CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia will once again be joining in on the innovative competition, known as Girls Go CyberStart, that is designed to encourage girls and women to explore careers in cybersecurity.
“We need to do everything we can to give our talented students the chance to access the rewarding field of cybersecurity,” Gov. Justice said. “Over the past few years, the Girls Go CyberStart competition has been a fun way to introduce hundreds of young ladies across West Virginia to a profession that still offers an abundance of opportunities for highly qualified people, especially women, and we hope that this competition inspires some of our participants to launch a career in this great field.”
West Virginia is partnering with the SANS Institute – which runs the Girls Go CyberStart initiative – to provide high school girls with an opportunity to learn cyber skills and apply them to realistic threats and scenarios faced by professionals in the field of cybersecurity. The SANS Institute is the largest provider of cybersecurity training and professional certifications worldwide.
For the competition, each student takes on the role of a security agent and solves puzzles and challenges to earn points that allow her to progress to the next level with new challenges. High school girls in grades 9-12 can register to play alone or in teams of up to four students. Participants solve challenges to gain points and advance through levels, earning prizes along the way for themselves and for their schools.
Clubs that have five girls who qualify for Stage 2 of Girls Go CyberStart will also earn additional non-competition licenses for boys or other girls in their school.
Otherwise, boys who are interested in learning more about the field of cybersecurity can play CyberStart Game, which is also run through the SANS Institute, but is independent from the Girls Go CyberStart competition.
In 2019, 206 students in West Virginia participated in the program. The top West Virginia teams in 2019 were Greenbrier East High School, Parkersburg High School and Notre Dame High School.
In 2018, the inaugural year of the competition, 231 students from West Virginia participated in the program. The top West Virginia teams in 2018 were Fayetteville High School, Scott High School, and Williamstown High School.