Cyber Defense Team Advances to Regionals


MACON – Mercer University's Cyber Defense Team finished among the top eight teams in the qualifying round for the Southeastern Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (SECCDC) on Feb. 25, advancing to next month's regionals at Kennesaw State University.

Mercer bested the likes of Clemson University, Florida State University, the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina, The Citadel, the University of Alabama and others to advance to the regional competition, which will take place April 5-6.

The SECCDC qualifying round is a three-hour virtual competition in which teams take on the role of the IT department of a theoretical company.

Teams are graded based on how many assigned business tasks are completed, how much time they keep the servers and services up and running and how successful they are in preventing and mitigating attacks from external threats to the network.

“Students learn a tremendous amount about cybersecurity by participating in the Cyber Defense Team,” said Dr. David Cozart, professor of computer science and coach of the team. “Students learn security skills that they can carry with them into the job market. Cybersecurity is a hot field now, and Mercer students are being well-prepared in this technical area.”

Members of the team include Matt Adams, Pierre Balinda, William Houde, Jerome Jackson, Devin McBryde, Charles Rogers (co-captain), Nick Rasmuson (captain), Edwin Sanchez and Jarrett Melnick (alternate).

Jesse Sowell, Computer Science Department systems administrator, also works with the team in preparation for competitions.

The winner of the onsite regional competition from among Mercer, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Middle Georgia State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the University of South Alabama will represent the Southeast region at the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition April 13-15 in San Antonio, Texas.