Texas Partners With SANS Institute To Promote Cybersecurity Careers For Young Women

November 8, 2019
Technology Topic
Governor Greg Abbott today announced that Texas will once again participate in an innovative cybersecurity training partnership with the SANS Institute. The Girls Go CyberStart Initiative is designed to encourage young women to become involved in the field of cybersecurity. The partnership focuses on recruiting female high school students in Texas to compete in the Girls Go CyberStart challenge for scholarship


The Girls Go CyberStart program is an online game consisting of a series of challenges that puts students in the role of a cyber protection agent charged with solving realistic problems and puzzles. It is designed to explore relevant and exciting topics such as cryptography and digital forensics. The program is open to girls in grades 9 through 12. Students can participate wherever an Internet connection is available. Participating students and their teachers do not need knowledge or experience in IT or cybersecurity to participate. The program is free for schools and students.

"It is imperative that the state of Texas invests in educational programs that elevate our best and brightest in fields like cybersecurity," said Governor Abbott. "I am thrilled to continue Texas' partnership with the SANS Institute and encourage more women to get involved in this valuable program. Their participation in the Girls Go CyberStart program will increase the possibilities of future careers within this growing field and contribute to the bright future of our great state."

Part of the Texas Cybersecurity Strategic Plan focuses on the need for talented cybersecurity professionals to continue to combat the increasing sophistication of threats facing the state of Texas," said Texas Department of Information Resources Chief Information Security Officer Nancy Rainosek. "Girls Go CyberStart assists by introducing the high school girls of Texas to careers in the cybersecurity industry. We are delighted at the opportunity to partner with the SANS Institute again on this initiative.?

Texas saw great success in the 2019 Girls Go CyberStart initiative, finishing 1st of participating states in student participation and high school participation, and 4th overall in student participation per high school. Additional successes include:

  • 1,774 girl participants from 175 Texas high schools participated in 2019
  • 20 Texas high schools qualified for the National Finals Championship
  • The Texas state winner ranked 3rd in the nation 
  • 39 Texas girls had individual high Game scores that qualified them for $500 college scholarships
  • A total of $24,900 in cash prizes and scholarships was awarded to Texas players and their schools this year

Registration for Girls Go CyberStart will open on December 2, 2019, with online gaming commencing on January 13, 2020. Additional details and preregistration can be found at www.girlsgocyberstart.org

Teacher information and student practice programs are available now and posted at https://medium.com/girls-go-cyberstart/mrsgcyberstarttips/home. To see the types of challenges the students will face in the games, please visit https://go.joincyberstart.com/

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