Raimondo Kicks Off Cybersecurity Competition to Encourage Female Students to Pursue STEAM

Rhode Island Joins National Girls Go CyberStart Initiative

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Education today announced that female students from Rhode Island high schools are invited to compete in the 2019 Girls Go CyberStart program. This opportunity for students to explore their interests in cybersecurity and computer science comes the same day that Raimondo declared March as STEAM Month in Rhode Island.


“STEAM industries are a major driver of the Rhode Island economy. We must ensure that students have the skills, experiences, and career exploration opportunities today that they will need to compete for these jobs in the future,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “This is especially true for young women who are underrepresented in the technology and computer science fields, so I encourage all high schools to participate and engage your female students in this exciting opportunity.”


Girls Go CyberStart is free for schools and students, and participants need no previous experience in cybersecurity programs. All that is required is a computer and an Internet connection. Nationally, more than 6,600 female students across 16 states played Girls Go CyberStart last year.


Registration is open through March 20, at which time games begin. To explore the platform and see the types of challenges that students can participate in, visit go.joincyberstart.com.


“Rhode Island schools, teachers, and students have embraced computer science and STEAM education, making our state a national leader. Girls Go CyberStart is another opportunity in our toolkit to make these subjects come alive for students, and to empower female students in particular to explore a high-wage, high-growth career pathway in which they can excel,” said Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.


Participants use the CyberStart Game, an online series of challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents to solve cybersecurity-related puzzles and explore exciting, relevant topics such as cryptography and digital forensics. Rhode Island high schools where at least five female students master six or more of the challenges will win access to the full CyberStart game for 50 additional students, 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, and one of 400 $500 scholarships for the college of their choice. High schools with the highest participation levels may also qualify for additional prizes.


In addition to Girls Go CyberStart, the SANS Institute, which first piloted the program in 2018, also offers Cyber FastTrack, a college program that can open doors to $2.5 million in scholarships for advanced cybersecurity education, internships, and jobs in the field. Registration for Cyber FastTrack runs through April 5.


For more information on these two competitions, visit GirlsGoCyberStart.org or Cyber-FastTrack.org.