A major cyberattack has occurred. How should your nation respond? That was the question addressed by students all over the world who participated in the Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge at American University in Washington D.C. this past March. Four Middlebury Institute students traveled to the nation’s capital—Michala Braun MANPTS ’18, Paula Granger MANPTS ’19, Jason Mak MANPTS ‘19 and Danielle Preskitt MANPTS ’17—along with faculty advisor Professor Philipp Bleek.
The challenge was designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the policy challenges associated with cyber crisis and conflict. It is part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise; it challenges teams to respond to a realistic, evolving cyberattack scenario and analyze the threat it poses to national, international and private sector interests. “It was a great experience,” shares Granger, “I learned so much and had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people.”
According to Granger, the Institute team worked really well together and their different strengths complemented one another. Student participation was funded by the Middlebury Institute’s Cyber Initiative with the help of Elaine Korzak and Professor Jeffrey Knopf, chair of the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies degree program.
Before coming to Monterey in January, Granger contacted Joe Shepard, fellow veteran and president of the Cyber Security Student Working Group. Shepard was very encouraging and recommended she participate in the competition as she was coming from a position at United States Cyber Command. “So you could say I jumped right in!”