Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jeff Franklin were named winners this week of the SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network and Security) Institute’s 2017 Difference Makers Awards.

Gov. Reynolds was recognized for her efforts to help inspire the next generation of cyber security talent by bringing the CyberStart pilot program to Iowa students. CyberStart is a forward-thinking skills program designed to build future generations of cyber security professionals while identifying talented young Americans. In addition to providing a unique learning opportunity and scholarships for students, the program can lead to job growth and improved cyber security in Iowa.

“With a shortage of cyber security professionals and the growing threat risk, it is imperative that we train up the next generation of security professionals,” Scott Fisk, CyberStart participant and Iowa State University senior, said. “This has been a really fun and valuable program.”

The CyberStart pilot program was managed by Franklin. Of the nearly 3,300 students competing from seven states, 474 were from Iowa. Five Iowa high school and college students were in the overall top 50. Each won scholarships for more advanced education in cyber security. The number one ranked high school participant in the country is a 16-year-old from Waukee.