Girl Scouts Bring New Meaning to “Patching Networks”

July 10, 2017  |  By Holly Dragoo

Palo Alto Networks and the Girl Scouts of America have partnered up to release new merit badges for accomplishments in cybersecurity. Designed to get youth thinking about secure coding, identity theft and online privacy, the program is part of a concerted effort by the Girl Scouts to broaden their existing STEM field investments. Current Girl Scout badges do address topics like geocaching or web development, but coding and security have not been a focus to date. Experts from Palo Alto Networks will advise on curriculum benchmarks and educational guidance for a series of 18 badges starting in the fall of 2018.

IISP Analyst Holly Dragoo:"Why didn’t we think of this earlier? What a brilliant way to address the severe labor shortage in the cybersecurity industry (projected to continue for years to come), and expose youth to new concepts in STEM – as young as 5 years old! Ironically, Boy Scouts of America have a badge for Digital Technology mastery, but hopefully they will be inspired by their female peers to look more at cybersecurity. The earlier you can get today’s plugged-in youth literate in how to be safe online, the better. It’s not clear how exactly it will reduce the barriers some girls face into entering the cybersecurity field, such as geography, income, or gender-related issues, but will certainly have positive ripple effects."



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