Delaware Introducing High School Girls to Careers in Cyber Security
Partnership aims to empower young women to pursue STEM careers
DOVER, Del. — Governor John Carney and Chief Information Officer (CIO) James Collins on Wednesday announced that Delaware will again partner with the SANS Institute on an initiative to introduce Delaware high school girls to careers in cybersecurity through Girls Go CyberStart – an interactive, online challenge.
Last year, more than 180 girls from 22 Delaware high schools participated in the program. Ten Delaware girls earned $500 college scholarships.
“We know that women are underrepresented in STEM fields and we must empower our young women through creative initiatives like Girls Go CyberStart,” said Governor Carney. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with the SANS Institute, which helps us encourage young women in Delaware to pursue a career in cybersecurity, or another STEM field. That’s importance for the strengthen of our workforce, and Delaware’s economy over the long term.”
“It is important that we are intentional about creating opportunities that empower and inspire young people to pursue STEM fields. We are grateful that the SANS Institute recognizes the importance and value of a diversified workforce and partners with us to achieve that goal,” said CIO Collins. “Girls Go CyberStart is a win for everyone because it is a fun way for young women to try their hand at cybersecurity, there is no cost to participate, and we get a chance to help grow our own talent right here.”
“The Girls Go CyberStart competition really impacted my view of cybersecurity and has caused me to consider a job in the field,” said Olivia Lundstrom, a member student at Padua Academy and previous Girls Go CyberStart participant. “I loved how fun and challenging it was to play, and it taught me a lot about cybersecurity that I would have never known had I not played!”
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for young women to explore a high-demand career area. Since no past experience is needed, there are no barriers to keep even more of our high school students from participating,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting.
Delaware’s high school students will be participating alongside students from across the nation. Practice sessions will begin November 13. Registration will open on December 2, and official Girls Go CyberStart play will begin on January 13, 2020.
“The nation desperately needs more highly-skilled cyber professionals, and we have evidence that CyberStart improves the quality and preparation of people entering the cybersecurity field,” said Alan Paller, SANS Director of Research. “Women are significantly underrepresented in the technical side of cybersecurity. By opening CyberStart to thousands of girls in high school, and to all college students, we hope to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”
Male and female college students can participate this year in a companion program, Cyber FastTrack, which opens for registration on February 3. Play will begin on March 4. Cyber FastTrack allows students who excel in the competition to win scholarships for a Summer of Cyber – and to become eligible to win $2.5 million in scholarships for advanced cybersecurity training.