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Gov. Kay Ivey announced last week that Alabama will participate in the 2020 Girls Go CyberStart Challenge. The Girls Go CyberStart Challenge is a skills-based competition designed to encourage girls to pursue cyber-based learning and career opportunities.
“Initiatives like the Girls Go CyberStart Challenge are critical because they help the next generation of women in Alabama close the gender gap in STEM related fields,” Governor Ivey said. “With so many tech-based firms choosing Alabama as their new home, it is extremely important that we encourage our state’s youth to hone their tech-based skillsets, which give them the best opportunity to have fulfilling careers in this high-demand field.”
The Girls Go CyberStart Challenge is an online game that consists of a series of challenges that places students in the role of a cyber protection agent charged with solving realistic problems and puzzles. The program is open to girls in grades nine through 12.
“The Girls Go CyberStart Challenge addresses the most important intersectional needs in STEM – the growing demand for more cybersecurity and computer science specialists in the workforce, equity and diversity opportunities that engage more women in the most high demand and high need career areas,” Co-Chairman of Governor Ivey’s Computer Science Advisory Council Dr. Jeff Gray said. “The Girls Go CyberStart Challenge provides young women with an engaging and fun competition that fosters collaboration and exploration to develop the most in-demand skillsets as society relies more on digital services. Young women in Alabama are emerging as national leaders in this area and are very competitive each year.”
Alabama had 418 girls from 23 schools participate in the 2019 Girls Go CyberStart Challenge. Three Alabama schools qualified for the National Finals Championship and the Alabama state winner achieved rank number 16 out of 120 schools nationally.
“The Girls Go CyberStart Challenge is an engaging way to introduce young women to cybersecurity through digital puzzles and team-based learning opportunities,” Chairman of Governor Ivey’s STEM Advisory Council Dr. Neil Lamb said. “Nearly every industry is impacted by cybersecurity, and the CyberStart challenge opens the door to a host of career opportunities for these Alabama learners.”
Registration opens Dec. 2, 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 can be found at medium.com/girls-go-cyberstart/mrsgcyberstarttips/home. To see the types of challenges the students will face, visit go.joincyberstart.com.