Vermont High School Girls Successfully Complete Cyber Challenge

05 March 2018

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today recognized the Vermont high school girls who participated in the GirlsGoCyberStart challenge, a cybersecurity training partnership between states and the SANS Institute.

Vermont had a total of 18 teams and 46 girls participate, competing with students from fifteen other states in this free online competition, which provided high school girls interested in a cybersecurity career with a tool to learn basic cybersecurity skills and test their cyber aptitude.

“We are proud of all 18 of these teams for representing Vermont in this competition,” said Gov. Scott. “In an increasingly digital world, cybersecurity will be an important workforce sector and I am encouraged to see so many of our young people engaged in an opportunity like this. I hope they all continue to explore their interest in cybersecurity and build on what they learned from this experience.”

Four schools in Vermont will receive cash awards from the SANS Institute to support their cyber and technology programs. Those include Burlington High School and Mount Mansfield Union High School – which scored among the top 100 teams in the nation – as well as Randolph Technical Career Center and Montpelier High School. Additionally, students on each of the three highest scoring Vermont teams will additional prizes. 

“Our students had a great time,” said Tina Scheindel, Technology Director and Integration Specialist from the Orange Southwest Supervisory District, who led the Randolph team. “In a short window of time, I watched our students develop their creative problem-solving skills, practice perseverance and develop team work. I hope to see this program continue.”

The GirlsGoCyberStart competition involved a variety of challenges, including cryptography, the art of writing code, forensics, recovering data and using Linux, the dominant operating system used by security experts. The program ran February 20-25.  

When asked about the success of the GirlsGoCyberStart program in Vermont, SANS Director of Research Alan Paller said, “CyberStart has an amazing record of finding and inspiring talent among young men and women.  The girls who scored well in this competition have proven that thy have capabilities that are quite rare. We sincerely hope they will continue to develop their natural talent and ultimately join the ranks of people who are helping make cyberspace and the world a lot safer.”

This program, which encourages interest in cybersecurity careers, is valuable as the Scott Administration continues its efforts to grow Vermont’s cybersecurity workforce. In 2017, Gov. Scott created a Cybersecurity Advisory Team to better coordinate statewide cybersecurity efforts. Further, the Governor has proposed creation of a Security Operations Center, in partnership with Norwich University, to provide 24/7 monitoring and response capabilities, while giving students on-the-job training, developing a deep bench of experienced cybersecurity experts in Vermont.    

Contact Information

Office of Governor Phil Scott
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609
Phone: 802 828-3333 (TTY: 800 649-6825)
Fax: 802 828-3339

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