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  • Students from four Seattle-area schools were treated to a day of cybersecurity education and mentorship at Microsoft’s Redmond Campus.  Ann Johnson, Corporate Vice President – Microsoft Cybersecurity Solutions Group – welcomed students to the facility and shared her story with over 80 middle and high schoolers.  “Dream Big” was the focus of her message. She told students to take every opportunity they can to deepen their experiences.

    Volunteer members of the Alliance joined forces from all over the Seattle area to support the next generation of potential cybersecurity professionals.  The Alliance Converge Tour is an interactive workshop, dedicated to closing the #talentgap in cybersecurity.  With nearly 2 million open jobs in the space, our members are activating around the world, to engage and inspire students and teachers around the career path.

    Executive Director Sidney Plaza led the workshop in three major parts.  Proceeding Ann’s introduction, students were led through a discussion around the basic principals of cybersecurity and how businesses understand and deal with risk.  Our mentors from the City of Seattle, Starbucks, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, Amazon, and more led small discussion groups through real security scenarios, focusing on the business appetite for risk, and how to best protect costumers and a company’s brand.

    The students were next broken into small teams and guided through a virtual Capture The Flag experience.  The game is intended to challenge students with a variety of different cybersecurity skills like; cryptography, privacy, ethics, geo-spoofing, stenography, look up tools and more.

    The platform rewards thorough research, team work, creativity and analytical thinking skills.  Mentors work with students to further understand the concepts being illustrated.

     

    Over lunch, students were engaged in an interactive discussion on pathways into the career.  Our diverse group of volunteers shared their own career journeys, lessons learned, and advice for the next generation.  A common theme throughout the discussion was curiosity.  Our panel of volunteers expressed how beneficial a curious mind is and the knowledge and experience that can be gained from it.

    We are grateful to Microsoft for hosting, as well as their support of each and every Converge Tour event we do.  We’d also like to thank Palo Alto Networks for their Global Partnership and support of the 2019 Converge Tour.