Girl Scouts from across the state gathered together on Tuesday, June 30 at Bossier Parish Community College to participate in Girl Scouts Cyber Badge event led by the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC).
Throughout the day, the participants completed unplugged challenges and tasks designed to teach basic to intermediate cybersecurity topics. For example, they investigated fictional cyber attacks, practiced ethical hacking concepts, and discussed both digital footprints and online safety among other topics. During a particularly engaging and eye-opening activity, the girls were presented with an “app store” of posters around the room and were allowed to “download” apps they found interesting. Once their selections were made, the girls read the terms and conditions required to use these apps and had the opportunity to return their purchases. This led to a discussion on the complexities of common terms and conditions agreements and highlighted what information they’re giving up by using them.
Alyssa Heistuman, a program specialist for Girl Scouts of Louisiana – Pines to the Gulf, says it was encouraging to see the participants engaged and having fun.
“We were extremely excited to see so many girls attend from all over Northwest Louisiana, and especially excited about our out-of-state guests from Oklahoma and Washington D.C., come out to earn the newly released Cybersecurity badges,” Heistuman says. “NICERC and their team did a phenomenal job creating a fun and encouraging learning experience for our girls, and it was great to see the girls enjoy the long day with smiles! We couldn’t have asked for a better event. We look forward to continuing our partnership with NICERC!”
Across the country, over 90-thousand cybersecurity badges have been awarded to girl scouts completing various challenges. At the cyber badge event in Bossier City, 55 Girl Scouts each completed enough challenges to earn the 3 cybersecurity badges.
At the end of the event, the Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, thanked the girls for their participation and encouraged them to keep pursuing education in STEM fields.
At NICERC, we love seeing girls interested in STEM topics, especially cybersecurity. A more diverse workforce is a more efficient and productive workforce.