LCCC students take top honors in global cyber security tournament

photo of four students who competed in the Cybersecurity TournamentCHEYENNE, Wyoming – Students in Laramie County Community College’s Information Technology Pathway demonstrated their cyber security prowess recently by placing in the top ranks in a highly competitive international tournament. 

Four students — Josh Stephenson, Nathaniel Johnson, Jordan Watson and Gary "Tison" Magee — participated in the Cyberbit ICL Collegiate Cup Tournament Spring Edition, finishing seventh in the final round out of 86 teams and 20 finalists. 

LCCC was one of only a few two-year colleges competing, putting its students up against teams from top universities around the world. 

“For the students to perform so well among that competition was a huge lift in their confidence, as well as in their understanding that the education they receive at LCCC is competitive with the education they could have paid more for at a university,” said Richard Walsh, LCCC IT instructor. 

Cyberbit is a cybersecurity company that provides a comprehensive training and simulation platform for preparing cybersecurity professionals to respond to advanced cyber threats. The company offers a range of products and services that include cybersecurity training, simulation platforms and more. The company's training and simulation platforms are designed to provide hands-on experience to cybersecurity professionals by simulating real-world cyber attacks in a safe and controlled environment.

The ICL Collegiate Cup allows students enrolled in undergraduate cyber security programs to compete in live-fire challenges that mirror the scenarios they will face on the job in a hyper-realistic cyber range, giving competitors a chance to show their cyber defender skills. In two rounds throughout April, students on LCCC’s team — named Gwaihir — took part in exercises, asking questions about virtual cyber security scenarios. 

The team’s chemistry was key to success, said Watson, a 29-year-old sophomore. Though his strength was in the Carbon Black EDR program, he said the collaborative efforts lifted the team to the highest levels in the competition. 

“We didn't make a final decision until everyone had a chance to analyze it,” Watson said. “We also have strengths in different areas, so it was a very well-rounded team with a wealth of knowledge.”

Magee, an 18-year-old sophomore, said the biggest strength he brought to the team was his knowledge of web-application penetration testing. The team’s diverse skill sets that allowed it to excel, he said, could be attributed to the quality of LCCC’s IT program.

“The majority of us came with no background experience, and for us to go from complete amateurs to competing in an international competition and doing as well as we did speaks volumes to the hard work (LCCC IT Program Director Troy Amick) and all of the other instructors have put in to educate us,” Magee said. 

The experience was valuable, too, because it demonstrated LCCC’s IT program is meeting industry standards, Walsh said. 

“We’re not necessarily competing against other colleges and what they’re doing; we’re ensuring that we’re providing the education that our students absolutely need in order to go out and get a job in this field,” he said. 

For more information about LCCC’s IT Pathway, go to lccc.wy.edu/IT, email itpath@lccc.wy.edu or call 307.778.1152.