Cybersecurity competition Girls Go Cyberstart made its Delaware debut in 2018 via a partnership with the State of Delaware.
This year, the state is again partnering with the SANS Institute on the initiative to “empower high school girls by providing an opportunity for them to discover if they have an interest and aptitude for a career in cybersecurity.” The competition starts on March 20.
All-girls Padua Academy dominated last year, with its team, Cyber Sisters, ranking first in Delaware and sixth nationwide. This came as little surprise to anyone aware of Padua’s hot streak in the U.S. Air Force-sponsored CyberPatriot State Championship, which they’ve won for six consecutive years.
“Overall, the whole hackathon experience was amazing,” said Padua team member Sami Faraone after the 2018 Girls Go Cyberstart competition. “I learned how far I can push myself if I really want to win, and I met new people who share the same interests as me. I feel it helped me grow as a person.”
Last year, 287 girls represented 113 teams from 26 Delaware high schools that participated in Girls Go CyberStart. Gov. John Carney hopes the numbers will increase this year.
“We know that women are underrepresented in STEM fields and we must empower our young women through creative initiatives like Girls Go CyberStart,” he said in a press statement. “We are excited to again be partnering with the SANS Institute and we want to encourage our young women in high school to take advantage of this opportunity to explore career options in this vital field.”
Secretary of Education Susan Bunting called Girls Go Cyberstart “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.”
Another barrier Girls Go Cyberstart tears down is cost: The game is entirely free. Teams just need access to a computer and an internet connection.
Prizes include $200,000 in scholarships for high school juniors and seniors; in Delaware, at least 10 high school girls will each win $500 scholarships to help them pay for college.
Registration is now open for this year’s #GirlsGoCyberStart program! Learn the cybersecurity skills you need to protect the world from cyber-attacks whilst competing to win money for you & your school. Register now to start playing on March 20: https://t.co/lPF1VGCFIo pic.twitter.com/a6zWJTnhzC
— Girls Go CyberStart (@GGCyberStart) February 18, 2019
Eligible participants identify as female, are a minimum of 13 years old, and attend a public, private or homeschool equivalent school in Delaware or one of the 25 other participating states (these include Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland). Participants may enter as individuals or teams.-30-
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