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Mead Challenges Girls To Pursue Cybersecurity

Graphics from SANS. Altered by Tennessee Watson

Jobs in cybersecurity are in high demand, and Governor Matt Mead is encouraging young people in Wyoming to explore the field, especially young women.


The governor has announced Wyoming will now participate in the “High School Girls CyberStart Challenge” — a cybersecurity competition for junior and seniors in the form of an online game. In the simulation, players are cyber agents responsible for protecting a base. The idea is to get girls interested in the cybersecurity field, where women are generally underrepresented.


Meredith Bickell, Wyoming’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, said participants can win scholarships and a chance to attend the Women in Cybersecurity Conference.


“I think this is a great opportunity for our girls to explore the possibilities,” said Bickell. “They don’t need to know anything about cybersecurity, or programming or coding.”


Arlen Fletcher, Wyoming’s Chief Information Security Officer, said there are an estimated half a million open positions in cyber security nationwide; a field that is critical to national security.  


“As the state, like all states are trying to promote technology and growth in that sector, playing a game on a computer might not seem to relate,” said Fletcher.


“But it is more than a game. It is very much a measurement tool and a way of identifying candidates that might be willing to fill some of those half a million positions as they come up.”


For more information go to girlsgocyberstart.com.


Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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