Maine

Virginia to participate in poster contest, competition to raise cybersecurity awareness

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The Virginia Information Technologies Agency and the Virginia Department of Education announce the Commonwealth of Virginia’s participation in two programs aimed at raising cybersecurity awareness and providing cyber education and scholarship opportunities for undergraduates.

The two programs are the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) Kids Safe Online Poster Contest 2023 and the CyberStart America Contest 2022-2023.

“As we work to build a strong cyber ecosystem in Virginia, education is an extremely important part of the process and we are excited to be a part of these programs that help our students become cyber strong and cyber smart.” said Chief Commonwealth Information Officer Robert Osmond.

“The CyberStart America Contest and Kids Safe Online Poster Contest are guided by the content and objectives of the Computer Science Standards of Learning,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “I encourage schools to ensure students are aware of these opportunities to raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and potentially earn scholarships.”

Kids Safe Online Poster Contest

The goal of the MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online Poster Contest is to engage young people to actively use cybersecurity knowledge by creating posters to encourage their peers to use the internet safely and securely. The competition also gives teachers in classrooms across Virginia the opportunity to address and reinforce cybersecurity issues and online safety issues.

All kindergarten pupils up to the 12th grade are eligible to participate.

Registrations will be accepted until Thursday, January 12, 2023.

At the 2022 poster contest, Leila, a third grader at Ashland Elementary in Manassas, was named the national contest winner.

CyberStart America contest

The CyberStart America contest gives students in grades 9-12 access to CyberStart, a free immersive cybersecurity training game.

By playing the game, students can learn more about cybersecurity and acquire skills that could prepare them for a career in technology.

Students can also qualify for more than $3,000 worth of cyber training scholarships.

53 Virginia students were recognized as National Scholars in the 2021-2022 CyberStart America competition. They earned a total of $159,000 in grants, according to a Virginia IT Agency press release.

“This shows how well Virginia’s investment in cyber education is working and underscores the talent of our students across the Commonwealth. We really appreciate the enthusiasm they have for learning about cybersecurity and maybe even pursuing a career,” said Michael Watson, the Commonwealth’s Chief Information Security Officer.

Registration for CyberStart America is now open.

Students can play CyberStart until Tuesday April 4, 2023.

Students with a high CyberStart score will then be invited to apply for a scholarship, with scholarship winners being announced in early May 2023.

Further information on the poster competition and the competition can be found on the VITA website.

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