Cyber-Security Student Team Earns Regional Spot
Members of the Cyber Hogs team have earned a ticket to the Southwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition finals in Tulsa March 22-24.
A University of Arkansas student cyber-defense team will return this month to the finals of an eight-school competition to see which university will emerge victorious at the end of a real-world cybersecurity gauntlet.
The University of Arkansas Cyber Hogs made the Southwest Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition finals by coming in the top eight slots in a field of 21 after a qualifying round.
The Southwest CCDC region consists of schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Southwest CCDC Regional Competition will take place at the University of Tulsa March 22-24 against Baylor University, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Tulsa, University of North Texas, and University of Texas at Austin.
The Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is a national competition featuring more than 200 universities across the United States. Participants must defend a network for a 24- to 36-hour period. Nine regional competitions that lead to a national final featuring regional winners.
The Cyber Hogs team includes: Clayton Townsend II, co-captain; Alicia Gillum, co-captain, Gunner Lawless, Alycia Carey, Benjamin Schaap, Nicholas Vinger, and Alexandria Lim.
The Cyber Hogs were coached by Roy Hatcher of UITS and Dale Thompson, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.
CCDC provides hands-on application of information assurance skills to enhance students' understanding of both theory and practice. The CCDC fulfills the same role as a capstone project in a traditional engineering program, combining legal, ethical, forensics, and technical components while emphasizing a team approach in a real-world environment.
For Cyber Hogs Co-Captain Alicia Gillum, the competition is a chance to get hands-on experience in cybersecurity, a field she hopes to pursue after graduation. And, she said, working with teammates has given her important perspectives to improve her work.
"We learn from each other—each person brings a unique point of view to the table and that's especially important in cybersecurity," she said. "I've learned so much from my fellow teammates that I wouldn't have learned in class. The problem with undergraduate courses is that they're large and there are few resources to get genuine hands-on experience with, but with CyberHogs I can collaborate with others who share my passion for learning and apply the security models I've learned in lecture."
The Cyber Hogs are a cybersecurity student-led effort sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering and the UITS chief information security officer.
With contributions from Facilities Management, Arkansas Research Alliance, Innovate Arkansas, Startup Junkie and the NWA Council, the project will help make classrooms safer.
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