A Field Trip to McAfee’s World of Cyber

By: Amanda Steger, Senior Director & Sandra Chin, Engineering Operations Manager

Educating the next generation of cybersecurity heroes has always been a passion of ours – it’s one of the many values we share with McAfee.

Between McAfee’s Online Safety Program (teaching online safety in the community), Global Community Service Day (a day dedicated to giving back), McAfee Explorers (job-shadowing program) and Take Your Child to Work Day (parents bringing their kids to the office to learn about mom and dad’s job), plenty of avenues exist to interest young minds in STEM and cyber.

But it doesn’t end there. McAfee encourages us to find even more ways to impart the importance of STEM locally and meet the unique needs of our community. Those of us in the Oregon office live in a state that lacks a mandated computer science curriculum. Knowing firsthand the importance of STEM education and the power of exposure, we banded together with our Hillsboro colleagues to help fill the void by partnering with Open School NW, a school that provides the tools to graduate and get ahead to the kids that need it most.

This year, we brought 20 Open School students into McAfee’s world for a day to show them what working for a cybersecurity company is all about.

OpenSchool NW’s Day at McAfee Oregon

We welcomed the students to our Hillsboro office with swag bags and then students kicked off their day of cyber education with several activities:

  • McAfee Advanced Threat Research Lab: Students learned how a Tesla Model X is computer driven, and potentially hackable and susceptible to software bugs.
  • Cybersecurity Demos: An engineer from the Office of the CTO demoed a virus acquired from downloading online games, enabling hackers to read the keyboard, microphone, and webcam input from a person’s laptop remotely.
  • Computer Science Introductions with McAfee Employees: Introduced students to hourofcode.com. We wanted to introduces computer science in a fun, non-intimidating way that allows students to learn fundamentals while working on a project of their choosing.
  • Online Safety Training: Training presented essential steps on how to keep personal information private online, while raising awareness on the dangers of over sharing.

Sometimes all it takes is one day to light a spark in a young person’s mind that could potentially lead to a future career in computer science. And this year’s field trip was a huge success! We’re thrilled students reported an awesome experience and would recommend this field trip to a friend or classmate. Many attendees even shared they would consider a career with McAfee after attending the field trip.

McAfee encourages all its sites to take part in educational community service. We appreciate all opportunities to impact future generations, especially those in our own backyard. We’re already looking forward to bringing students back next year!

For more stories like this, follow @LifeAtMcAfee on Instagram and on Twitter @McAfee to see what working at McAfee is all about.

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