UCS students lock down cybersecurity competition
UCS students lock down cybersecurity competition
Posted on 07/11/2019
Award winners standing outside their classroom Six Utica Community Schools students earned a top finish in a competition that tests their skills in one of this nation’s fastest growing career fields.

The Stevenson High School team earned a fifth-place finish in the Cyber Challenge sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC).

This is the first year a UCS team participated in the competition as part of a cybersecurity course implemented for high school students this year.

“It was very difficult because we are new, but we learned a lot,” said Stevenson junior Noah Elkins. “It took a lot of everyone’s help to get to one common goal.”

Team members are Lyla Hang, Donald Cox, Evan Malin, Marceles Moore, Elkins, and Luay Shawket. Their teacher is Janet Gendelman. 

The national Cyber Challenge required students to complete a series of challenges within the 24-hour competition period. Competition challenges included cybersecurity concepts such as Reconnaissance, Web Exploitation, Cryptography, Networking and Reverse Engineering.

More than 300 high school teams from across the nation participated in the challenge, including 68 from Michigan. The Stevenson team placed fifth among Michigan teams in its first year of participation. 

The field of cybersecurity protects the data and integrity of computing assets belonging to or connecting to an organization's network. Its purpose is to defend those assets against all threat actors throughout the entire life cycle of a cyber attack.

Utica Community Schools introduced a cybersecurity course for high school students to position graduates for success in the quickly growing career field. Students completing the course will have the ability to earn CompTIA A+ certification, a globally-recognized industry standard.

Lila Hang, a 2019 graduate, said the program has helped prepare her as she heads to Wayne State University to pursue a career in Artificial Intelligence. 

“This has been a great opportunity,” she said. “As the world evolves, we need classes like this because unfortunately, things happen.”