GenCyber website, there are 149 different camps being offered this year in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.