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Dean’s Cup keeps students engaged over break

January 27, 2021

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Austen King (left), Antonio Lansang, Tarek Abdelmotaleb, and Stuart Kershaw (not pictured) are winners in the first Dean’s Cup.

Four students in DSU’s Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences have been named winners in the newly instituted Dean’s Cup competition.

The Hack-o-Vation, as it was called,  was a way to keep students engaged over the winter break, said Dr. Pat Engebretson, dean of The Beacom College. The challenge was open to all Beacom College students, both on campus and online.

“My thought was to give students a platform to explore or create something related to their degree program,” Engebretson said.

There were no limitations or restrictions on what a student could submit as long as it was related to their major or minor, he stated, so ideas could be technical, non-technical, a computer game, a model, or a process. “It was up to the students’ imaginations,” he said. Beacom faculty judged the projects on originality, creativity, and problem-solving potential.

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Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences Dean's Cup.

Winners were:

  • 1st Place: Tarek Abdelmotaleb, cyber operations major from Egypt – the Dean’s Cup & $500
  • 2nd Place: Austen King, cyber operations major from Volga, S.D. -  $250
  • 3rd Place: Stuart Kershaw, cyber operations major from Portland, Oregon - $150
  • 4th Place: Antonio Lansang, cyber operations/network security and administration major from Brookings, S.D. - $50 Amazon Gift Card
The students agreed the competition was a good motivator, and were happy the college sponsored the competition.

Abdelmotaleb’s project focused on locating a cell phone using Wi-Fi and geolocation with data coming from the device. This was an idea he had wanted to work on, but had no time for. “Since it was the end of the semester, it worked,” he said.

King’s project topic was spontaneous. Looking at some open source electronics platform kits he’d received as gifts, he was inspired to make an Internet-of-Things doorknob device to control access through a phone.  “The goal is to have a device that will allow locking or access control without having to replace an entire doorknob,” he said. King’s prototype was built from cardboard, but he hopes to use DSU’s 3-D printers to create a new version.

Kershaw’s project was an extension of a class project involving port scanning. (A port scanner application probes a server or host for open ports.)  “I wanted to build a port scanning application with a web-based User Interface (UI) and to learn more about port scanning (at a high level), and get some practice initiating scans from a web UI.”

Lansang’s project continued work he had done on defensive network tools during an internship with MITRE.  These tools can be expensive, creating conflicts over budget with information security management and cyber operations/IT departments. “I wanted to create a software that was affordable, that business of all sizes can use,” he said.

Even if project ideas don’t develop into marketable ideas, it’s about passion, Lansang said.

“It’s all about knowledge, and what you get from doing this,” Abdelmotaleb stated, “and looks good on a résumé.”

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