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DSU students to compete on US Cyber Games team

June 8, 2022

Four students have qualified for the International Cybersecurity Competition (ICC), a new venture created by Enisa, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. Enisa has held European cybersecurity challenges for several years, but created the ICC in an effort to attract young talent and raise awareness in the global community about the education and skills needed for cybersecurity.

The ICC will be held Jun 14-17 in Athens, Greece, with participants from around the world competing on seven teams. The U.S. team is sponsored by Katzcy, a social impact company committed to helping tech and cybersecurity companies grow.

Members of the U.S. team of 20 include four with Dakota State connections, alumni Joshua Klosterman and Logan Stratton, and current student Austen King. Student Eric Leslie also qualified, but is unable to participate in the competition due to work conflicts.

“To have this number of students qualify for the U.S. team is remarkable,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths.

It is not unexpected, however, because DSU cyber competition teams have been very successful in many U.S. contests.

“We have high-caliber students who are driven to succeed, and cutting-edge educational programs taught by faculty with experience in cyber fields. This results in graduates who have the exact cybersecurity skills the world will need today, and for the future,” Griffiths stated.

“We’re incredibly impressed by the teamwork and skill shown by Logan, Eric, Austen, and Josh,” said U.S. Team Head Coach Dr. TJ O’Connor. He is Program Chair in Cybersecurity in Computer Engineering and Sciences at Florida Tech.

“They have represented themselves and the program at Dakota State admirably as leaders on our talented team. Dakota State is an outstanding partner for the U.S. Cyber Games team, and we are looking forward to the full team's success in Greece,” he stated.

This DSU contingent makes up the largest representation from one school on the U.S. team. Stratton said that having the most representatives “shows that we may be a small Midwest school, but we have some of the best ability to output great talent into the field.” Originally from Luverne, Minn., Stratton is a Research Engineer II at DSU’s Applied Research Lab. He has a B.S. in Cyber Operations and an M.S. in Computer Science from Dakota State.

Stratton and his teammates will participate in the ICCs competition events, which will include a red team/blue team competition, and a Capture the Flag (CTF) event. To prepare, members of the U.S. team have been meeting over the past year to practice the various skill sets needed to succeed in the competition, said Klosterman.

“This has been fantastic for helping me gain new perspectives on challenges in the cybersecurity space. Developing new skills is always fun as well,” Klosterman added, “and I'm looking forward to seeing the results of that effort in Greece.” A native of Brandon, S.D., Klosterman earned a B.S. in Network and Security Administration, and an M.S. in Information Assurance. He currently works as a Senior Cyber Security Engineer at MITRE.

King is also optimistic about the experience, and the networking opportunities the ICC will provide. “I’m looking forward to learning from some of the best and brightest in the field,” he said. A cyber operations major from Volga, S.D., he is currently working as an Intern at IBM’s X-Force Red.

Klosterman said, “the opportunity to work with other cyber competitors from around the nation, and represent the United States on an international level, has been a unique opportunity that I've enjoyed immensely.”

To follow the progress of the ICC, look for competition results here https://ecsc.eu/icc/. Also, competitions are in progress for ICC Season II. See https://www.uscybergames.com/ for more information on Season II.

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