Recently, a team of UNC Charlotte graduate and undergraduate Cyber Security students earned a spot in the Southeast Regional Finals of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University (KSU).
To garner one of just eight invitations, the UNC Charlotte squad participated in a virtual qualifier in February.
Advised by Dr. Thomas Moyer and captained by students Alex Rodriguez and Tyler Coatsworth, the team finished fourth at KSU. Only the winning team, representing the University of Florida, advanced to the national competition.
Throughout the semester, Rodriguez ensured the team made time to practice together, an exercise critical to success in this competition. Moyer, lauding the team’s commitment, said, “I cannot say enough how impressed I am with the students and the hard work they have put in this semester to prepare for the competition,”
Guaranteeing the squad was suitably challenged was the job of fellow student Will Alexander. Not a member the team, Alexander pitched in at practice sessions to play the role of the attacking “Red Team.”
The mission of the CCDC is to challenge student teams with a computer security curriculum in a controlled, competitive environment. Featuring real-world scenarios designed to give institutions an opportunity to evaluate the strength of their programs, the CCDC also fosters a spirit of teamwork, ethical behavior and effective communication within and across teams. Tasks are specifically designed to test teams’ cyber defense knowledge and skills. More important, however, teams are required to focus on not just securing systems, but also assuring business continuity. Beyond security, each must be able to ensure common business tasks can be performed, uninterrupted, despite the threat or attack.
In 2006, the CCDC crowned a team from UNC Charlotte its very first national champion.
Though it is just his first year on campus, Moyer is pushing beyond the classroom to make a significant difference in the lives of his students and has this team focused on improving its performance. He said, “I know that the team is excited for next year’s competition and I look forward to helping them prepare.”
Perhaps a trip to the finals and another national title are just a year away.
Alex Rodriguez (Captain)
Tyler Coatsworth (Co-captain)
Raul Calcamo (Alt)
Hansel Wei (Alt)