CyberWyoming Alliance Awarded Daniels Fund Grant

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LARAMIE – The CyberWyoming Alliance, a Laramie based statewide nonprofit, announced that it has received a Daniels Fund grant to create cybersecurity camps for young women, based on their career interests and hobbies.

“We ran teen focus groups for young women in Rock Springs, Laramie, Casper and Buffalo during the fall of 2021 so we could really create a relevant security camp based on the girls’ interests,” said Laura Baker, President of the CyberWyoming Alliance.

Overwhelmingly the focus groups showed that teen girls wanted camps that were relevant to their career interests.  The top industries included legal/law enforcement, social work/psychology, healthcare, design/architecture, and the arts.

“Focus group participants said they wanted real world skills and knowledge,” said Baker.

Using the data from the focus groups, CyberWyoming Alliance and Casper College collaborated to secure grant funding and develop a cybersecurity camp just for young women that could be run by non-technical people. Thus, Baker and Marjorie Anderson of Casper College developed two outlines for camps. 

“If cybersecurity is to be normalized,” said Anderson, “then we need a camp that can be run by normal people without any specific networking, cybersecurity, or coding skills.”

The first is a healthcare ransomware scenario where, after touring a real hospital, the young women will play the parts in admissions, the emergency room, radiology, billing, and social work.  But, the staged hospital will experience a ransomware attack and no incident response plan is available.

The second outline highlights intellectual property theft in an architectural/creative firm and will be presented to the campers in a murder mystery setting highlighting digital forensics and data protection.  It is designed to teach students about copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property, confidentiality, and crime investigation.

“We will build out a variety of roles, based on real jobs, and students will get to play a character for the job they’ve chosen. They’ll work through the mystery with its inter-personal relationships, lack of cyber policies, and deceptions, to solve the whodunnit. There will be three sessions with clues scattered throughout. Students will learn how a lack of policies impact the day-to-day lives of workers and how those policies leave the door open for lies, fraud, theft, and legal ambiguity, as well as the digital investigative process,” said Anderson.

Both camps will feature industry speakers relevant to the camp theme. 

Once tested at Casper College in June of 2023, the curriculum will be adjusted and available free to any community college in the region. 

The camp, TEC (Teens Explore Careers), is scheduled for June 4-9 at Casper College.  TEC is a camp for girls that explores our digital world in a career setting.  Registration is limited to 20 high school young women and girls can be placed on a list for notification that registration is open by emailing info@cyberwyoming.org.  

“We love to see community leaders identify local needs and respond with entrepreneurial solutions,” said Hanna Skandera, President & CEO of the Daniels Fund. “One the of Daniels Fund’s goals is to provide meaningful career exploration opportunities for young people. We look forward to this camp sparking excitement about future career paths for Wyoming girls.”

“We want these camps to remove the negative perceptions that many young women have towards tech and cyber.  We want these camps to normalize cybersecurity as a part of every career,” said Baker.

The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative. Visit DanielsFund.org to learn more.

The CyberWyoming Alliance is a statewide nonprofit based in Laramie whose mission is to promote alliances in local communities to share cybersecurity threat information and advocate for the cybersecurity social benefit and welfare of Wyoming citizens, senior citizens, students, and the business and nonprofit communities that surround them.

Casper College offers an AAS Cybersecurity and a Certificate in Cybersecurity that prepares students for entry level IT positions, cyber-based jobs in networking or data, or to transition into a Bachelor’s degree program.

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