Mead Challenges Girls To Pursue Cybersecurity

Jan 11, 2018

Credit 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.”


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