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CWU Students Participate at Prestigious Regional Cybersecurity Competition

Central Washington University student “computer hackers” were among those demonstrating their skills this past weekend at the Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (PRCCDC).

It was the fourth time that Central students—members of the CWU Ethical Hacking Club—have taken part in the event.

“The competition is an important way for students to practice their cyber defense skills in a virtual environment that is as realistic as it comes,” said Deborah Wells, CWU Information Technology and Administrative Management (ITAM) lecturer, and the club’s adviser. “It’s also a venue for cyber scouts to look for talent as future employees.”

Sponsored by the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the competition, which was held virtually this year, differs from other cyber defense competitions in that it focuses on the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing network infrastructure.

Each team was scored on its abilities to detect and respond to outside threats while maintaining services—such as mail and web servers—and balancing both security and business needs.

“This was the first year for all six of the CWU students on this year’s team to compete, so the learning curve was steep,” Wells said. “Even though they didn’t advance to the national round of the competition, this group of students did a phenomenal job. They excelled and more importantly had tons of fun. The students took copious notes from the outbrief so they have a new strategy to employ. They are all ready to start preparing for next year’s competition.”  

This year’s squad included Noah Black, sophomore, Puyallup; Melissa Bush, senior, Twisp; Ed Locquiao, a post-baccalaureate student, Yakima; Osvaldo Sanchez Velasco, graduate student, Quincy, Josh Goché, junior, Olympia; Long Thai, junior, Seattle.

The Pacific Rim contest was one of nine regional events in the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. The first such competition was held in 2005.

The Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking Club, which was founded in 2014, has about two-dozen members. It offers students a chance to hone their technical skills in cybersecurity, computer-network penetration testing, and other information technology skills beyond what they learn in the classroom.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

Photo: (L. to r.) Back row—Locquiao, Thai, Black, and Goché; Front row— Sanchez Velasco and Bush.

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