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University of the Cumberlands

Cumberlands Students from Whitley County, Kentucky Place in Top 1 Percent in National Cyber League Competition

WILLIAMSBURG, KY - This isn’t the Justice League, it’s the National Cyber League. Just as exciting as the former, minus the cool outfits. But, as a bonus, nobody’s life is on the line. A decent trade-off.

Students from University of the Cumberlands competed in the National Cyber League (NCL) Spring 2023 Competition, placing in the top 1 percent of competitors nationwide. Out of more than 7,820 students, between the individual and team-based events, Cumberlands students placed No. 78 nationally. Cumberlands was one of 450 colleges and universities who competed.

University of the Cumberlands would like to recognize the following students for their performance during the NCL Spring 2023 Competition:

  • Daniel Ruiz Ramis
  • Hannah Tan
  • Matt Burns
  • Johnathon MacNevin
  • David Ball
  • Dorian Bachlaj
  • Britton Bryant

Well done, Patriots! Team sponsor/coach was Seth Gilliam, administrative assistant for the School of Computer Information Sciences at the university. Gilliam coordinated meetings, ensured all students were properly registered for the event, and so on.

Ken Sims, an associate professor at Cumberlands, explained, “The National Cyber League competition allows students to solve cybersecurity-related problems in various areas – for example, open-source intelligence, cryptography, forensics, pen-testing, and ransomware recovery. The challenges have multiple levels of difficulty, allowing even the beginning cybersecurity student an opportunity to participate. Competitions are conducted both as individual events and team events.”

Per the National Cyber League, “The NCL, powered by Cyber Skyline, is a cybersecurity skills competition that contains real-world cybersecurity tasks that professionals perform on a daily basis. Students who participate in the NCL reinforce their learning and develop the necessary skills for the workforce. Students also earn a skills report that recognizes their abilities and can be shown to an employer to demonstrate the student’s readiness for the job, further bridging the gap from curriculum to careers.”

Sims remarked on the importance of giving students the opportunity to solve problems like the ones they will encounter in the "real world" as part of their education, which can be hard to reproduce in lecture. By facing real-world challenges individually and coming up with workable solutions within a set time frame, students build confidence in their abilities to apply the theory they’re learning in class to the kinds of obstacles they’ll face in the workforce. That kind of experience is vital when students are seeking new IT jobs or promotions for current jobs.

There is another benefit to competing in team challenges, too.

Said Sims, “Team challenges strengthen the relationships among the students and build strong interpersonal skills. This mirrors the workforce, which often has IT professionals working together in teams to solve the problems presented.”

Dr. Machica McClain, Dean of the School of Information Technology at Cumberlands, noted that students need events like the NCL competition to better understand workforce expectations.

She said, “Without knowledge of the required skills, they won't be equipped to adequately defend our companies. But due to events like these, they are more prepared. I am highly impressed with our students, who relentlessly tackled every challenge. We are proud of their achievements.”

University of the Cumberlands offers several degree programs in computer science fields, online and in-seat, graduate and undergraduate. To learn more about the computer science degree programs Cumberlands offers, visit www.ucumberlands.edu/academics.

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