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.

Learn more about the importance of cybersecurity, the Girls Go CyberStart program, and Cyber Fast Track.


Delaware Honored for Cyber Security Innovation

Governor Carney, Chief Security Officer Elayne Starkey recognized by SANS Institute with 2017 Difference Makers Award

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and Delaware’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) Elayne Starkey on Friday received the 2017 SANS Difference Makers Award by the SANS Institute.

The Difference Maker Awards recognize individuals “whose innovation, skill, and hard work have resulted in real successes in information security.”

“I am honored that Delaware has been acknowledged as a leader across the nation in cyber security awareness, education, and training,” said Governor Carney. “We need to continue to encourage students to explore careers in cyber security to ensure that we have a pipeline of talented professionals available in this high-demand field. We appreciate the SANS Institute for partnering with us to help make that a reality.”

In July, the State of Delaware partnered with the SANS Institute to provide Delaware high school juniors and seniors, and college students from Delaware or attending a college in Delaware, the opportunity to learn basic cyber security skills. Students test their aptitude through a no-cost online game of discovery called CyberStart. After a qualifying practice round, students were able to compete for scholarships.

CSO Elayne Starkey and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information led Delaware’s enrollment efforts.
“This is such a special award and I am deeply grateful that Delaware’s leadership, especially Governor Carney and Chief Information Officer James Collins, have made cyber security and developing our workforce a top priority,” said CSO Elayne Starkey. “It truly is a collaborative effort that would not be possible without our partners, sister state agencies, and staff. Many thanks to the SANS Institute for recognizing Delaware’s cyber security efforts.”

Highlights of Delaware’s participation in the CyberStart program:

  • 359 Delaware students enrolled in the practice round within two weeks.
  • 47 percent of the students qualified for the CyberStart Game.
  • Delaware students competed with approximately 3,300 other students from Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Iowa, Nevada, and Hawaii.
  • Four Delaware high school and college students were in the top 50 nationally.
  • 20 Delaware students won CyberStart scholarships for more advanced education in cyber security.

Over the last year, Governor Carney took additional action to expand cyber security career exploration for Delaware students by signing into law House Bill 15, legislation that requires public and charter high schools to offer at least one computer science course.

During National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, Governor Carney announced the launch of Delaware “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge, which designed a free statewide program to ignite interest in cyber security among the state’s youth. The program enables students to test drive occupations with the fully-funded online cyber security career exploration platform. The Governor made the announcement at the 2017 Secure Delaware Workshop, an event that highlights the importance of cyber security training for government, businesses, and citizens to strengthen our readiness and response posture.



Governor Carney Launches “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge at Secure Delaware 2017

Governor Carney Signs Legislation Extending Cybersecurity Protections for Delawareans

Governor Carney, Chief Information Officer Announce Innovative Cybersecurity Partnership for Students

Governor Carney Launches “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge at Secure Delaware 2017

Challenge launched during National Cyber Security Awareness Month to ignite student interest in the high-demand cyber security field 

DOVER, Del. — As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Governor John Carney on Wednesday joined Delaware Department of Technology and Information’s (DTI) Chief Information Officer James Collins and Chief Security Officer Elayne Starkey, as well as representatives from the Delaware Department of Education and National Security Agency (NSA), a host of cyber security subject matter experts, and over 400 attendees at the 2017 Secure Delaware Workshop to highlight the importance cyber security training across all lines of government, business, and citizens to strengthen our readiness and response posture.

CIO James Collins, DTI; Christine Parker, NSA; Deputy Secretary of Education Karen Field Rogers, DOE; CSO Elayne Starkey, DTI, Governor John Carney; and Kim Paradise, LifeJourney, take a photo in front of a DART bus promoting cyber security.
CIO James Collins, DTI; Christine Parker, NSA; Deputy Secretary of Education Karen Field Rogers, DOE; CSO Elayne Starkey, DTI, Governor John Carney; and Kim Paradise, LifeJourney, take a photo in front of a DART bus promoting cyber security.

During the event, Governor Carney announced the official launch of the Delaware “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge, a free statewide program designed to ignite interest in cyber security among the state’s youth by enabling them to test drive occupations with the fully-funded online cyber security career exploration platform.

“Cybercrime is one of the greatest threats to our nation and we live in a world where we increasingly rely on electronic information storage and communication that must be protected,” said Governor Carney. “The importance of cyber security cannot be overstated, and Delaware’s innovation economy needs a talented pipeline of cyber security professionals. Delaware has always sought to take a proactive stance in protecting the online information of our residents, businesses and employees, and I am excited that we are partnering with NSA and LifeJourney to host the NSA Day of Cyber School Challenge for Delaware students to promote interest among the state’s youth in this cutting-edge field.”

“Organizations are having difficulty hiring cyber talent, and many positions are going unfilled. The ‘Day of Cyber’ Challenge provides an exciting platform for Delaware students to start thinking early about cyber security and related fields so we can better prepare them to have the foundation they need to compete in an increasingly globalized workforce,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education.

