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.


DigiGirlz Debuts in Sussex County on May 15, 2019

DigiGirlz Program Contacts:
Claudette Martin-Wus, DTI
(302) 739-9636,



DOVER, Del. —Registration opens Monday March 18 for Delaware DigiGirlz 2019, being held for the first time in Sussex County on May 15! Girls in the 8th and 9th grades (or ages 13-15) are invited to spend a day filled with hands on learning that feature careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. DigiGirlz Day is designed to encourage young women to explore the possibilities available in those fields.

DigiGirlz is May 15, 2019 at Delaware Tech’s Campus in Georgetown starting at 8:30 a.m. It is free and open to 8th and 9th grade girls (ages 13-15) in Delaware public, private, charter and home schools. Individual students are also encouraged to participate. Pre-registration is mandatory – continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

“We are pleased to partner with Delaware Tech and bring DigiGirlz to Sussex County for the very first time,” said Governor John Carney. “Hundreds of Delaware girls have benefitted from this empowering day of interactive STEM sessions and moving the event to the Owens Campus offers new opportunities for young women to Kent and Sussex County.”

“One of the best parts of my job as CIO is introducing STEM opportunities to young people and that’s why I’m fired up that we get to bring Delaware DigiGirlz Day to Sussex County this year,” said Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins. “With our partners we’re offering girls the chance to participate in hands-on STEM career track activities. From drones and chemistry to cyber security and artificial intelligence, we’ve got tons of stuff for girls to explore and try out for themselves. Our hope is that the seeds will be planted which will result in creating future STEM professionals.”

This year’s DigiGirlz Day features several different career track explorations including: game design, drones, 3D digital art and mixed reality robotic coding. Creating 3D Jewelry, learning about phishing, virtual reality, circuitry, social media and photo/video editing are additional offerings during the event.

DigiGirlz is sponsored by Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information, Microsoft, Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Technical and Community College, Wilmington University, University of Delaware, Cyber Streets, and the Delaware Center for Educational Technology.

Registration information can be found at


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.



DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is pleased to announce that Chief Information Officer James Collins has been elected to serve as the National Association for State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Executive Committee President for the 2018-19 program year. The organization made the announcement Sunday during its annual conference in San Diego. CIO Collins previously served as vice president and succeeds Bo Reese, Chief Information Officer for the State of Oklahoma as president.

“James has a history of hard work and of bringing good ideas to the table,” said Governor John Carney. “As Delaware’s chief information officer, James is tasked with leading our broadband expansion initiative, protecting the state from cyber-attacks, and promoting open data across Delaware. I’m confident that James will greatly contribute to the leadership of NASCIO, and I congratulate him on this achievement.”

“I am deeply honored to be elected to serve as NASCIO’s president and I am committed to continuing the outstanding work it does to support state CIOs and members,” said CIO James Collins. “NASCIO provides a forum for members to engage in unprecedented levels of collaboration, as well as opportunities to share ideas and best practices. I look forward to working with NASCIO staff, government leaders and our private sector partners to develop innovative solutions for the public good.”

NASCIO’s mission is to foster government excellence through quality business practices, information management, and technology policy. The Executive Committee is the elected governance body of NASCIO responsible for directing, through executive management, the general business of the Association. Duties include strategic planning, establishing membership policy, dues; and approving the annual budget and business workplan of the Association.

Under the leadership of CIO Collins, Delaware has worked diligently to expand broadband throughout the state — which boasts some of the highest speeds in the nation — increase citizen engagement, lead the effort to increase open data and utilize data analytics, and achieved 100% school connectivity. Additionally, Delaware is the only state to implement a single statewide Enterprise Resource Planning system supporting fiscal, payroll and human resources practices for all branches of government, including K-12 and higher education.

CIO James Collins

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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.

Expanding Access to High-Speed Broadband

[AUGUST UPDATE: Click here to view request for proposal]

Applying for a job, or recruiting talented employees for your business. Taking a college course. Reading a book. Helping your kids with math homework.

More and more, these are tasks that Delawareans are completing online —to further their education, acquire new skills, and compete in an economy that is evolving every day. My most important job as Governor is to make sure that Delaware has a strong, growing, and competitive economy. That’s why, among other steps we’re taking, it’s so important for us to expand access to high-speed broadband service across our state - especially in areas where service is spotty or unavailable today.

Over the next two years, working with partners in the private sector, we plan to eliminate broadband deserts and ensure that every Delaware citizen and business has access to high-speed broadband service.

Delaware has consistently been recognized for having among the fastest internet speeds in the country. Ensuring reliable access to the internet for even more Delawareans will help prepare our young people for the economy of the future, and it will help our existing workforce do their jobs even better.

“As vice chair of the House Committee on Telecommunication Internet and Technology, I believe that every Delawarean should have equal access to high quality broadband,” said Representative Trey Paradee, a Dover Democrat. “I’m proud of the efforts made in Delaware to expand broadband access throughout the state.”

“Connectivity is the key. Many areas of our county have been under served by the major Internet players for many years,” said Senator Brian Pettyjohn, a Georgetown Republican. “Bringing broadband access will help families, students, businesses, and our agricultural community compete in the modern world.”

Governor Carney with Josh Wharton from DEC
Josh Wharton and Governor Carney

On Tuesday, during a tour of Delaware Electric Cooperative in Greenwood, we saw how important broadband access is to the delivery of electricity to customers across Kent and Sussex counties.

