Iowa State wins national cyber analyst challenge

Cyber analyst challenge aims to strengthen student interest in cyber-related careers

cyber-analystA cyber competition created by Lockheed Martin and Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) to fill the ever-growing need for cyber analysts has a winner. A student team from Iowa State University was awarded $25,000 as the winner of the first National Cyber Analyst Challenge.

The National Cyber Analyst Challenge was developed to enhance the skills of the future workforce and to inspire students to pursue careers in cybersecurity, with a focus on developing strategic skills involving analysis and threat identification.

“Cybersecurity analysts represent a critical skills need for most organizations and these Iowa State students showed great promise through their hands-on teamwork to solve real-world challenges and progress through the competition,” said Chris Kearns, Lockheed Martin vice president of Enterprise IT Solutions. “The lessons learned from the challenge will enable us to better support the academic community’s cyber curriculums.”

The winner was selected by a panel of industry experts and scored on technical proficiency, judgement, and communication. The three month, multi-phased competition started with each team analyzing a cyber case. In the second phase, the teams received training from industry experts. The competition culminated in a real-time practical challenge held at Lockheed Martin’s Global Vision Center in Crystal City, Virginia. The final event also featured speakers from the field including Maj. Richard Cruz from the Defense Information Systems Agency and Jim Connelly, the chief information security officer from Lockheed Martin.

Nine schools, Iowa State, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Penn State University, Temple University, University of Alabama Huntsville, University of Arizona, University of Central Florida, and University of New Hampshire moved on to Phase II in September. During the challenge, each school received an award of $7,500-$15,000 to support student, faculty, and curriculum development.

“It was gratifying to work with Lockheed Martin to create such a student and faculty-centric opportunity,” said Munir Mandviwalla, executive director, IBIT, who worked with Laurel Miller, director, IBIT, and Kearns to envision the competition. “We hope to increase the national cyber talent pool across the nation’s top programs in Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Engineering.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione