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Lewis University students place 3rd in cyber defense competition

The computer and mathematical science students from Lewis University in Romeoville performed well in the 2020 Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge that took place Jan. 16 and 17 at the University of Texas-Austin.

Overall, the team placed third out of 19 university teams.

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is 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: David Mendez of Lockport, Andrew Milligan of Somonauk, Jocelyn Murray of Wakefield, Massachussets, and Puneet Singh of Bareilly, India.

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 Laurette Liesen and 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, keynote speakers, technology demonstrations and career networking opportunities.

For information, visit

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