JACKSON (WWJ) — Students from Baker College of Jackson won the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense competition in Grand Rapids.

The 10-member team competed against teams from colleges and universities throughout the state and will represent Michigan at the Midwest regional competition, March 28-29, in Palos Hills, Ill., with the potential of qualifying for national competition, April 25-27, in San Antonio, Texas.

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“This is a big win for our students and college,” said David Gomez, team advisor and dean of business and technology programs at Baker College of Jackson. “Michigan teams have a strong legacy of winning at regional and national levels. Because the Baker College of Jackson team placed last in 2013, our students knew their preparation would need to be intense. They prepared thoroughly and met the challenge with confidence and professionalism.”

The competition requires each team to respond to 20 injections, or attacks on a computer system. Scoring is based on how the team prioritizes the injections and the number of injections that are neutralized. This was the first year teams were scored on offensive attacks as well.

Gomez credits improvement of Baker’s team results to dedication, training, learning from past mistakes and the experience and knowledge gained by building their own cyber defense lab. The students visited labs at other colleges, then decided what they needed to prepare for competition, reusing and repurposing equipment from throughout the college.

Members of the Baker College of Jackson team are Benjamin Carroll of Jackson (captain and offensive lead); Benjamin Clark of Jackson (co-captain and networking lead); Timothy Fee of Albion (programming lead); Lucas Gorczyca of Jackson (MS Windows lead); Jacob Layher of Jackson (Linux lead); Samuel Carroll of Jackson; Amir Hedayati of Ypsilanti; Kameron Putnam of Jackson; Tia Schutte of Jackson; and Skye Stubbons of Jackson.

One student is earning an associate degree in computer programming; the others are working on bachelor’s degrees in cyber defense. All are first- or second-year students.

“The Baker team did a fantastic job defending their network,” said James Lewis, state director of the Michigan Collegiate Cyber Defense Network, the organization that designs and operates this annual event. “They held up to some of the most critical cyber attacks that can be delivered while maintaining vital network services.“

MCCDN is a group of network engineers, security experts and educators with the goal to encourage academic success for entry into the highly competitive profession of computer networking and cyber defense.

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“We are very proud of what these Baker College students have accomplished,” said Patricia A. Kaufman, Baker College of Jackson president. “Their success reflects their discipline as scholars and the outstanding efforts of our instructors in preparing them for the competition.”

In addition to Gomez, other faculty members coaching the team are William Sherwood, James Suandi and Ron Williams.

Gomez recently retired from a 30-year career with US Airways, where he held management positions in customer service, operations and training. He is a three-time Baker College graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a doctorate in business administration, specializing in leadership studies and management information systems.

Event sponsors were Cyber Defense Training Systems LLC, The Cyber Security Forum Initiative – Cyber Warfare Division, Davenport University and the Michigan Cyber Range.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2012 median annual wage for information security analysts was $86,170. Employment in this field is projected to grow 37 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

For more information about Baker College of Jackson’s computer information systems programs, contact Kevin Pnacek at kevin.pnacek@baker.edu or the admissions office at (517) 788-7800.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a nonprofit higher education institution, serving more than 35,000 students on 12 campuses and in three satellite locations. Baker grants certificates and associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, health sciences, education and human services, and various technical fields, as well as a doctorate of business administration.

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More at http://www.baker.edu.