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Partnership to Encourage Women to Explore Careers in Cybersecurity

February 20, 2019, 12:04 PM HST
* Updated February 20, 12:06 PM
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Gov. David Y. Ige reported the state’s participation in the Girls Go CyberStart Initiative on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, which encourages young women to explore the cybersecurity and computer science fields. The initiative gives girls, grades 9-12, the opportunity to solve challenges presented in the 2019 Girls Go CyberStart program, sponsored by the SANS Institute and the State of Hawaiʻi.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our young women to learn more about cybersecurity and computer science and to explore potential careers in these male dominated fields,” said Gov. Ige.

“Cybersecurity is an evolving field with many opportunities for specializations within this broad area, and women are an underrepresented group. I would love to welcome the young ladies of Hawaiʻi to join me in this exciting field,” said Jodi Ito, University of Hawaiʻi chief information security officer.

Participating students and their teachers do not need previous experience in or knowledge of information technology or cybersecurity. However, a computer and an Internet connection are required.

The program is free for schools and students.

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“We need more women in the cybersecurity workforce, and there is no better way to get young women engaged than the CyberStart Program,” said Vincent Hoang, Office of Enterprise Technology Services chief information security officer.

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“Computer Science gives our students the foundation needed for 21st century careers, and the engaging Girls Go CyberStart competition will allow them opportunities to hone their skills in real-world scenarios,” said Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto.

“With the importance of cyber security today, these CyberStart Games play a vital role in educating and challenging our leaders of tomorrow,” said State Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Joe Logan.

Participants use the CyberStart Game, an online series of challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents—solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and exploring exciting topics such as cryptography and digital forensics. High schools with at least five team members who master six or more challenges will win access to the full CyberStart Game for their entire school. Winning schools will then extend the competition to include male students for the remainder of the school year.

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Students will also have the opportunity to win individual cash prizes and cash prizes for their schools. This year, at least 10 Hawaiʻi high school girls will each receive $500 scholarships to help them pay for college.

Last year, the program provided the opportunity for 6,650 young women in 16 states to discover and demonstrate their aptitude for cybersecurity.

In Hawaiʻi, 329 students from 23 high schools participated in the pilot program. Kalani High School placed first in the state, and tenth in the nation. ʻAiea High School placed second and Kalani High School placed third in the games.

Registration for Girls Go CyberStart continues through March 20, 2019, when the games begin.

To see the types of challenges the students will face in the games and register, go online.

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