Governor Reynolds and the Deputy CIO of Iowa Jeff Franklin Named Winners of the SANS Institute's 2017 Difference Makers Awards

Bethesda, Md. – SANS Institute today announced Governor Reynolds and the Deputy CIO of Iowa Jeff Franklin have been named among the winners of the 2017 SANS Difference Makers Award. The Difference Maker Awards were created to honor the unsung heroes in cyber security whose innovation, skill, and hard work have resulted in real successes in information security.

"Jeff Franklin did a spectacular job at giving students in Iowa a chance to discover their talent - in some cases their hidden talents. Kudos," said Alan Paller, National Program Manager, U.S. CyberStart and Director of Research, SANS Institute.

Governor Reynolds was recognized for her efforts to help inspire the next generation cyber security talent by bringing the CyberStart pilot program to students in Iowa. 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.

The CyberStart pilot program was managed by Mr. Franklin who in just two weeks, with help from his communication team, signed up 474 Iowa students. Of the nearly 3,300 students competing from seven states, five Iowa high school and college students were in the overall top 50 each winning 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, IA.

Participant Scott Fisk, a senior at Iowa State University sent a note to Governor Reynolds saying, "Thanks so much for sponsoring this! 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. This has been a really fun and valuable program."

To learn more about the SANS Difference Makers Awards, visit:

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at in-person and virtual cyber security training events and on demand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cyber security. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cybersecurity risk. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community. (