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 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 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 pay for college. 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/.

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