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Political Notebook: Cooper promotes Girls Go CyberStart for high schools to learn about cybersecurity

North Carolina will participate in the 2020 Girls Go CyberStart challenge, a cybersecurity training partnership with the SANS Institute, a research and education organization, Gov. Roy Cooper announced last Wednesday.

Registration opens today, and the contest starts Jan. 13.

Girls Go CyberStart is a free, interactive online program in which teams of high school girls compete in digital challenges to learn about cybersecurity. Playing alone or on teams, participants solve challenges to gain points and advance through levels, earning prizes along the way.

Teams can be formed through a high school, home-school or after-school program regardless of knowledge level or experience with cybersecurity and information technology.

“Getting young people excited about cybersecurity now can open doors to lifelong career opportunities,” Cooper said. “We’re connected to information and each other like never before, but with that connectivity comes security vulnerabilities and the need for a new generation of cybersecurity experts to keep our systems safe in the future.”

The contest is designed to encourage more young women to consider careers in cybersecurity, a fast-growing field.

Last year, 672 students from 77 N.C. high schools and after-school programs participated in the program. Of those schools, six qualified for the national championship, with Enloe Magnet High School of Raleigh placing fifth in the nation. N.C. players and their teachers took home a total of $8,550 in cash prizes and scholarships.

“This program excited our students and got them engaged in computer science and data security. Girls Go CyberStart makes those concepts approachable to the average high school student, then coaches them into more complex work,” said Will Herring, a teacher and Girls Go CyberStart adviser at Union Pines High School in Moore County. “This game helped us identify talented young women in our school with an interest in computer science that might otherwise have been missed.”

Teams will play the online game from Jan. 13 to Jan. 31.

For more information, visit nc.gov/girlsgocyberstart.

Republican National Committee announces 2020 convention senior staff

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and President and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly have announced the senior staff team for next summer’s convention in Charlotte.

“This group will work together to ensure the 2020 Republican National Convention will be an exceptional and first-class experience for everyone attending this historic event as we nominate President Trump for re-election,” McDaniel said.

Stephen “Max” Everett will be vice president and chief information officer of the convention.

The Aug. 24-27 convention will be Everett’s sixth after serving as chief information officer for the 2004 and 2016 conventions. He will be responsible for the management, strategy and execution of major convention initiatives, along with the IT infrastructure.

Christina “CC” Cobaugh will be the chief of staff and director of ticketing. She was on the executive team for the 2016 convention.

Christine Lesko will serve as chief of infrastructure to coordinate flow and signage, the general contractor, information technology, official providers and media operations.

Thomas F. Maxwell is the chief financial officer, serving in his third RNC. He will manage the convention’s budget.

Dan McCarthy will be the chief of public affairs and director of external affairs and be the primary point of contact and coordinator for external groups interested in participating in the convention.

Other senior staffers include:

• Jonathan Oringdulph, chief of logistics and director of intergovernmental coordination and permitting.

• Whitney Nichols Andersen, director of media operations.

• Anastasia Hardin-Cole, director of official proceedings.

• Dustin Hendrix, director of transportation.

• Dee Dee Lancaster, director of logistics flow and signage.

• Joy Lee, counsel.

• Diandra Lopez, director of delegate experience.

• Mallory McGough, director of administration,

• Robert O’Donnell, director of security.

• Russell Peck, director of community affairs.

• Christopher Reese, director of executive operations.

• James Sample, director of operations.

• Rebecca Wasserstein, director of hotels and venues.

Nearly 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the convention.

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