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Governor McDonnell Hosts First Annual Governor's Cyber Challenge at George Mason University

Press Release

Location: Richmond, VA

Governor McDonnell hosted the first annual Governor's Cyber Challenge this past weekend. This challenge invited all high school students in the Commonwealth to participate in a series of online cyber quizzes, with the top 40 students being asked to participate in a live championship competition at George Mason University in order to compete for $10,000 in scholarships. The program featured 110 schools, from throughout the Commonwealth, who registered 733 students for the challenge.

Governor McDonnell said, "Our culture continues to become more technology centered and reliant on our information systems. Increasingly the threat of a cyber attack is real and urgent. To be prepared, we need a workforce properly trained in cyber security. Unfortunately, as of today, estimates show that the nation as a whole is short an estimated 20,000 workers trained in cyber security. We must continue to support and encourage programs like this that prepare the next generation for the important jobs of the future."

"The Commonwealth's higher education institutions already produce a robust, and educated information technology workforce, contributing more than 2,150 technology graduates annually to the labor pool," said Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey. "But we know we could be doing more. Therefore, we created the Governor's Cyber Challenge to help educate and excite our students about education and careers in cyber security."

The challenge was a partnership with the Cyber Aces Foundation, and the U.S. Cyber Challenge and was sponsored by the SANS Institute. This year's winners are:

First Place (Winning a $5,000 Scholarship): Arlan Jaska, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Second Place (Winning a $3500 Scholarship): Anirudh Bagde, Chantilly Academy, a Governor's STEM Academy.

Third Place (Winning a $1500 Scholarship): Collin Berman, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

For more information on the winners and the rest of the top 40 participants:


The Cyber Aces foundation is a 501 (c) 3 organization founded to help people discover and pursue cyber security education and careers. The foundation makes cyber security more accessible through on-line education and competition events for high school and college students, veterans, job seekers, and second career seekers and offers an elite development program that provides a fast track from cyber talent to cyber workforce.


The mission of the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) is to significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cyber security professionals. USCC's goal is to find 10,000 of America's best and brightest to fill the ranks of cyber security professionals where their skills can be of the greatest value to the nation.


The SANS Institute is the principal cyber security training institute for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies as well as for power companies, banks, law enforcement and other civilian government agencies. More than 147,000 SANS alumni lead and serve on both offensive and defensive cyber teams and SANS cyber simulators are used to assess and develop advanced technical skills. SANS also grants Master of Science degrees in cyber security engineering and management and operates the Internet Storm Center -- the Internet's early warning system.

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