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Lewis University students place third in Cyber Defense Competition

The Computer and Mathematical Science students from Lewis University performed well in the 2020 Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge at the University of Texas-Austin, January 16-17. Overall, the team placed third out of 19 university teams. The Lewis University team placed ahead of Harvard University, but lost the final round to West Point.

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a one-of-a-kind cyber competition designed to provide students from across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy and strategy challenges associated with the management of tradeoffs during a cyber crisis.

Four Lewis students competed in the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, including David Mendez of Lockport, Andrew Milligan of Somonauk, Jocelyn Murray of Wakefield, Mass. and Puneet Singh of Bareilly, India. The Lewis University students surpassed such teams as Harvard Law and Brown University before losing to two teams from West Point in the finals. They also took first place in a side competition focused on social engineering. After the competition, the judges remarked to the Lewis students how astonished they were that a team consisting entirely of tech-focused students could deal so deftly with policy and statecraft.

Political Science professors Dr. Laurette Liesen and Dr. Steve Nawara advised them on the relevant policy issues, helping them refine their submissions to qualify for the competition. Professor Matt Kwiatkowski, deputy chief information security officer at Argonne and adjunct instructor at Lewis mentored the team and accompanied them to Austin. Lewis alumni Scott Likens and Brian Osborne funded the team's travel to the competition. Lewis' Cyber Defense Group is headed by graduate assistant Ryan Meeker and Assistant Professor Jason Perry.

The competition, part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, challenges students to respond to a realistic, evolving scenario of international cyber crisis, analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private-sector interests, and provide recommendations on the best course of action to mitigate the crisis. The event featured two days of competition, key note speakers, technology demonstrations, and career networking opportunities.

"Their success also demonstrates how the problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and deeply technical content of a computer science education equip students to tackle a wide variety of complicated but important problems" said Dr. Ray Klump, associate dean of the College of Aviation, Science, and Technology at Lewis University.

Visit the Lewis University Computer and Mathematical Sciences department website for more information.

Lewis University is an innovative and forward-thinking Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,300 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected and socially responsible graduates. Visit http://www.lewisu.edu for further information.


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