This summer's annual CyberPatriot CyberCamp, which is underway at Texas A&M San Antonio, is encouraging the creation of a new generation of girl geeks, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

  Joe Sanchez, the co founder of CyberPatriot, says despite the mainstreaming of computer culture in the past decade or so, girls still lag behind boys in choosing high tech careers.

  "Girls are still concerns about the image of being a geek," he said.  "Girls want to be girls, and some are afraid of diving into the math and being smarter than the boys out there."

  But dozens of smart girls from several area high schools are participating in a week of activities designed to give them a head start when it comes to perfecting the skill of being able to protect computers and computer networks from hackers ranging from identity thieves to North Koreans bent on disrupting the U.S power grid.

  "They will take what they learn during the week, and they will be able to take the problems that they are able to find in the operating system and fix them, enabling that computer to operate securely," Sanchez said.

  Texas A&M San Antonio is a member of the Cyber Innovation and Research Consortium and has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

  Sanchez says San Antonio has been a key player in the world of first information security and later computer security ever since the Air Force Security Agency opened at Brooks Air Force Base in 1949.  Later, security functions were combined at what became known as Security Hill at Kelly Air Force Base.

  Today, he says, in combination with the 24th Air Force Cyber Command, which is based at Lackland, as well as the efforts of companies like USAA and Rackspace, San Antonio is poised to become a world leader in the key profession of computer security.  Sanchez says already, metro San Antonio is second only to metro Washington DC in the number of people employed in computer security professions.

  "If you look at the labor stats, it is always among the top four of five professions of the future," Sanchez said.