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A team of students from Iowa State University earned $25,000 for winning the first National Cyber Analyst Challenge.

The goal of the National Cyber Analyst Challenge, created by Lockheed Martin and Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), is to enhance the skills of the future workforce and to inspire students to pursue careers in cyber security, with a focus on developing strategic skills involving analysis and threat identification.

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“Cyber security 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.”

A panel of industry experts selected the winner based on technical proficiency, judgment, and communication.

Cyber Security

The three-month, multi-phased competition started with each team analyzing a cyber case. Next, the teams received training from industry experts. The competition finished in a real-time practical challenge held at Lockheed Martin’s Global Vision Center in Crystal City, Virginia.

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. Each participating 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.

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