Penn State Altoona has recently partnered with Seoul Women’s University in South Korea to offer a different type of exchange program for five preselected students. As part of an eight-week learning experience these students from South Korea attend limited classes at Penn State Altoona while mainly participating in a class called IST 495. This class is a computerized challenge where students are hacking into a fake online system.
Jungwoo Ryoo, Division Head of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and avid security software researcher, explains the class as a “simulated internship. It’s more about exposing them to some of those challenging environments so that they really get this indirect experience of working in the U.S.” Sowon Jeon, one of the five students participating in the program, said that the program has allowed her to “learn about workability and to be effective people at work environment(s).”
The internship class works through a cybersecurity company called Grimm and the students have to try different problems in the system and find flags until the get points. Its sort of a “hacking game” as Ryoo puts it. The outcome of the internship class is to help the students adapt to a professional lifestyle in a culturally different country.
Jeon explained that she applied for the program last year when she was a junior in college. The application process included a submission of certain English tests, I.T. tests and each student had to have a certain GPA and had to make it past an interview round. The cost to attend the program is partially paid by the Korean government, as part of a Government Grant Program, but is mostly paid for by each individual student.
Even though this is the very first time this program has been offered Ryoo is “very happy” with how it has unfolded so far. Ryoo hopes that the program will continue in the future so that the campus will keep its diversity intact.
“The more diversity we have on campus is probably the better,”Ryoo said “we really value that kind of experience of our students at Penn State Altoona”.
The students will finish their program in the eighth week of the semester and will then return to South Korea.