A group of 14 University of Houston-Victoria students recently took part in an online competition promoting cyber security with UHV placing among the top 7 % of U.S. colleges participating.

After the first phase of the Cyber FastTrack competition, UHV ranked 27th in the state and 268th out of 5,200 U.S. colleges and universities that took part in the competition.

“UHV’s computer science and computer information systems programs have a tradition of emphasizing information technology security among students,” said Yun Wan, a UHV professor of computer information systems. “We are glad our students are actively participating and achieved this top level. We will continue incorporate cyber security into our program’s core curriculum.”

Cyber FastTrack was launched by SANS Institute, a U.S. company that specializes in information security and cybersecurity training, with support from 25 state governors.

The purpose of the program is to give students an opportunity to discover an aptitude for cybersecurity through a game-like setting.

More than 13,000 students participated in the first phase of the multilevel Cyber FastTrack program, which launched in April. Students began with CyberStart Assess, which served as a tryout level that measured participants’ problem-solving skills as well as aptitude for cybersecurity, such as recognizing and cracking codes. The 2,400 most successful students, including one from UHV, continued to the next phase – the CyberStart Game, which began May 20. Cyber FastTrack does not release the names of students who participate in the competition.

Students who excel in the second phase will be invited to join the third phase, CyberStart Essentials, which goes from July 10 to Sept. 16. The third phase focuses on training that builds on skills learned during the game, including networking, programming, computer architecture, operating systems and how technology can be exploited. The students who excel in all three areas will be eligible to receive a Cyber Honors Academy Scholarship.

“UHV is excited to see our students participate in this new program,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Cyber security has become an international issue, so when our faculty members received an invitation for our students to participate in this game, they were quick to encourage them to apply. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to test their knowledge and consider a career in an increasingly important field in computer science.”

To learn more about UHV’s graduate and undergraduate programs in computer science and computer information systems, go to uhv.edu/arts-and-sciences.

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