Cyber Smoothie, Anyone?

October 09, 2023

Developing an Experimental Model for High School Cyber Ed

When a comprehensive research university operates a K-12 lab school on its flagship campus and there’s a 750,000-wide workforce gap for cybersecurity professionals in the U.S., graduate students and high school students come together for some unusual approaches to learning—and tastes.

As AP Computer Science class gets underway at the University Lab School, LSU graduate students are setting up a blender to make smoothies and a slide presentation to explain hashing algorithms, which are used to disguise passwords in computer memory. Both illustrate the same thing: Multiple mixed ingredients make recipes, as well as passwords, much harder to guess.

Each Wednesday morning class introduces a new cybersecurity concept, whether it’s through smoothie-making, interactive escape rooms or lockpicking. The lesson plans are all developed by LSU students as part of a new graduate course this fall semester, called Cyber for Good, taught by Ibrahim “Abe” Baggili, professor in the Division of Computer Science & Engineering in the LSU College of Engineering.

“It’s such a fun opportunity to teach what you love to younger minds and flesh out some really difficult concepts in a field I’m so passionate about,” said LSU cybersecurity graduate student LaSean Salmon from Metairie, Louisiana.

University Lab School 10th graders Olivia Sterling and Brooke Crain make cyber smoothies.

University Lab School 10th graders Olivia Sterling and Brooke Crain make cyber smoothies.


“I never considered cybersecurity for college or as a career prior to this class. As a matter of fact, computer science was the last thing on my list, but now I’m intrigued. I enjoy going to this class weekly because I know it will be a fun hour. Honestly, it keeps me going throughout the week.”

Olivia Sterling, University Lab School 10th grade student from Baton Rouge, Louisiana