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Forsyth Tech offers girls robotics, cybersecurity camp

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It’s an unusual summer camp experience.

Instead of soaking up the sun, local girls learned how to become ethical hackers.

“You had to learn how to uncrack a code and the code lets you unlock a briefcase,” camp attendee Saniya Dodd said.

For one week, Forsyth Technical Community College offers a Girls GenCyber Robotics/Cybersecurity camp.

Programming drones, extracting DNA and building and programming robots are just a few of the hands-on activities the rising sixth- and seventh-graders experience.

“When they get into it, they see that they can do a lot and that they're good at it. They're good at forensics. They're good at intelligence. They're good at finding clues,” program director Dr. Deanne Wesley said.

Camp leaders hope the week-long camp will leave a lasting impression as the girls begin to think about possible careers.

“Right now, there is a shortage in women and that's why we are focusing groups of women just to kind of help them at an early age start looking at cybersecurity,” said LaMonica Stone, systems and cybersecurity instructor at Forsyth Tech.

The approach already seems to be making an impact.

“Back in the old days, boys used to usually get like the big shots and girls had to stay home and work, so this is a new future and beginning,” camp attendee Savasha Johnson said.

Forsyth Tech plans to keep a relationship with the girls during the school year and hopefully track their career interests as they get older.

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