53 Va. Students Named National Cyber Scholars

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced today that 53 Virginia students have been named as national cyber scholars in this year’s CyberStart America competition, earning cyber training scholarships worth approximately $3,000 each and totaling $159,000 statewide.

Virginia ranked as one of the top five states nationally for the number of students registered for CyberStart America this year, with 24 students named as semi-finalists and 219 students named as finalists in the competition.

“Virginia students’ strong participation and performance in the CyberStart America competition is indicative of how critical cybersecurity is in our schools, our government and our society,” said Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Robert Osmond. “We are so proud of our national cyber scholars and all our students who participated in CyberStart America; we look forward to continued growth and success in the future.”

“Congratulations to Virginia’s newest national cyber scholars for their achievement in this rigorous scholarship competition and best wishes for their future success in this vital and growing field,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Virginia career and technical education programs now offer 15 courses and aligned credentials to prepare students for postsecondary study and careers in cybersecurity. In addition, our teachers are earning national recognition for their efforts to promote cybersecurity as a career path.”

The CyberStart America competition, in partnership with the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation (NCSF) and the SANS Institute, offers students in grades 9 through 12 free access to CyberStart, an immersive cybersecurity training game. Students can play the game to learn more about cybersecurity and build skills that could prepare them for a career in technology. Last year 5,000 students were named finalists out of 32,000 participants from around the country with the winning students receiving over $4 million in scholarships and advanced training.

“We are committed to ensuring that our students have an opportunity to learn about cybersecurity – whether it’s how to stay safe online or begin working toward a career in the field,” said Chief Information Security Officer of the Commonwealth Michael Watson. “The CyberStart America competition is a great opportunity to give our students an early start in cybersecurity.”

Visit the CyberStart America website for more information about the competition. For more information on the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, visit the program’s website

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