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“CyberTech Girls” Workshop in California Introduces Middle School and High School Girls to Cybersecurity

Alexander Poelma

Mar 03 2020

AccessData had the privilege of participating in a recent CyberTech Girls event in Orange County, Calif., working closely with dozens of young girls to understand what cybersecurity is all about and how they can shape the future of our industry!

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, with a stunning 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the industry expected by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. CyberTech Girls is a creative program that provides guidance to help young ladies in 7th through 12th grades learn more about cybersecurity through hands-on workshops at college campuses. At these one-day events, the girls receive instruction from experts in the field regarding the various disciplines within the cybersecurity industry, as well as valuable education to increase their awareness of personal cyber wellness to help them stay safe online.

On February 29, 2020, more than 60 girls took part in a CyberTech Girls event held at Coastline College in Garden Grove, Calif. It was a rigorous schedule for the students that included several key sessions:

  • Introduction to the technical aspects of cybersecurity, including explanation of important terms such as “phishing” and “ransomware”;
  • Overview of cybersecurity career paths;
  • Mentoring workshops, in which the students broke into small groups for information sessions with professional mentors (e.g., corporate security officers, digital forensic experts, government technology experts); and
  • Hands-on workshops in the lab.

The hands-on workshops proved to be not only informative for the students, but also a lot of fun for everyone involved. There were three programs that each of the girls rotated through: (1) Disassembling computers to teach them how to use basic tools to take machines apart and see what’s inside of them; (2) Simulation of crime scenes to teach them how digital forensics investigations are conducted by cyber professionals; and (3) A “Capture The Flag” competition to stretch their brains and teach them how to collect various pieces of information from trusted online sites.

This amazing event was presented by Professor Tobi West and Coastline College, with organization and content provided by the CyberTech Girls organization (www.cybertechgirls.org). I was pleased to volunteer our time and assistance with the event and it was my great privilege to serve as one of the mentors of the students.

AccessData is committed to supporting educational events that engage young people with understanding the importance of online safety, and to introduce them to the exciting work that we do in the fields of digital forensics and cybersecurity. For the past five years, we have been a sponsor of the GenCyber “Girls in CybHER Security” camp, a residential girls cyber camp that was created by the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation.

On behalf of all of us at AccessData, I want to thank all of the dedicated people at Coastline College and CyberTech Girls who made the 2020 CyberTech Girls event possible, and I want to commend all of the young ladies who participated in the workshop. You inspire all of us and we know you will make your marks on the world of tomorrow!

For more information about the Coastline College Cyber Center, please go to http://www.coastline.edu/cybercenter.

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