Rick Geritz, CEO of LifeJourney, the company that created the NSA Day of Cyber program said, “Cyberspace technology is young and changing at rapid pace, that is why it is so important to have a trained workforce to defend us in cyberspace. Governor Carney’s leadership to prioritize cyber security skills will not only accelerate Delaware’s workforce but also serve as model for the nation.”

The Secure Delaware Workshop, hosted by DTI, the Greater Wilmington Cyber Security Group, Delaware League of Local Governments, Delaware Technical and Community College, and the Delaware Small Business Development Center was held at the Dover Downs Conference Center in Dover. Additional agenda topics ranged from current trends, managing risk and federal/state cyber security policies to privacy issues, malware detection and emerging technologies such as block chain.

“The safekeeping of our state’s enterprise systems and protection of our citizens’ information is a top priority,” noted DTI Chief Information Officer James Collins. “The Secure Delaware Workshop brings together the best and brightest in the field of cyber security to provide training for anyone — resident, student, business, government or employee —to learn how to defend yourself, your family, your employer, your business, and the citizens of Delaware against cyber-attacks.”

To sign up to participate in the Delaware “Day of Cyber” challenge, visit To learn more cyber awareness and resources available to prevent cybercrime, visit



About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information
The Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state. DTI provides innovative enterprise services enabling other organizations to effectively fulfill their missions.

About NSA Day of Cyber
The NSA Day of Cyber, sponsored by the National Security Agency and powered by the LifeJourney technology, is an online, self-guided career exploration and mentorship platform that enables students to test-drive cyber careers and live a day in the life of six leading NSA cyber professionals. Each student will receive a Cyber Resume and Certificate of Completion signed by the NSA. The NSA Day of Cyber experience is available, at no cost, to be run by schools and organizations anytime throughout the year. Schools, teachers, organizations, parents and students can register at

About LifeJourney
LifeJourney ™ is the leader in cyber security and STEM online career exploration and simulation. A web-based tool for the classroom that enables students to explore, discover and test-drive exciting careers  of America’s STEM and Cyber security leaders, and thus become informed and inspired to follow the related STEM pathways to achieve those futures. The LifeJourney experience enables teachers to directly connect what they are teaching in the classroom to what students learn through the tools and technologies of organizations defining the workforce needs of tomorrow.


Governor Markell to Meet with IT Business Leaders in Mumbai

Trade mission to India will also include business visits with manufacturers and health sciences companies

Wilmington – Governor Jack Markell announced today that he will lead a trade mission to India from Wednesday, February 6, through Saturday, February 16, 2013 .  Invited by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), India’s premier IT industry association, to speak at its annual Leadership Forum in Mumbai on February 13th, Governor Markell will address over 1500 participants from nearly 25 countries, followed by one-on-one meetings with several CEOs and company chairpersons.  The Forum, which will focus on the theme of partnerships and global growth, is among the most prestigious international IT conferences for the growing IT sector in India.

As part of his trip, the State of Delaware is working with the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading industry association across India, and the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, the top biotechnology industry association, to schedule meetings in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai with manufacturers and health sciences companies.

“Indian companies continue to expand their operations in the United States, and we want them to know Delaware has an outstanding IT workforce.  We are leading the country in developing cyber security personnel and have much to offer a prospective company,” said Governor Markell.  “We want international business managers looking to locate or expand their businesses to consider locating in Delaware.”

The Governor will be promoting Delaware’s high-caliber workforce, convenient location, and reasonable cost of living as he meets with several business leaders and their company representatives at the conference.

According to a report published by NASSCOM in 2012, Indian IT companies directly employ 107,000 people in the U.S., up from 58,000 in 2006.  These jobs indirectly support many others through local suppliers, re-spending and tax payments.  Several Indian companies have announced plans to expand employment for U.S. workers over the next few years.

Similar to his previous trips, the Governor will utilize social media to stay in communication with Delawareans. He will participate in a Google+ hangout with students from Delcastle Technical High School, who are working on a project to learn about international social media and trade with India.  The class will communicate with people in Delaware and India over the next several weeks to encourage engagement via Twitter and Facebook. During the Google+ Hangout, they will brief the Governor on their research results.

“Delaware has a world-class IT workforce and an exceptionally strong social media community,” said Governor Markell.  “Social media is a way for our students and our broader community to raise Delaware’s profile in India.  I applaud their efforts to help us communicate beyond our borders.”

Governor Markell will be accompanied by Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt and Felicia Pullam, Deputy Director for International Trade.  Secretary Bhatt previously traveled to India in 2010 representing the Federal Highway Administration to meet with government and business officials interested in furthering cooperation on transportation issues.  Also, University of Delaware President Dr. Patrick Harker will join the trade mission in Mumbai.   The University of Delaware enjoys a strong reputation in India for its chemical engineering department.