Claflin University's First Ever Cyber Security Team Qualifies for Second Round of Collegiate Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition

Mar 09, 2017

Cyber Security TeamClaflin University's cyber security team has been selected to compete in the second round of Collegiate Day at the 2017 Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition on Sunday, April 9 at Trident Technical College in North Charleston. Claflin is making its inaugural appearance at the competition. The eight-person team advanced after its impressive performance on February 25 in the first round of the event.

The Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition is presented annually by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic and the Navy's East Coast Engineering Center in collaboration with the South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association (AFCEA). The goal of the event is to energize high schools, colleges, and their students to focus on the development of technical skills in the area of networking and cyber security that will help in preparation for exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

During the competition, teams will use the latest cyber security tools and their own cyber skills to prevent constant attacks by hackers attempting to gain access to networks and programs. Claflin's team is comprised of computer science and computer engineering majors. The students are seniors Jibril Burleigh, Sakshyam Dahal, Hannah Hart, Khari Glover and Emannuel Mong; junior Malik Hayes; sophomore Agbai Okoronkwo and freshman Anna Swanier. Tracey Hughes, '97, served as Claflin's team judge. Hughes, a cyber security manager with Deloitte, earned a bachelor's degree in math and computer science at Claflin.

"I am extremely proud of our students," said Dr. Cheryl Swanier," chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences and team advisor. "We entered this competition with very limited experience and we had to compete against teams from larger institutions such as Clemson University, University of South Carolina and The Citadel. Advancing to the second round is truly a very special moment for our students and for Claflin. It's a great experience and a tremendous opportunity for our students to showcase their talents in cyber security. Claflin is the only HBCU in this competition," stated Swanier who is also the Henry N. and Alice Carson Tisdale Endowed Professor in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Dr. Swanier said that teams are limited to six participants in the second round. Claflin will be represented by Hart, Glover, Mong, Hayes, Okoronkwo and Swanier.

"We will spend time practicing and preparing for our next competition," said Swanier. "We know it will not be easy. But I am confident we will be ready."

Pictured - Front row: Tracey Hughes, Hannah Hart, Anna Swanier, Sakshyam Dahal and Emmanuel Mong. Back row: Agbai Okoronkwo, Malik Hayes, Khari Glover and Jibril Burleigh.

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