Evergreen Students Take Eighth Place in National Cyber Security Competition

Last weekend a team of four computer science students from The Evergreen State College traveled to New York, where they participated in the annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) at New York University’s (NYU) Polytechnic School of Engineering. The team, GNU E-Ducks, named for the Evergreen mascot, the geoduck, and the GNU open source software movement, became Top-15 finalists in a pool of 300 college teams. The top 15 teams met at NYU Thursday, November 13 through Saturday, November 15 and solved numerous cyber security puzzles, from reverse engineering to cryptography, in a game of virtual “Capture the Flag.” The Evergreen team took eighth place in the national competition.

The students, members of the college’s cyber security student club, consisted of Nick Stephens, Max David, Dylan “Issak” Yansane-Sisk, and Nicola Leonardi. Their expenses were paid by NYU.

Richard Weiss, a computer science professor at Evergreen, noted that members of the Evergreen Cyber Security Club had also competed in the regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition last year, where they took second place. “Evergreen students are being recognized as well-prepared in this field,” said Weiss, “and many go on to graduate school.”

In addition to the prestige of making the finals, the students were pleased by the networking opportunities available during the weekend, according to Weiss. “They met people from other schools, and there were lots of recruiters there,” said Weiss. Github, Raytheon, Yahoo, Twitter and Google were among the sponsors and had representatives in place, as did several government agencies.