Ten university finalists have been selected for the 2016 National Cyber Analyst Challenge (NCAC), a competition that supports top students currently pursuing cyber-related degrees in the nation’s leading programs. Powered by Leidos and administered by Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), the competition will send 10 teams to Phase 2 advanced cyber training and the subsequent Phase 3 finals in Reston, Va., Oct. 27-28.
The finalists (in alphabetical order) are: Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Iowa State University, Penn State University, Syracuse University, Temple University, University of Maryland University College, University of South Florida, University of Texas at San Antonio, and Villanova University. Each team will receive an award of $6,000 to $12,000 to support student, faculty, and curriculum development. The winning team will be selected by a panel of industry experts and will receive $25,000.
In its second year, the Cyber Analyst Challenge is a pioneering interdisciplinary competition that includes undergraduate and master’s students studying information systems, computer science, and engineering, and encourages the development of strategic skills involving analysis, threat identification, and mitigation planning.
“The demand for cyber professionals with analytical mindsets and strong fundamental skills grows every year and our customers need more students to enter the field and help defend our nation in cyber space,” said Chris Kearns, Leidos Senior Vice President of Enterprise IT Solutions.
The three-month, multi-phase competition aims to inspire today’s technologically literate students to pursue careers in cyber security. Participating universities field teams of four to five students, and a faculty advisor, to analyze a data set. The data set provides the context to a fictitious cyber incident. For Phase I each team submitted a C-level presentation to analyze the incident and provide recommendations.
New in 2016, the associated NCAC conference will engage faculty and industry experts on cyber risk analysis, threat identification, remediation, and communication. Presenters will discuss cyber research and curriculum challenges and opportunities including macroeconomic, policy, legal, and digital perspectives, as well as curriculum best practices – targeted toward schools interested in expanding their cyber programs. The conference will also include advanced cyber topics – tutorial style short presentations on leading edge cyber topics.
“It was gratifying to work with Leidos to create such a student- and faculty-centric opportunity,” said Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, IBIT’s Executive Director and the Chair of Management Information Systems at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “We hope to increase the cyber talent pool and knowledge base across the nation’s top programs in Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Engineering.”