Sophomore cyber security engineering major Samantha Barry takes every chance she can get to expand and hone her cyber security and computer science skills.
So when she heard about Deloitte’s partnership with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) for the Deloitte CCI Cyber Camp, she jumped at the chance to compete, and she won third place for her efforts.
The Cyber Camp spanned across three Saturdays in July and August. “I heard about it from Professor Peggy Brouse,” says Barry. “I figured it would be a good opportunity to learn about different fields in cyber security over the summer.”
Participants worked on 42 challenges that taught and tested skills in cyber analytics, network traffic analysis, reverse engineering, and cryptography. They also participated in resume workshops and mock interviews.
“The professional development workshops were very valuable and gave me a leg up before I start applying to internships,” says Barry.
Barry’s favorite part of the entire camp was the cryptography challenges. CCI set up the challenges in a capture-the-flag format, and for the cryptography ones, students had to decipher codes at different levels of difficulty.
Barry finds cryptography interesting because of its ability to help people. Ever since she found an interest in programming and cyber security, she’s always wanted to use her skills to work in criminal justice. “Working for the FBI is my dream job, one that I hope I can achieve after Mason,” she says.
The other challenges in networking and cyber analytics were more challenging to Barry since she hadn’t been exposed to them as much. But she credits the Cyber Camp for showing her different possibilities in cyber security.
Fellow participants were from schools across the Commonwealth of Virginia like Northern Virginia Community college, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, and more.
The first and second place winners were both seniors; Jason Jabbour from the University of Virginia received first place, and Christian Jackson from Old Dominion University won second place.
“It was an honor to place in the Cyber Camp. There were a lot of great competitors,” says Barry. She says she is also interested in possibly participating again in the Cyber Camp.
The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative works to establish Virginia as a global leader in autonomous systems, security, and data. George Mason University is the leader of the Northern Virginia Node of CCI.