30,000 Students Across the Country Sought to Qualify for Cybersecurity Competition hosted by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation
Wilmington, Del. — Delaware’s Governor John Carney, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jason Clarke today announced that four of Delaware’s most promising high school students have earned the coveted title of “National Cyber Scholar” after winning the rigorous 48-hour competition designed to evaluate aptitude in combating cyber threats, and showcasing the best of what the First State’s schools have to offer as part of CyberStart America. Winners included Kelsey Mulrooney, Molly Shapiro and Annamarie Warnke from Padua Academy and Albert Opher from Sanford School. At the college level, Kirolos Boghdady from the University of Delaware and Evan Timko from Delaware State University ranked highest in Delaware and won scholarship awards. This is the fifth year Delaware has participated, with over 400 students taking part during this round. Overall, Delaware had 39 semifinalists, 7 finalists, and the final 4 Cyber Scholars that ranked high in the competition. Please see the complete list of Delaware’s winners here.
Over 30,000 high school students across the country sought to qualify for this year’s CyberStart America competition, and only 5,000 advanced to the first round. Of those students, only 600 nationwide performed well enough to earn the title “National Cyber Scholars.” These students each won a $2,500 scholarship and an invitation to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy, a multi-week training and certification course.
“Providing our young people with the opportunity to learn about the high-tech, high-impact of the field cybersecurity is extremely important given the cyber threats that persist in digital world we live in today,” said Governor John Carney. “Congratulations to the National Cyber Scholars and to all the students who participated, and a special thank you to the SANS Institute for continuing to sponsor this incredible program.”
“Congratulations to the four Delaware winners and to all of the students who participated in this year’s competition. This type of opportunity allows students to hone valuable and highly marketable skills that will serve them well after graduation,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.
“Delaware, like other states across the nation, needs trained cyber security specialists and it is encouraging to see so many young people take up this challenge and their interest in this field,” noted CIO Jason Clarke. “We hope they are able to discover a passion for technology and continue to develop their skills.”
Cybersecurity is a critical issue facing this country with the potential to impact our nation’s government, defense, communications and financial systems. According to recent studies, in order to properly defend our infrastructure from attack, we need to train more than 3 million cybersecurity professionals. This scholarship and competition are designed to attract and incentivize more students to enter the field.
“Competing in the Girls Go Cyberstart and Cyberstart America competitions have been incredibly rewarding experiences for me,” said Padua student Molly Shapiro. “I started my first competition in 2018 with no knowledge of cybersecurity and finished my final competition this year with the confidence to pursue a degree in cybersecurity. These competitions allowed me to realize and chase my passion for cybersecurity and have given me the skills and preparation I need to eventually enter the industry as a cybersecurity professional.”
“This scholarship recognizes high school students who have demonstrated exceptional cybersecurity talent,” noted David Brown, executive director, National Cyber Scholarship Foundation. “The NCSF mission is to help close the critical cybersecurity skills gap by identifying and developing the next generation of cyber professionals. Each and every student who participated in this competition has the potential to develop their skills and build a successful career in cybersecurity.”
There are several qualification pathways for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition including CyberStart America, a free online program that helps students discover their interest in cybersecurity and develop their talent and skills. The NCSC offers 600 college scholarships to top-ranking competitors. Additionally, National Cyber Scholars, along with the competition’s 1,000 finalists, are invited to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy. To learn more visit: National Cyber Scholarship Foundation.
Delaware’s National Cyber Scholars will also be recognized during the annual Secure Delaware workshop on October 28. This event will be held both virtually and in-person at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.
About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information
The 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 enterprise services that enable other organizations to effectively fulfill their missions.
About the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF)
The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF) is a national nonprofit whose mission is to identify, nurture and empower the next generation of cybersecurity experts; and eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States. NCSF aims to support the entry of thousands of talented students to the cybersecurity industry by providing enrichment opportunities, world-class training, and scholarships to fund degree-level study.
About CyberStart America
CyberStart America is a free national program for high school students, aiming to uncover hidden cyber talents, and to identify and develop the next generation of cyber superstars. CyberStart’s immersive gamified learning platform can take students from zero cybersecurity knowledge to possessing the skills necessary to compete in a national-level Capture the Flag challenge in a matter of weeks. Students new to the field with a strong aptitude, as well as students with existing interest in the field, can use the platform to train and qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, allowing them to compete for life-changing college scholarship opportunities.