March 22, 2011

Cyber 'Security Dawgs' ready to compete

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale student cyber defense team is preparing for this week’s Midwest Regional Competition.

This is the fifth time in the event’s six years the squad is making a regional appearance. Eight teams compete Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26, at Moraine Valley Community College, with the champion advancing to the sixth annual National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, April 8-10. The SIUC “Security Dawgs” finished second to DePaul University in last year’s regional competition.

A donation of security hardware and software from Chicago-based cyber security provider Trustwave will enable the team, along with students in the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies to further enhance their education.

The donation will not only include both hardware and software for the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies, but also provide regular interactions between Trustwave, ISAT students, and the Security Dawgs’ team, said Alden Hutchison, vice president of security service delivery for Trustwave.

The donation is valuable for the opportunities it provides students, said Ralph F. Tate, associate professor in Electronic Systems Technologies and interim director of the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies, The Information System Technologies (IST) program is concentrating a lot of effort into information assurance and cyber security offerings, he said.

“”There are opportunities out there and we want to make sure our students are equipped and prepared to take advantage of those opportunities,” Tate said.

The monetary value of the donation is still being determined, said Hutchison, who graduated from SIUC in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a computer specialization. Hutchison said he has joined the advisory board for the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies to assist in developing curriculum so students graduating from the IST program will be attractive to hiring companies.

“The hardware and software will help students because it will allow them to work with current technology that will provide them with applicable skills when they graduate,” Hutchison said. “They can translate this education into value for employers, which will translate into higher salaries.”

Another Trustwave employee, Ron Dupree, graduated from the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies in August 2010.

The Security Dawgs will tour the company’s security operations center later this week and meet with Jon Claudius, security operation center manager, before the competition.

Tom Imboden, an assistant professor and Security Dawgs’ faculty adviser, said support from international firms “is a big, big benefit for us,” and also gives the firms an opportunity to see future employees after students graduate.

Other team sponsors include Aisin, State Farm Insurance, Core Security Technologies, and the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies.

Teams in the upcoming regional are SIUC, DePaul University, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio; Davenport University, Grand Rapids, Mich.; St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn.; Alexandria Technical & Community College, Alexandria, Minn.; Indiana Institute of Technology, Ft. Wayne, Ind., and Waukesha County Technical College, Pewaukee, Wisc.

Competing for SIUC, listed by hometown, major, and year in school are:


  • Danville: Darcie L. Cohee, information systems technologies, junior.
  • LaHarpe: Donnie R. Owsley, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Murphysboro: Michael O. Buhman, information systems technologies, junior.
  • Murphysboro: Gavin L. McDaniel, information systems technologies, senior (alternate).
  • Nashville: Gared M. Seats, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Olney: Ross W. Petty, information systems technologies, electronic systems technologies.
  • Peoria: Anton Castelli, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Pinckneyville: Timothy A. Gallatin, information systems technologies, senior.
  • Streamwood: Ross H. Bennett, information systems technologies, senior, (alternate).
  • Tamaroa: Paul J. Nehrkorn, information systems technologies, senior, (alternate).
  • Trilla: Gregory S. Groves, information systems technologies, senior.


  • Fort Myers: J. Scott Ross, information systems technologies, senior (alternate).