High school girls competing in cybersecurity competition

Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 12:49:15-04

BOISE — These girls aren't spending their lunch hour taking a break from school; they're coding instead.

"They're kind of like puzzles," said 9th grader Emily Newton, "each answer was a hidden code in the website, that you had to find through either translating JavaScript, or Caesar Cipher."

They're one of the teams participating in the cybersecurity competition specifically for girls, which teaches the coding behind internet safety. It's the first year Idaho is participating in the competition.

"It's more focused on just girls doing cybersecurity-related tasks and makes it even more fun," said 9th grader Disha Math.

The team from centennial high is mixed ages, so some are in the midst of preparing for college and furthering their education in STEM.

"The future will be science technology all the type of stuff, and there's no better time to start learning it when you're in high school because that can help point you in a career path," said 11th grader Mallory Howard.

Statistically speaking, fewer women enter stem related fields. This competition is one way girls are getting more engaged in the field, and at a younger age.

In fact, a number of colleges and universities right here in Idaho are starting cybersecurity programs because the industry has such a need for that workforce," said executive director of STEM Action Center Angela Hemingway.

The girls are figuring out for themselves if this competition is steering them towards a career.

"If you don't explore the career paths that are out you probably aren't going to realize that you actually might enjoy something, I enjoy it, so I want to do it, but like for girls who are just coming into high school and still don't know what they want to do, I think this is a great opportunity to branch out and start exploring what you want to do," said Math.