by Clem Boyd
Fort Lauderdale in March. A dream destination for five Cedarville University cyber operations students when the weather can still be dicey during a Midwestern spring. But for them, it was also a place for learning how to help the U.S. avoid a cyber-nightmare.
The five students and Dr. Seth Hamman, associate professor of cyber operations and computer science, made the trip to south Florida, all-expenses-paid, to participate in Hack the Port 22, a prestigious conference of cyber professionals, academics, and students, from March 21-25.
The conference featured keynotes by national cyber leaders, including Chris Inglis, the first U.S. national cyber director, and Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The Maryland Innovation and Security Institute, in partnership with U.S. Cyber Command, are the program hosts for Hack the Port 22.
The conference organized a themed cyber competition where students and professionals exercised their cyber defensive and offensive skills. The Cedarville team tested their savvy among a select number of invited schools.
“The fact we were selected to participate means we are a known and nationally respected cyber program,” Hamman said. “We're not only teaching the right content in the classroom but our students are engaged in extracurricular activities, such as cyber competitions and service to the community. Cedarville has a mature cyber program vetted by respected organizations.”
In fact, Cedarville is one of only two schools in the nation to receive the National Security Agency’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations and the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Cybersecurity accreditation.
Competing for Cedarville were the following senior computer science majors with a cyber operations specialization: team captain Aaron Campbell from Overland Park, Kansas; team vice-captain Ryan Albrecht from Avondale, Pennsylvania; Madeline Chairvolotti from New Hartford, Connecticut; Tim Dibert from Laytonsville, Maryland; and Adam Marvin from Tuckerton, New Jersey.
For the competition, the students worked through a simulated attack and defense on U.S. critical infrastructure, a maritime port. The competition mimicked a potential real-world threat.
“These five seniors have been exemplary students and have done so much to build our cyber program the past four years. We are going to miss them greatly next year,” Hamman said. “This event was only a few weeks before graduation – what a great way for us to cap off their cyber careers at Cedarville. We feel so blessed and enjoyed spending this time together learning, networking, and having fun!”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in cyber operations program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.