$2,500 scholarships to the college of your choice?!

Yes! If you love FIRST, you might love playing CyberStart America. It’s a free cyber sleuth game for high schoolers that can lead to scholarships and free cyber security training and the certifications that all employers are looking for. Registration is open at CyberStartAmerica.org


Several things.

#1, Kate – the original poster, is A-MAZ-ING. She was one of the magicians Dean had working behind the scenes in the early days of FIRST to ensure that FIRST was in a class by itself on so many levels. Those early super high growth days of FIRST didn’t happen by accident and Kate was a big part of making it happen.

#2 CyberStart America is legit. Check it out. Like FIRST, they have done a great job of finding a fun way to introduce High School kids to a world full of challenges and wonder. AND, by the way, if you chose a college major in anything even tangentially associated with Cyber Security, you will have negative difficulty finding high paying jobs when you graduate.

Please go check it out. Maybe Cyber Security is your jam? You never know if you don’t at least consider the possibility.

Dr. Joe J.


Seconding Joe’s endorsement.

Kate is a big part of the team that created and cooked the secret sauce of FIRST, building on the original recipe year after year.

Her work supporting cyber is a decade in the making as well.

Bottom line - this is a great opportunity for students to explore, learn, and grow. One more awesome component of the expanded opportunities available to FIRST participants, as well as other bright students.

Thanks Kate for sharing this with FIRST.


Wow thanks! Yes! CyberStart America registration stays open until Spring and with 200 FREE FUN challenges, it’s good to get started! It’s self paced, or do it with friends! You don’t have to do them all - 20,000 points puts you in the running for those scholarships. These scholarships will go exclusively to members of the FIRST community.

I just started the challenges, what a fun opportunity this is! Thank you for telling us about it

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Excited to hear :slight_smile: It IS really fun - and was developed by the preeminent cyber security training organization - the SANS institute. It’s the real deal. Employers will love you!


It has been a minute so I thought I would check in with folk.

Any more people with actual experience trying the challenge at Cyber Start America (beyond TheRealJamesOo I mean)?

Poor reviews welcome as well. If you are the target audience and you are thinking “this site sucks” then KateS1 wants to hear about it. They want to get better and can only improve if they know where and why they fell short.

If you like it, of course, she’ll be happy to hear about that as well but all feedback is welcome.

Dr Joe J.


America Tries to Fill 600,000 Vacant Cybersecurity Positions

Article above from /.

It is looking more and more like this Cyber Start America is on to something…

Just sayin’

Dr. Joe J

@TheRealJamesOo How’s it going? Still fun? (Woodie always said - hard fun is the best fun!)

The scholarship package is getting better and better. And @Joe_Johnson is sure right - the jobs are there! CyberStart America can put you on a path to getting trained up and certified for great jobs - without needing 4 years of college if that’s your choice. Give CyberStart America a try!

Question: There is a dropdown for grades 6-12, yet:

[ ] I confirm I have read and understood the terms of service and policies of CyberStart America, and that I meet the eligibility criteria of being at least 13 years old and enrolled in a U.S. high school (or equivalent).

Is there somewhere that grades 6-8 are part of high school? Or is this an error?

I remember some schools being 8-12 instead of 9-12. I’m not sure how common that is though.

In much more rural areas, its common to have k12 in one school (one school i went to had 13 total children k12) so maybe that counts? But its a stretch.

I cant comment on CSA specifically (uni went with NCL this year), but free scholarship money ever hurts, and there is a very open market that my professors never stop talking about.

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Hi @john3928. Thanks for the question! It’s written like that to make sure we don’t end up with anyone under 13. Kind of a second layer of protection. If a student misses the information about the age cutoff and goes right to selecting a grade, it’s a double check. Does that answer it? Happy to provide more info if useful.

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So, age 13 is the real lower bound, not the grade (a 13 year old middle schooler is fine)?

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I’m still having a great time with it, I find it is a really good thing for me to do a few levels when I have free time at home or at school. It’s a lot more educational and just as entertaining as a lot of other forms of entertainment

John - For the moment it’s 13 years old AND in high school. Am hoping we can open that up, but that’s where things stand at present – am working on it. Thank you for the questions!

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Kate – thanks for the clarification. If you ever move the requirements down, please let us know. We have a very gifted student in our district who is deeply into cyber security who I think would find your game fascinating.

John - I’ve figured out a way to make CyberStart available to your young man. Have him sign up at the retail site and the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation will reimburse for his registration. Email me kstraus@nationalcyberscholarship.org.

Thanks. I’ll let her mom know.

Oh! How great. Thought you had said it was a young man. Yes please. Have them reach out to me.

These (4) $2,500 scholarships for FIRST high school students will be distributed this May. Give CyberStart America game a try. Who knows? You might have fun, score high, and win a scholarship!

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