Mason Engineering graduate students Munira Alqahtani and Abdulai Gad Swaray have been selected to compete in the Atlantic Council’s 2020 Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge on March 20-21 in Washington, D.C.
Both students, who are pursuing master’s degrees in applied information technology with cyber security concentrations, are part of the team fielded by the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P), a national consortium of leading academic institutions, national laboratories, and non-profit research organizations.
The competition challenges students to respond to an international cyber-crisis scenario, analyze the threat it poses, and provide recommendations on the best course of action to mitigate the crisis. Students interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation.
“Participating in the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge provides students with an incredible learning experience,” says Massimiliano Albanese, an associate professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology and Mason’s representative in the I3P.
“The competition challenges students to be critical thinkers and work collaboratively to solve a complex cyber problem under strict time and resource constraints. Over the last several years, the I3P team has consistently included Mason Engineering students, and in 2018 the I3P team was a semi-finalist," he says. "In today’s increasingly complex cyber world, it is critical for students to participate in similar extracurricular activities and gain hands-on experience that will help them tackle real-world problems."
Albanese says he’s grateful to David Balenson from SRI International, who has volunteered to coach the I3P team.