October 23, 2018

The John A. Logan College Cyber Security Team, the Logan Defenders, was recently notified that they have been accepted to compete in the Department of Energy Cyber Force Competition November 30 and December 1, at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL. The Defenders were chosen after a lengthy application process. This is the second time in three years that the Defenders were selected to compete. In their previous appearance JALC was the only community college in the competition, and will be one of only two community colleges at this year’s event.

For Coach Mark Rogers the selection is an honor, and despite being the smallest school in the competition where they will go up against the likes of Purdue University, Indiana University and Loyola of Chicago he believes his team will not be intimidated, and will use it as motivation to perform.

“We will go into this as a big underdog because we will be going up against teams that write their own operating system and have Ph.D. students that have competed on the same team for four or five years,” said Rogers. “This will be the first national competition for everyone on my team, but they are really talented, and I know that they are motivated to do very well.”

Rogers added that the opportunity to participate in this competition will open up many doors for the students.

“Professionally this will open up so many doors because there are only a couple hundred students nationally that get to compete in this event,” said Rogers. “All the students have to have resumes with them and the Department of Energy and other agencies along with headhunters for corporations will be there to watch and see what they can do.”

For team members Roger Jeter and Alexis Winters this is the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It is an excellent opportunity and an exciting opportunity to showcase the skills that we have been learning,” said Jeter. “We have the same practice and skill set as the four-year schools even though we don’t have the same resources, but we do get to showcase what we have learned on a big stage with a lot of eyes watching.”

“I think it is going to be a real eye opener and a game changer for me,” added Winters. “In just one year of competing, I have learned so much. I can’t wait to be a part of this competition.”

According to Rogers, competitions will take place at other National Laboratories at the same time with the winners of each competition squaring off to crown a champion at a later date. Other teams chosen for the Argonne competition are McKendree University, Lewis University, Kansas State, University of Houston, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois State, Northeastern Illinois University, UIC, Purdue University, Northern Iowa, College of DuPage, Central Florida, Northern Illinois and Indiana University. This year’s Logan Defenders are Roger Jeter, Marion; Alexis Winters, Marion; Arnaud Henoux, Carterville; Devin Beasley, Crab Orchard; Jared Ponton, Hattiesburg, MS; Tyler Oakley, Marion. The team is coached by Mark Rogers and Kylee Williams.