Lt. Gov. Primavera and Office of Information Technology announce 2019 Girls Go CyberStart Program
Over $200,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school girls
The State of Colorado is again partnering with the SANS Institute to offer the Girls Go CyberStart program and encouraging high school students across the state to participate. In 2018, 250 students from 24 high schools in Colorado participated in the girls-only online cybersecurity competition through which prizes and scholarships are awarded. Students and schools can learn more and register at http://girlsgocyberstart.org.
“Women are underrepresented in the tech and cybersecurity industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. “We hope this fun challenge will encourage more young women to test their skills and explore opportunities in this field.”
The Girls Go CyberStart game is an online series of challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents to solve realistic problems and puzzles and explore exciting, relevant topics, such as cryptography and digital forensics. Participating students (and their teachers) do not need prior knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to participate. All that is required is a computer and an internet connection.
“Cybersecurity is a fascinating and ever-evolving field,” explained Dr. Theresa M. Szczurek, Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Information Technology. “I encourage young Colorado women to participate in Girls Go CyberStart and uncover a passion for information technology, because cyber experts are in great demand.”
The Girls Go CyberStart program is free for schools and students. As an added incentive for this year’s program, another $200,000 in college scholarship money will be awarded to high school juniors and seniors who perform well in the game. At least ten high school girls in Colorado will win scholarships, and the top three high schools in Colorado with the most participants will win awards of $1,000, $750, and $500, respectively.
All Colorado high school girls in grades 9 to 12 are invited to play. Registration opens February 18. Play begins on March 20.
About the Governor’s Office of Information Technology
The Colorado Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) is a dynamic organization responsible for the operation and delivery of information and communications technology services and driving innovation across Executive Branch agencies in the State of Colorado. OIT delivers smart technology solutions, provides quality customer service, and supports state agencies whose missions are critical to serving Coloradans. OIT oversees technology initiatives at the state level and recommends strategies to maximize efficiencies and offer cost-effective services through the application of enterprise technology solutions. The Office’s enterprise approach also enables the agile delivery of new applications to state agencies that improve the overall customer experience and citizen access to government services while increasing accountability and transparency.
OIT is also home to the Office of Information Security and the Colorado Broadband Office, and manages the Public Safety Communications Network which includes the Digital Trunked Radio System, a statewide wireless system that enables direct communications between first responders and agencies.
About Girls Go CyberStart
Girls Go CyberStart is an extracurricular learning competition for high school girls, designed to ensure that many more young women enter the cyber security profession in the coming years.
NBC News published an in-depth analysis of the 2018 Girls Go CyberStart program that is available at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jobs-cybersecurity-are-Exploding-why-aren-t-women-picture-n865206.
Student testimonials can be found here:https://www.sans.org/CyberStartUS/girls-go-cyberstart-feedback
About SANS Institute
The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner's qualifications via over 30 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system--the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org)