White Bear Lake, Minn. (March 8, 2012) — A Century College team of eight tech-savvy students and three alternates finished second in the Midwest State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition on Feb. 25 at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
The Century team was the only two-year college team to finish among the top three winners. St. Cloud State University finished first and Minnesota State University Mankato State finished third. The Century team was advised by instructor Dave Keller of the Microcomputer Support Technology Program.
Century will now advance to the Collegiate Cyber Defense Midwest Regional competition, competing against teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. The competition will be held at Moraine Valley Community College near Chicago on March 16 and 17. The winner will head to the national championship in San Antonio in April.
“Our team’s performance represents an outstanding effort on the part of our students,” said Keller. “This is only our second year competing, and we managed to raise the bar on last year’s third place showing.”
Keller noted that it is difficult to beat four-year colleges in the competition because those schools can keep a team together for more than three years.
The Midwest State Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is designed to provide a controlled, competitive environment that permits students to demonstrate their depth of understanding and operational competency in protecting an enterprise network infrastructure and business information system.
Student team members, each with their own computer, spend eight hours protecting their simulated network from repeated hacker attacks. In addition to keeping the network secure, students also have to accomplish various information technology tasks such as creating new users and installing printers. All tasks are timed.
Students said the competition is fun, but intense. Under pressure, they have to learn to work together as a team. For example, they have to decide who does what task based on individual skill sets.
“We all learned so much,” said team captain Kathy Cotterman. “These are things you can’t learn just by sitting in a classroom or reading a book.”
Cotterman and team tech captain Paul Robichaud were the only returning students on the Century team.
Because of their performance in the competition, the Century students will have the opportunity to participate in a Cyber Security Boot Camp this summer, where they will further hone their skills.
In addition to Cotterman of Newport and Robichaud of Lino Lakes, the Century team members were Jake Bernier of Forest lake, Nick Bushor of Shoreview, Jakob Charles of Maplewood, Garret Kleinendorst of Forest Lake, Benjamin Nelson of Roseville and Luke Rolfs of Minneapolis. The alternates were Nancy Babcock of Elk River, Jake Peterson of North Branch and Cher Yang of St. Paul.