Southeast Student Named to USA Today Academic Team

Southeast Missouri State University student Jeffrey Overbey has been named to the Third Team in USA TODAY’s 2004 All-USA College Academic Team program. 

Overbey, a senior from Cape Girardeau, is completing majors in computer science and applied math. He was nominated for the team by Southeast professors and selected by a panel of educators chosen in cooperation with USA TODAY’s co-sponsors.

Criteria for application included excellence in scholarship and leadership, both on and off campus, and three letters of recommendation. He also had to write an essay detailing his most outstanding academic or intellectual accomplishment ᾰ a cryptology formula he devised for finding the number of invertible matrices in Hill cipher.

“Basically, the Hill cipher is one way to do secret codes,” Overbey said. “The formula I developed provides a way to measure how secure the Hill cipher is.”

The formula took nearly a year to create.

“I should give credit to my advisor, Dr. Jerzy Wojdylo. He suggested the project and provided a lot of guidance,” he said. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without him.”

Overbey is among an elite group of students recognized by USA TODAY. Other students on the team were from such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, the U.S. Naval Academy, Virginia Tech. and the University of Florida. He said the announcement that he had been chosen came as a surprise.

“I thought it was an honor just to be nominated by the professors at Southeast,” he said. “I definitely didn’t expect this.”

After graduating from Southeast, Overbey plans to continue his education.

“I’m applying to some PhD programs in computer science,” he said. “I hope this will boost my chances.”

Overbey is the son of Daniel and Dr. Gail Overbey of Cape Girardeau.