Genesis of a unique STEM workshop in Switzerland
So you stumbled upon something great – embrace it!
When Kate and I were invited to collaborate on a weekend workshop at Google Switzerland’s premises in Zürich, we embraced the opportunity: two days for teens to immerse themselves in the world of hacking and information security. What’s there not to like?
One of our senior instructors and module developers, ETHZ student Herman Galioulline had a colleague in Google’s security engineering department, and after some back and forth, we all agreed on hosting a cybersecurity event in March! Thank you Herman, and thank you Google Switzerland!
Likewise you stumbled upon this blog…
Take the opportunity and encourage your teen to join us on March 9-10th in Zürich for our cybersecurity weekend. Have her or him learn the most important concepts in cybersecurity through games, puzzle-solving and computer coding.
Yes, it is going to be a three-in-one weekend: detecting threats, gaming, and programming – all at the same time!
A cybersecurity game?
Google’s “Capture The Flag” beginner quest will allow teens to detect and investigate cybersecurity threats and defend against hackers.
The game uses a cake and sweets parody to teach about hacking and defense.
“Throughout history”, Google tells us, “cakes are long promised, not often delivered. But are they real? Are they fabrications of an internal system long designed to tease and tempt you with promises of sweet confectionary goodness that will satisfy and delight?”.
Guided by our enthusiastic EPFL and ETZH instructors, teens will navigate through this challenge and encounter a dark conspiracy involving many clandestine organizations that want to create content and context around the very existence of the mysterious cakes. The task of participants is to uncover the truth, find the cake and show it to the world. Set the truth free.
But how do players achieve this noble aim? In Google’s “Capture The Flag” game, participants find a home filled with a mess of old technologies, poor Operational
Security (Op-Sec) and plenty of Internet of Things (IoT) devices that haven’t seen updates in decades, despite having been released last year! As Google puts it, “Their goal is to get the cake in the fridge… Where else would you put cake in your smart home?”.
So why Google Switzerland?
Google has committed over $160 million in the last 5 years towards philanthropic grants to tackle global education gaps, while empowering Googlers to volunteer their technical expertise. Google’s goal is help more people benefit from the promise of technology, in the classroom and beyond.
As for Google Switzerland, it employs more than 2,000 staff in Zürich, making it their largest research and development location outside the USA!! Googlers, or “Zooglers” as Zürich employees are known, work on products such as Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail. Their cool headquarters sport gondolas, jungle lounges, perpetually full refrigerators and more. Come and check it all out!
How do you attend?
Hosted by Google Zürich and organized by TechSpark Academy, the event is tuition-free: we are pleased to extend our invitation to apply to 20 students, girls and boys, 13 and up.
We select participants based on merit with the help of a simple three-point questionnaire. When applying, your teen will be asked about motivation, previous experience and a project idea, as well as to share his/her CV with us. Apply here.
What does it cost?
There is no registration fee. Parents of out-of-town participants are asked to pay for transport and accommodation. We have pre-reserved rooms at the Ibis Zürich West hotel, so contact us as soon as possible – space is limited! For those who have difficulty paying for the accommodation and transport, please contact TechSpark Academy to see how we can help.
What if you can’t attend?
Don’t worry: if your teen cannot join us for this workshop, our Hacker Mode course which covers the same content can be taken over 4 or 5 days at one of our upcoming Easter or summer camps in Zürich, Zug/Luzern, Lausanne or Geneva. Find out more here.
All applicants who successfully complete the online application for the workshop with Google but who are unable to join this group are invited to join our 4-day Easter camps with a special “Google rate”: attendance to 2 of the 4 days is completely free!!
In other words, you will only pay for the extra material we do not have time to cover during the workshop. To benefit from this offer, be sure to apply for the workshop here.
See you at the workshop in Zürich or at one of our Easter camps in Switzerland!
Marta & Kate