2nd Annual Capture the Flag + Cyber Academy

Cybersecurity training leader SANS Institute has maintained a fruitful and longstanding dedication to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Looking to diversify the cybersecurity industry, SANS has worked to bridge the gap about with innovative Black talent from HBCUs. 

In January of this year, the company formed a new cyber academy, but and it’s one of several moves to make cybersecurity equitable and exciting! Back on December 9, 2020, SANS Institute formed a team focused on engaging, supporting and training HBCU students and alumni in the field of cybersecurity. Through that program, the institute partnered with individual institutions, offering free access to cybersecurity training, certifications, mentorship, and career support. Launched with the inaugural SANS+HBCU Capture the Flag event in November 2020, efforts resulted in modest participation.

(Credit: SANS Institute)

However, in February 2021 SANS Institute took another step forward with the first-ever SANS+HBCU Black History Month Capture the Flag competition. This competition grew over seven times the participation compared to their first event. That led to crowning six winners from several HBCUs including: Bowie State University, University of Virgin Islands, Howard University, Voorhees College and Johnson C. Smith University. Now looking to do things BIGGER and BETTER, SANS+HBCU is holding its 2nd annual Black History Month CTF, February 25th – 28th!

The success of the HBCU Black History Month CTF lead to the launch of two HBCU Cyber Academies with the University of Virgin Islands and Norfolk State University. These pilot academies provided a selected number of juniors and seniors with the opportunity to take free SANS courses and earn GIAC certifications. Partnerships with UVI and NSU increased interest throughout the community, leading to the creation of a nationwide HBCU Cyber Academy. 

On Monday, January 17, 2022, applications officially opened for the SANS+HBCU all HBCU Cyber Academy. Unlike their partnership with UVI and NSU, this academy is open to all HBCU juniors, seniors, graduate students, and alumni. Those selected to be part of the inaugural cohort will gain the opportunity to earn up to three free SANS GIAC certifications at the end of a 10-month commitment. In addition to free training, individuals will also receive mentoring, career support, and access to a network of SANS alum.

SANS+HBCU is hopeful that their efforts to engage HBCUs will lead to more diversity in the field of cybersecurity at large.

To learn more about the SANS+HBCU Cyber Academy and BHM CTF visit: https://www.sans.org/hbcu/