Cyber Defense Club ties for second at national competition


Students in the Kansas State Cyber Defense Club reflect on the past year with pride and look forward to another year as they prepare for the challenges and opportunities to come.

On Thursday, Joy Hauser, junior in computer science and recently-elected club president, began one of the last meetings of the semester by talking about new ideas for next semester and receiving feedback from members. Ideas and questions concerning new members and new projects were heard, as well as suggestions and feedback on current methods.

The club focuses on competitions, such as the Argonne National Laboratory’s Cyber Defense Competition, which took place Monday in Lemont, Illinois, where K-State tied for second place with Dakota State University. Following the event, the club is working to encourage hard work and dedication while also attempting to expand and open the door for new members to get involved.

“When I first joined the club, it had about eight people in it,” said Richard Petrie, graduate student in business administration and former club president. “It was very technical and had a lot of qualifications to even get in the door. One of the things we did as officers last year, and one of the things we are doing this year, was removing some of the technical requirements and kind of focused the club on teaching.”

Petrie said since the changes were made, the club has grown to approximately 20 members.

The club does presentations on new technologies that are used in the industry and shows demonstrations of it in use. They go over fundamentals for new and less experienced members. The club is working toward a teaching environment that will allow new members to get a grasp on the terminology and technology while also bringing together older members with more experience in order to help the club progress as a team.

One item that was stressed was the need to get involved with as much as possible and to work diligently to improve.

“You only learn so much in the club,” said Lance Pettay, senior in computer science. “You have to do stuff outside of class too.”

Pettay said new members should not hesitate to get involved because the earlier they get started, the better off they will be. The use of hard work and dedication within the club is not just for the benefit of the projects however, as the members are able to learn from the challenges that the work brings with it.

“You learn about being able to handle the pressure of not knowing things,” Hauser said. “Competitions is stressful and you learn from it.”

Moving forward, Hauser would also like to make the club more welcoming to new members and hopefully increase students’ interest in the club. He said any students are welcome to join, but taking the cyber defense basics class, CIS490, is recommended.