Gov. John Carney and Delaware's Chief Security Officer Elayne Starkey recently received the 2017 SANS Difference Makers Award by the SANS Institute.

The Difference Maker Awards recognize individuals “whose innovation, skill and hard work have resulted in real successes in information security.”

In July, the State of Delaware partnered with the SANS Institute to provide Delaware high school juniors and seniors and college students from Delaware or attending a college in Delaware the opportunity to learn basic cyber security skills. Students test their aptitude through a no-cost online game of discovery called CyberStart. After a qualifying practice round, students were able to compete for scholarships.

CSO Elayne Starkey and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information led Delaware’s enrollment efforts.

Highlights of Delaware’s participation in the CyberStart program included 359 Delaware students enrolled in the practice round within two weeks; 47 percent of the students qualified for the CyberStart Game; Delaware students competed with about 3,300 other students from Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Iowa, Nevada and Hawaii; four Delaware high school and college students were in the top 50 nationally; and 20 Delaware students won CyberStart scholarships for more advanced education in cyber security.

In September, Carney took additional action to expand cyber security career exploration for Delaware students by signing into law House Bill 15, legislation that requires public and charter high schools to offer at least one computer science course.

During National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, Carney announced the launch of Delaware “NSA Day of Cyber” School Challenge, which designed a free statewide program to ignite interest in cyber security among the state’s youth. The program enables students to test drive occupations with the online cyber security career exploration platform.