Competition at Trident Tech urges students to pursue career in cybersecurity

Apr 10, 2017

Hannah Hart had 30 minutes to build a computer system and set up firewalls. Then, she had to spend hours defending the system against serious attempts to hack into it.

It was a tall measure for Hart and her fellow teammates from Claflin University, especially since a special group in another room at Trident Technical College was trying its best to disrupt Claflin’s work.

“We’ve done our best to defend our system while completing tasks like decoding text, changing passwords, and some others,” Hart said Sunday at the Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition. “It’s a big project and give us a chance to see how things will be in a real world setting.”

Sunday was Part 2 of a three-day event at Trident Tech that focused on getting students prepared for a career in cybersecurity.

Tonya Davis, a network assistance management instructor at Trident, said the future of cybersecurity depends on students who have developed a passion for the industry. She said teaching students how to work through these problems is timely because of the recent cyber attack issues that the U.S. has faced.

“Students get real jobs that start at events like this,” Davis said. “And it’s rewarding to know we’re doing work that will benefit their lives, as well as our country.”

The competition came as a partnership between three groups: the South Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association; the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic; and South Carolina Cyber.

The event included a high school competition on Saturday and the college contest on Sunday.


On Saturday, Porter-Gaud School in Charleston won the contest. The students beat out several other schools including Palmetto Scholars Academy, South Aiken High School and others.

And on Sunday, the College of Charleston won the contest, winning over Claflin, Clemson University, and about five other colleges.

The Lowcountry Armed Forces group, or AFCEA, provided a $500 scholarship to each member of the winning teams.

“The whole, big picture is that we’re trying to develop our future cybersecurity workforce,” said Jeff Sweeney, the director of the competition. “There’s a great need for people in this field and it’s important to get more of our young people involved.”

*Story is a reprint from the Post and Courier Newspaper

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