Cyber Panthers are highest ranked Oregon school in national cybersecurity competition
Photos and Story by Misty Bouse
A group of Computer Information Systems students at Portland Community College ranked 23rd in a national cybersecurity spring competition. Out of 451 colleges and universities, only two community colleges ranked higher in the 2023 spring season of the National Cyber League (NCL).
The NCL is also one of the National Centers of Academic Excellence (NCAE) in Cybersecurity-associated collegiate cybersecurity competition leagues. The Cyber Panthers earned an overall rank of 23rd in the nation, seventh in the West Division, and 16th among all NCAE institutions.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to watch the team grow and develop over the past term,” said Hazel Yamada, the coach of the Cyber Panthers and a cybersecurity instructor for the PCC Computer Information Systems Program. “The dedication demonstrated by the Cyber Panthers is continuously inspiring. This ranking is truly a testament to the quality of our cybersecurity education programs here at PCC.”
The Cyber Panther’s spring season began back in January. Between the end of the season and the first round of ranked competition, the Cyber Panthers tested their skills against other college students in nine different categories, including applied cryptography, digital forensic analysis, password cracking, web application exploitation, and network traffic analysis. They competed in a series of individual and team challenges during competition weekends. In total, eight Cyber Panthers represented PCC, earning the team their rank among 3,296 students competing between 451 universities and colleges.
Schools that were able to outrank the Cyber Panthers included the likes of Texas A&M, Florida Institute of Technology, and the United States Military Academy. The rankings earned in the National Cyber League represent the ability of students from competing schools to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks within the competition platform. Students identify hackers from forensic data, test and audit vulnerable websites, plan to recover from attacks, and more.