FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2019  

Gov. Polis encourages Colorado students to join innovative cybersecurity competition
Over $200,000 in scholarships available to high school girls

DENVER — Thursday, March 7, 2019 —  Gov. Jared Polis encourages all Colorado young women in grades 9-12 to sign up for the innovative 2019 Girls Go CyberStart challenge. This no-cost, online game of fun technical challenges empowers young women to explore the world of cybersecurity. Registration is open until the games begin on March 20.


“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 Gov. 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 year, 250 girls from 24 high schools in Colorado 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 least 10 high school females will each get $500 scholarships to help them pay for college, and the three high schools in Colorado that have the most participants will win awards of $1,000, $750, and $500, respectively. For more information or to register, visit https://www.girlsgocyberstart.org/.


All Colorado high schools where at least five girls in the Girls Go CyberStart Program master six or more of the challenges will win access to the full CyberStart Game for their entire school, extending the competition to both male and female students for the remainder of the school year. Students will also have the opportunity to win cash prizes for themselves and their schools.


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. Sample challenges are available at https://go.joincyberstate.com/.


Both male and female students who attend colleges in Colorado also have the

opportunity this year to participate in a program called Cyber FastTrack. Cyber FastTrack registration and play opens on April 5. Cyber FastTrack details may be found at https://go.cyber-fasttrack.org/.


### 

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 Colorado.gov/OIT, 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 cybersecurity 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 cybersecurity training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions worldwide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cybersecurity 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 cybersecurity. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cybersecurity. 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)