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Registration opens for Girls Go CyberStart program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Registration for a new cyber security training program for high school girls in West Virginia begins Monday.

Girls in grades 9 to 12 are eligible to sign up for the Girls Go CyberStart program through Feb. 16.

It’s a free online game that provides girls the tools to learn basic cyber security skills and test their cyber aptitude. The program is a partnership between the State of West Virginia and the SANS Institute.

“It gives them a good insight into that area of expertise in hopes that it will peak their interest and get them involved, so that’s maybe something they want to pursue later in life,” said Cindy Smith, deputy chief technology officer of the West Virginia Office of Technology.

The program will run from Feb. 20-25. Girls may play alone or in teams of up to four people. No prior experience with IT or security is needed.

Danielle Cox, cyber security manager for audits and compliance for the state Office of Technology, said girls will learn a number of skills in the areas of problem solving, marketing, tech, business and more.

“They’ll really test their decision making skills, they’ll learn about programming, coding, forensics,” she said.

Cox said they want to allow young women to see how many opportunities there are in the cyber security field.

“Traditionally, women have not participated in cyber security like our men counter parts have and this program is particularly targeting girls getting ready to make life changing decisions with their college/careers,” she said.

The girls will have the opportunity to win prizes, including the grand prize of an all-expense paid trip to the Women in CyberSecurity Conference in Chicago.
Students may participate from home or school, a computer and internet connection are the only tools required. The three schools in West Virginia that have the most participants will win awards of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000.

The program has been implemented in a number of states including Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Wyoming.

To register for the program, CLICK HERE.





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