Texas To Participate In Cybersecurity Program In Partnership With SANS Institute

January 12, 2018 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced a new training program, in partnership with the SANS Institute, designed to encourage young women to become involved in the field of cybersecurity. The partnership will focus on recruiting high school female students in Texas for GirlsGoCyberStart, a free online game for students to discover their talents in cybersecurity and learn more about computer security training.

“Cybersecurity is at the forefront of national security, and I am excited for Texas to partner with SANS Institute to help recruit some of our best and brightest female students to this important field,” said Governor Abbott.

The SANS Institute has created this innovative platform for girls to begin exploration of these careers to help increase participation in computer and cybersecurity industries.

Approximately 10,000 high school girls from across the country will be invited to play GirlsGoCyberStart beginning in late February. The game itself will run from Feb. 20-25, 2018. Girls may play alone or in teams of up to four people.  No prior experience with IT or security is needed. All girls in grades 9 to 12 are invited to play with prizes to be awarded in each grade group. Prizes include Dell Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi computers and other technology related items including gift certificates. Additionally, each member of the top teams, nationally, will win an all expense paid trip to the Women in CyberSecurity Conference (WiCyS) in Chicago.

“The nation desperately needs more highly-skilled cyber professionals,” said SANS Director of Research, Alan Paller. “We have new evidence that CyberStart radically improves the quality and preparation of people entering the cybersecurity field. Women are woefully underrepresented in the technical side of cybersecurity, but by opening CyberStart to tens of thousands of high school girls we may be able to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”

“The CyberStart program is an exciting opportunity for high school students to test their aptitude for cybersecurity in a fun and informative way,” said Texas Department of Information Resources Chief Information Security Officer Nancy Rainosek.  “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with the SANS Institute on this initiative.  This is also a great opportunity for the schools as the three schools in Texas that have the most participants will win awards of $1,000, $1,500 and $2,500.”