- Girls in Cyber Security Advancing program prepares to wrap up, with final phase to be held online
The final participants in the Charles Sturt University Girls in Cyber Security Advancing (GiCSA) program are preparing to complete the program via an online workshop.
The GiCSA program has been undertaken by 137 female participants from across the country and the final 16 high-performing high school students are preparing to complete the third and final phase, a Leadership and Entrepreneurship Workshop.
The program, which was developed in 2017 by project leader and Professor Tanveer Zia in the Charles Sturt School of Computing and Mathematics, is designed for girls in Years 9 and 10 to encourage more females into cyber security roles.
Workshops have since been held in Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga, Griffith, Port Macquarie, Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange, and Wangaratta and the program has been nominated for and won multiple awards.
Students from The Riverina Anglican College, Kooringal High School, Galen Catholic College, Murrumbidgee Regional High, St Paul College Kempsey, Kempsey High School, Blayney High School, Orange High School and Catholic College Wodonga and a guest participant from Melbourne Girls Grammar will attend the final leadership workshop.
Participants will have a chance to be mentored by successful female leaders in the field, including Technical Director in Emerging Technology and Engineering with the Australian Cyber Security Centre Ms Kylie McDevitt, information security expert Ms Shanna Daly, and security architect with Microsoft Ms Sarah Young.
The girls will use what they have learned in the GiCSA program to develop a new campaign or service to address key areas of cyber vulnerability in Australia.
The workshop from Monday 4 May to Wednesday 6 May was meant to be in person in Wagga Wagga, but COVID-19 restrictions means it has been moved to an online format facilitated by illuminate Education Australia.
Professor Zia said participants over the past few years have indicated the program has inspired them to pursue a career in cyber security.
“I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment that through this program I have made an impact on the future of young girls,” he said.
“This program is an example of Charles Sturt University’s values of being inclusive.
“The program has challenged stereotypes and provided insights to young girls about the work flexibilities in cyber careers.
“The girls are also better equipped to maintain a safe online presence.”
Professor Zia said the program sets an example for maintaining a safe online presence and he hopes people continue to learn from its framework to increase female representation in the industry.