Southeast Entering Team in Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

by News Bureau on Tuesday, Mar. 05, 2013

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 5, 2013 — The Cyber Defense Club at Southeast Missouri State University plans to enter a team in the Missouri Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition March 16. Eight freshmen through seniors majoring in cybersecurity will participate in the all-day virtual competition during which various college teams connect to a common computer system from their respective remote locations. Team members include Jeremy Wiedner of Imperial, Mo., Travis Holland of Dexter, Mo., Jake Schnurbusch of Jackson, Mo., Battle Tomasetti of Ballwin, Mo., R. D. Niroshan Lakmal Rajapakse of Sri Lanka, Melanie Thiemann of Wentzville, Mo., Charity Meyer of Harrisonville, Mo., and Blynn Atchley of Malden, Mo.

“I am proud of our team. We have put in a lot of extra hours to prepare for the competition,” says team leader Wiedner. “We are learning a lot that is beyond the scope of our class work. Some of us have some previous knowledge that will be helpful during the competition.” For example, Wiedner says Holland has experience administering Windows based operating systems. “He has been putting in extra hours to extend that knowledge to Windows Servers and the services running on them,” he said. “We have two freshmen, Melanie Thiemann and Charity Meyer who are both inexperienced but willing to learn and study. I am confident that we will do well in the competition.” Faculty advisor for the club and team mentor is Dr. Vijay Anand. He teaches many of the courses in the cybersecurity program. “This competition allows students to get some security experience beyond the confines of a classroom. Students can apply concepts learned in the cybersecurity classes to a real world situation of protecting digital assets from adversaries,” Anand says. The Cyber Defense Club is a student organization at Southeast. The club is open to all majors with an interest in cybersecurity and currently has members from both cybersecurity and computer science. The group was launched to connect students to companies and professionals in the field of cyber defense. A second goal is to provide students with experiential learning opportunities, such as this competition. “We’re happy to support activities such as these, the connections students make with professionals during their education can really shape their future careers,” says Brad Deken, interim chair of the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology. “Hands-on experience is so important to our students, and it will definitely give them an advantage when they begin their job hunts.”

The Missouri State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition was started this year because of growing interest in cybersecurity within the region. In addition to the team from Southeast, teams from the Missouri University of Science and Technology at Rolla, Mo., and teams from Iowa and Wisconsin are participating. The goal for these teams is to make it to the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NCCDC), which is the championship event for this and the largest college-level cyber defense competition in the United States.

The cybersecurity program at Southeast Missouri State University began in fall 2011 and is designed to educate students in the existing and emerging challenges in the security and privacy of the cyber infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Labor expects 22 percent growth in jobs within this field over the next decade. “In fact, many companies are already recruiting our cybersecurity students for internships and full-time positions,” Anand says. Those interested in the cybersecurity program at Southeast, the Cyber Defense Club or the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition are asked to contact Anand at vanand@semo.edu.