Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced Indiana’s participation in CyberStart America, an innovative, online cybersecurity talent search and competition designed to encourage high school students to pursue cyber-based learning and career opportunities.
The CyberStart America program, sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and SANS Institute, is a series of online challenges that allows students to act as cyber protection agents, solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and exploring related topics such as code breaking, programming, networking and digital forensics.
In a pilot test of CyberStart America last school year, 373 young women from Indiana high schools participated and 49 succeeded in reaching the national finals. With CyberStart America now open to boys as well as girls, Indiana hopes to increase the number of students participating and reaching the scholarship round.
“Cybersecurity and tech-based skills are in high demand in Indiana and across the country,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Teaching young Hoosiers these skills early on will help ensure that the need in Indiana is met by bright minds for years to come. Indiana has proven time and again our strength in cybersecurity, and through this competition, we’re investing in our future as well.”
Participating students and their teachers do not need knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to take part. Everything they need can be learned in the game. The program is free for schools and students, and all Indiana students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. Building on the success of last year’s Girls Go CyberStart program, this year, CyberStart Game is open to all high school students, and anyone who reaches level five in the game portion will qualify for the national competition to win scholarships.
The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation anticipates awarding scholarships worth a total of $2 million for use at any accredited college to 600 high-scoring students across the nation who participate in the 2021 competition.
Complete details may be found on the CyberStart America website. High school students can register for the program now, and may begin playing the CyberStart Game at 12 a.m. on Nov. 15. They may continue playing, and invite their friends to join them, through February 28, 2021.
Students will be informed that they qualify for the CyberStart National Scholarship Challenge Round (the “Nationals”) as soon as they have achieved sufficient progress. Once they reach the challenge round, they are allowed to continue playing and learning in order to build more skills that will be useful to them in the Nationals. To see the types of challenges students will face in the games, visit https://go.cyberstart.com.