BSC Cybersecurity Students Compete in National Cyber League | Bismarck State College

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BSC Cybersecurity Students Compete in National Cyber League

Posted: Oct 06 2022
BSC Cybersecurity Students Compete in National Cyber League
A team of Bismarck State College (BSC) Cybersecurity students has placed 84th out of 3,658 teams at the National Cyber League, a virtual cyber competition, placing them in the top 2% in the nation. The team competition, which took place in the spring of 2022, provided students a hands-on experience, putting the skills they learned in the classroom to work in real-life scenarios. 

The BSC team–Binary Brains–was comprised of six BSC students, including Jonathan Arbach, Mitchel Bartch, Payton Bender, Taylor Betting, Chris Cain and Richard Sagmiller. This is the second time BSC has had a team compete and rank in the top 400.  

To qualify for the team competition, individuals must have competed and scored high enough in the individual competition. Competition categories included open-source intelligence, cryptography, password cracking, web access exploitation, log analysis, forensics, web application exploitation and more. 

Sagmiller believes the value of competing extends beyond being an enjoyable experience. “These types of competitions show you what type of education you’re able to get at Bismarck State College with our quality instructors,” he said. “It helps you build toward becoming a better professional, and I think that just goes hand in hand with BSC’s values.” 

Sagmiller graduated from BSC with an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Cybersecurity and Computer Networks in 2021 and has since returned to earn his Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity and Information Technology Systems. He is employed at Marathon Petroleum at the Mandan Refinery as an advanced IT technician and was recently promoted as a full-time employee. He will graduate from BSC with his bachelor’s degree in 2023.

Betting graduated in 2022 with her AAS in Cybersecurity and Computer Networks. She said the competition tested students on the knowledge they gained in the classroom, and they experienced what it would be like to put it into practice in the workforce. She said, “Throughout the associate degree, we take a lot of cybersecurity classes and networking classes that are taught mainly in a lab and virtual-based environment.”

Betting said the competition “was not like anything I had experienced in college. [But] it showed how much I really learned… It was really an amalgamation of everything I had learned in the AAS program.”

Prior to the competition, Betting wasn’t sure if she wanted to continue on in the cybersecurity field. However, she learned she had more skills to unlock. 

“I learned how good I was at password cracking, cryptography and digital forensics; something I wouldn’t even have realized I was good at,” said Betting. “I got to walk away with so much more knowledge of it and seeing how far I’ve come and how far I want to go.” Betting has since decided to continue her education and has enrolled in the BSC Cybersecurity and Information Technology program to earn her bachelor’s degree.

Betting wasn’t the only one who was unsure of her skills prior to the competition. “We had a lot of associate-level students who were unsure if they wanted to do this competition, but they really excelled. All of them did well. They worked together, and they proved it to themselves,” said Sagmiller.  

In addition to hands-on experience, this competition also gives students a competitive edge in the workforce. Students who compete receive both a score report and a scout report to share with prospective employers and include on their LinkedIn profiles. These provide recognition as well as a competitive edge for job placement through scouting and recruiting. 

“Employers do appreciate things like this, and it helps you stand out,” said Sagmiller. 

Betting said the competition was one of the most rewarding and experiences of her degree, besides graduating, and she hopes BSC will continue to participate in the competition. “It was hard. It was really difficult. That’s what made it sweeter and that much more rewarding. We earned it,” she said. 

Partners for the national virtual competition included Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), Crowdstrike, CyberUp, CompTIA and One in Tech.