Teens Exploring Careers Camp Inspires Wyoming Girls to Pursue Promising Careers

Caption: The Teens Exploring Careers Camp at Casper Hospital receiving back-stage tours of radiology, emergency services, and IT.

The TEC Camp provided an immersive experience through two engaging scenarios: a murder mystery at a business and a simulated hospital targeted by a ransomware attack. In the murder mystery, each camper assumed a role within an advertising agency, delivering presentations to the group that showcased their role’s skills, responsibilities, and how they contributed to the organization. By delving into clues and analyzing alibis, the campers collaborated to unravel the mystery and successfully identify the perpetrator.

The mock hospital scenario featured various roles such as emergency room doctors and nurses, radiologists, human resources managers, admissions personnel, IT specialists, and marketing professionals. Participants conducted research on their assigned roles, preparing them to handle patients with diverse medical conditions, ranging from cancer to dementia, portrayed by actors, EMTs, ski patrollers and Casper College nursing students. Mid-way through the scenario, the hospital was hit with a ransomware demand, and the camper playing the IT manager promptly shut down all the computers, leading to a camper huddle to plan how to treat patients without the aid of technology. The campers quickly learned how important policies and procedures are for maintaining operational efficiency, especially in the absence of computers.

At the end of the camp, feedback from the campers demonstrated their increased interest in medical, criminology, and technology careers. One camper expressed her interest in becoming an HR manager after performing that role in the mock hospital scenario. Similarly, another teenager who initially aspired to be a tattoo artist switched her career goal to radiology after touring the Casper hospital and actively participating in the mock hospital scenario.

Pre- and post-camp surveys revealed that all participants gained more clarity not only about their potential careers but also about the programs available to help them achieve their goals, such as mentoring, job shadowing, and internships. The campers also reported that their initial apprehensions about technology in these careers had diminished significantly.

Laura Baker, President of the CyberWyoming Alliance, remarked, “I am delighted with the way these young women from all over Wyoming have discovered potential careers through the camp. The camp was designed based on focus groups conducted in Rock Springs, Laramie, Casper, and Buffalo in the fall of 2021, where we gathered insights on the girls’ interests to create a relevant technology camp.”

Findings from the focus groups overwhelmingly demonstrated that teen girls sought camps aligned with their career interests. The top industries of interest included legal/law enforcement, social work/psychology, healthcare, design/architecture, and the arts. Baker emphasized that the participants expressed a desire for practical skills and knowledge that would be applicable in the real world.

Using the data gathered from the focus groups, the CyberWyoming Alliance and Casper College collaborated to secure grant funding and develop a cybersecurity camp exclusively for young women. The camp curriculum, specifically designed to be run by non-technical individuals, will be available for free to region wide community colleges and universities starting in September 2023. Additionally, preconfigured laptops and a mock hospital database will be available for a nominal rental fee, facilitating quick setup of the camp by participating organizations.

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