Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

Gov. Polis encourages Colorado High School Students to Join Innovative Cybersecurity Competition 

DENVER - Gov. Jared Polis encourages all Colorado young women in grades 9-12 to sign up for the innovative 2019-2020 Girls Go CyberStart challenge. This no-cost, online game of fun technical challenges empowers young women to explore the world of cybersecurity. Students and schools can learn more and register at

“To maintain Colorado’s distinction as a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity, we must equip our students with educational initiatives like Girls Go CyberStart,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I invite the next generation of leaders to take advantage of this opportunity and proudly represent Colorado.”

“We are honored to partner with the SANS Institute to help young women learn about the exciting field of cybersecurity and its importance in protecting critical data and systems,” added Colorado Chief Information Security Officer Deborah Blyth. According to Blyth, women are significantly underrepresented in the field of cybersecurity.

Last school year, 288 girls from 45 Colorado high schools participated in Girls Go CyberStart, which allows students to act as cyber protection agents to solve realistic problems and delve into exciting topics such as cryptography and digital forensics. As one Thornton high school teacher wrote, “Thank you for this awesome opportunity for our students!! I would love to keep CyberStart in my classroom because it is presented in a fun, interactive environment that encourages students to problem-solve, code and learn how Computer Science works. My students loved the challenge.”

In Colorado, at schools with high numbers of participating girls will win financial awards as will girls who do well in the game. For more information or to register, visit

All Colorado high schools where at least five girls in the Girls Go CyberStart Program master five or more of the challenges will win 50 additional CyberStart Game licenses, extending the competition to both male and female students for the remainder of the school year.

Participating students (and their teachers) do not need knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to participate. All that is required is access to a computer, a good internet connection and the desire to have fun while solving problems and learning new skills.

Teacher information and student practice programs are available now. Registration for Girls Go CyberStart will open on December 2, 2019, with online gaming commencing on January 13, 2020. Additional details and pre-registration can be found at Additional data on teacher development programs are posted at

To see the types of challenges the students will face in the games, please visit

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. 

Find OIT online at, and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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



Student testimonials can be found here:


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. (