FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2022
Claudette Wus, Senior Disaster Recovery Specialist, DTI
(302) 739-9636 w Claudette.Wus@delaware.gov
Christina Dirksen, Strategic Communications Manager, DTI
(302) 739-9736 w Christina.Dirksen@state.de.us
Governor Carney Announces DE’s Participation in CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack
CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack offer free, fun games for high school and college students to discover their talent and enter the field of cybersecurity. Registration is open now!
Dover, Delaware — Delaware Governor John Carney and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jason Clarke have announced that high school and college students across the First State can now register for CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack. This innovative online program, sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and the SANS Institute, allows participants to explore their potential cybersecurity talent. Building on the success of previous years’ National Cyber Scholarship Competitions, CyberStart America is open to all high school students. Delaware students in grades nine through twelve will have the chance to win prizes and recognition for their schools, as well as scholarships for advanced training. Cyber FastTrack is available for college students, where they too will have a chance to win scholarship awards and recognition for excellent performance. Nearly 1,400 Delaware students have participated in these programs over the past 7 years.
“One of the most important challenges for us is developing the cybersecurity workforce and finding talent. That’s why the programs that DTI and other partners are participating in are so important,” said Governor Carney. “Recently, I was able to meet some of these talented, next generation of cyber experts from last year’s CyberStart and Cyber FastTrack programs. With these programs, they have a strong foundation to pursue a cyber career.”
The CyberStart and Cyber FastTrack programs both offer a series of online challenges that allow participants to act as cyber protection agents solving cybersecurity-related puzzles and exploring related topics such as code-breaking, programming, networking, and digital forensics. For the high school level, the program can be assigned as part of homework, form the basis of an extracurricular club, or students can simply try it on their own. 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; however, support and communication about the program to students are needed. Both programs are free for schools and students. New this year will be a high school cyber presentation provided by Chief Security Officer Solomon Adote on October 27th that will include information on cyber careers as well as a demo of the CyberStart America platform. High School students should contact their teacher for more information.
Students who do well in the program can earn access to scholarships and advanced training. The 2021-22 session had 352 Delaware high school student participants in CyberStart America — three of whom earned Finalist level and nine that reached the Scholar level — while 133 Delaware college students participated in Cyber FastTrack, with one reaching the Finalist level and eight in the Scholar bracket. These students were recognized at the Secure Delaware Workshop on October 4, 2022, which coincided with registration opening of the 2022-23 session of both CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack.
“I was introduced to “CyberStart American early Freshman year. I thoroughly enjoyed completing the challenges in the program, as they are presented in a beginner-friendly, non-intimidating manner. As I completed more and more challenges, I found that I could apply my knowledge in coding, forensics, cryptography, hashing, and the Linux command line that I’ve acquired from my experiences in Cyberpatriot and summer programs,” said Padua student Trisha Srikanth. “Further, framing the challenges as hypothetical real-world situations certainly enlivened a very technical field and made the challenges more dynamic and engaging. In our increasingly digitized society, it is important that there are enough cybersecurity professionals to protect American devices and systems. Thus, it is wonderful that CyberStart is making cybersecurity more accessible to young students like me, sparking our passion for pursuing this field. Lastly, I am very grateful to DTI, our governor, and my community at Padua for all of their support and encouragement.”
“Cyber FastTrack helped me quickly learn about a broad range of topics in cybersecurity,” said Wilmington University student Richard Eaton. “Identification as a National Cyber Scholar provided me additional SANS Foundations training and certification that was some of the best, most engaging online training I’ve ever taken. It also afforded me the opportunity to be recognized in the field and establish meaningful connections with local cybersecurity leaders that have already provided job opportunities. I’m so grateful for the experience.”
“There is no question that it has been an eventful year on the cyber security front. Everything from major breaches to new vulnerabilities, and an even greater focus on protecting critical infrastructure and third-party/supply chain compromises. It’s important to identify the next generation of cyber defenders to protect against these attacks that happen every minute of each day. With programs like these, participants can pursue their passion in cybersecurity to help in this fight,” said CIO Jason Clarke.
About the Delaware Department of Technology and Information
The Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state. DTI provides enterprise services that enable other organizations to effectively fulfill their missions. DTI.delaware.gov
About CyberStart America
CyberStart America and Cyber FastTrack are free national programs for high school and college-level students, aiming to uncover hidden cyber talents, and to identify and develop the next generation of cyber superstars. The immersive gamified learning platforms can take students from zero cybersecurity knowledge to possessing the skills necessary to compete in a national-level Capture the Flag challenge in a matter of weeks. Students new to the field with a strong aptitude, as well as students with existing interest in the field, can use the platform to train and qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition, allowing them to compete for life-changing college scholarship opportunities.
About The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF)
The National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF) is a national nonprofit whose mission is to identify, nurture and empower the next generation of cybersecurity experts and eliminate the cybersecurity skills gap in the United States. NCSF aims to support the entry of thousands of highly talented students to the cybersecurity industry by providing enrichment opportunities, world-class training, and scholarships to fund advanced skills training.