The first ever Maine Cyber Defense Competition (MECDC) was held on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono on Saturday, March 20.
Six teams made it to the Finals Round and all did a great job with their community service projects and poster presentations. The real challenge for the day-long event was the CyberNEXS competition in which students had to quickly remove vulnerabilities from their assigned networked computers while simultaneously defending them from the “Red Team” who tried to hack into systems.
The event was well attended and top honors during the awards ceremony went to 1st place: John Bapst Memorial High School; 2nd place: Lake Region High School; and 3rd place: Winslow High School. All who participated agreed this inaugural year event was a huge success. Plans are already underway to identify additional funding to support next year’s MECDC event.
After seeing the positive impact the event was having on the students as they prepared for this day, one Team Advisor remarked, “I have been rewarded watching five boys who would never join anything, would never be on a sports team and would never get any special recognition for their work jump up and shout with joy with each security vulnerability they discovered and removed.”
Project Director Dr. Raymond Albert was joined by his colleagues George Markowsky (UM) and JoAnne Wallingford (UMPI) whose collective efforts with financial support from the University of Maine System (UMS) Strategic Investment Fund helped make this exciting event possible. According to Dr. Albert, “this event has demonstrated that it is possible to raise high school student awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs offered within the UMS by engaging students in an exciting competitive event that has true relevance today and to the future of the very talented students who participated.”
Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to contact Project Director Dr. Raymond Albert at the University of Maine at Fort Kent (207) 834-8696 or by visiting the MECDC website at: mecdc.maine.edu