University of Central Florida Sent the Only All-Women Team to a Cybersecurity Competition in Las Vegas

For the first time ever, the University of Central Florida recently sent an all-women cybersecurity team to a competition. The event, Wicked6 Cyber Games, was held in Las Vegas. The team members are undergraduate computer science majors, Sara Aladham, Lauryn Landkrohn, Sydney Munro, Natalie Larkin, and digital forensics graduate student, Jensly Francisco.

In a qualifying round, the University of Central Florida advanced from a field of 21 teams and competed as one of six finalists at the Las Vegas event. The competition pitted college teams against each other in industry-specific cyber-attack scenarios in a video game-like setting. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Women’s Society of Cyberjustsu, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance women in cybersecurity careers. Each team at Wicked6 was required to have at least one woman on its roster. From the competition’s start, UCF was the only team entirely made up of women.

The women on UCF’s team are members of the university’s Collegiate Cyber Defense Club, Hack@UCF. Out of the group’s 350 members, only 18 percent are women. All five of the Wicked6 team members have served on Hack@UCF’s operations team, which helps plan, organize, and conduct the club’s weekly meetings and workshops.

“Hack had done one other summer competition before that turned out to be just a nightmare in coordinating people to practice remotely and I said, ‘Never again,'” said Thomas Nedorost, an associate lecturer and faculty advisor to Hack@UCF. “But I looked at this competition and saw it was a ground floor opportunity and a charity event. And I thought UCF could have a unique advantage if we could put together a truly competitive all-female team who could go up against any team in the country regardless of gender. The fact that they’ve qualified for the finals demonstrates their level of talent and skillset.”

The University of Central Florida team finished third at the Wicked6 competition, just behind second-place East Coast Polytechnic University and first-place University of Colorado at Boulder.

Filed Under: DiversitySTEM Fields


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply