Visible to the public EDU: Developing a "Protect", "Use" and "Analyze" Approach to Cybersecurity Competitions in the Healthcare Environment (PUNCCH)Conflict Detection Enabled

Project Details

Lead PI

Performance Period

Sep 15, 2013 - Aug 31, 2016


Marymount University

Award Number

Outcomes Report URL

This project is addressing the question of why there are few women in the growing cybersecurity profession. One of the first exposures to cybersecurity for young people is often a cybersecurity competition, offered at the high school and college levels. Most of these competitions have a "male" focus, based on military "capture the flag" principles. As a result, very few females attend them. The purpose of this project is to develop a female-friendly cybersecurity competition, which is based on three concepts: (1) an alternative view of cybersecurity, using "protect", "use" and "analyze" approaches; (2) systems and data in the healthcare environment where security and privacy are increasingly important; and (3) a competition designed by university students (male and female) for high-school students. The project integrates the development of the competition into existing courses. Marymount University is the location for this project: it has both healthcare and information technology programs in the same school and a diverse student body that is also 70% female. For the first competition, students, and their teachers, are invited to attend a summer camp to cybersecurity principles and practices, with the competition at the end of the camp. University students act as mentors and invited speakers present cybersecurity as a career. Student workers then act as mentors for local area teachers providing them with gender-neutral materials as they prepare other students for a second stand-alone cybersecurity competition. Assessment includes the perceptions of students (male and female) to the cybersecurity field before and after the competitions.