Josh Wharton, a Delaware Electric Cooperative operations supervisor, shared one of his favorite stories. One night at 11:00 p.m., Josh received a call from another power company that had a fire on a power line. The company asked Josh to redirect power to 5,000 customers before their service was impacted. From his home in Gumboro, Josh used an iPad to guarantee those customers didn’t lose power. How was that possible? A high-speed, remote internet connection.

Businesses need to reach their customers, and set up shop in locations that enable them to communicate efficiently. High-speed broadband is critical for companies of all sizes, and it’s why we’re working to ensure businesses have access to quality internet service statewide.

We also heard from R.C. Willin and Brent Willin of Willin Farms on how their fifth-generation family farm uses internet connectivity to make adjustments to planting, monitor equipment, and manage business operations.

We want all of Delaware’s farms to have access to this type of technology. Expanding access to high-speed broadband is essential for Delaware’s agriculture sector to remain competitive.



Here’s how we plan to expand high-speed broadband access in Delaware:

In August, we will release a request for proposals (RFP) to develop partnerships that will improve broadband availability in rural areas throughout Delaware by creating opportunity for the private sector to develop and offer that service. [AUGUST UPDATE: Click here to view RFP.]
Through this RFP and subsequent partnerships, the State will focus on enabling service to homes and businesses where broadband service is not readily available, particularly in rural Kent and Sussex Counties.

Delaware will also prioritize low-cost services for lower income families to enable them to take full advantage of the internet, meeting needs that range from applying for jobs to completing homework assignments.

We will make funds available through a rural broadband grant program to reduce barriers to market entry for private sector providers, and to further attract private investment.

This is about increasing opportunity for all Delawareans - and making sure that no one in our state is left behind because they don’t have adequate access to technology.

We are building on earlier work across our state that has achieved results. Delaware has worked diligently to expand broadband access across the state for several years. Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins has worked with school district leaders to upgrade digital infrastructure and dramatically increase internet speeds in 48 schools statewide - many in areas that are under-served.

As part of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information’s Delaware Broadband Fund Phase Two initiative to promote fixed wireless broadband solutions and reach under-served populations in rural areas, Bloosurf launched a pilot project in the City of Seaford which offered free service to customers within 8 miles of the wireless access points.

That helped Delawareans like Kim Hopkins, a Seaford teacher, who previously had trouble grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and helping her children with their homework because of slow, spotty internet connection.



We have invested in increasing our fiber infrastructure, with the State’s initial financial contribution, resulting in over $30 million in private investment and 700 miles of fiber.

Delaware’s existing broadband “backbone” features high capacity fiber-optic lines that run the length of the state from Wilmington to Georgetown, and from Seaford to Lewes, improving internet reliability for consumers and increasing internet access speeds by as much as 10 times since 2009.

“We live in an amazing time where technology provides us unprecedented access to information and the ability to collaborate - high-speed broadband is key to that connectivity. Without broadband, we wouldn’t be talking about emerging technologies like the ‘Internet of Things’ or the many cloud-based services available because they wouldn’t exist. It is imperative we continue the work to bridge the digital divide because access to technology levels the playing field. In today’s connected world, broadband access is necessary for the success of our students, communities and businesses. Our hope is that high-speed broadband will become as accessible as electricity for all Delawareans.” - Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins

Thanks in large part to these efforts, Delaware continuously ranks at, or near, the top of broadband speed rankings across the nation. Yet, we still face the same challenges as many other states when it comes to access and affordability, especially in our rural areas where broadband deserts still exist.

Over the next two years, we will directly confront this issue, eliminate those deserts, and make high-speed internet a reality for all Delawareans. That will help all Delawareans connect and compete in a new economy, and help move our entire state forward.

Governor Carney Honors “Kids Safe Online” Poster Contest Winners

Fourth grade students at Gallaher Elementary sweep top three spots

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney, joined by Chief Information Officer James Collins, Christina School District Superintendent Richard Gregg, and other officials, parents and students from Christina School District, today celebrated the winners of the 2018 “Kids Safe Online” Poster Contest at Gallaher Elementary School. For the first time in the ten year history of the contest there was a complete sweep of winners from the same school. Art teacher Kelly Walzl’s fourth grade students Aubrie Rodriguez, Clayton Starkey, and Catalina Syto placed first, second and third, respectively. These students’ posters were judged to be the best among 1,400 submissions. Gallaher Elementary School has placed in the top three for the last five consecutive years and has two previous national winners.

“The importance of cyber safety cannot be overstated and the ‘Kids Safe Online’ Poster Contest is a creative way to encourage young people to be cautious about what they share on the Internet, teaching them the potential risks,” said Governor John Carney. “Awareness and education are key to ensuring our children know how to stay safe online.”

“I’d like to commend all kids that participated in this year’s contest and a special congratulations to the winners at Gallaher Elementary,” said Chief Information Officer James Collins. “We’re so glad to be able to partner with schools across the entire state to bring cyber security safety presentations and the ‘Kids Safe Online’ Poster Contest to the classroom to engage our young people on their level.”

“Congratulations to these Gallaher students for their outstanding work. Their posters will help spread this important message to their peers across the state,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting.

The “Kids Safe Online” poster contest is sponsored on the state level by the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. The program encourages young people to use the Internet safely and securely and engages them in creating messages and images to communicate to their peers the importance of staying safe online. The contest is run in conjunction with cyber safety presentations given in schools across the state in October, which is National Cyber Security Month. Over 1,400 students from fourth and fifth grades across Delaware submitted high quality posters for consideration. The top three state selections were also submitted to the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) for entry into its national 2018 Kids Safe Online poster contest.

For more information about how to stay safe online, please visit