In a room buzzing with anticipation and the hum of computers, a team from University of Central Florida clinched the title at the 2023 CyberForce Competition® held November 4 at the Q Center in St. Charles, Illinois. Hosted by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER) and supported by DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and several other national laboratories, the event featured young talents tackling real-world cybersecurity challenges.
During the all-day event, college students from 95 teams from universities and colleges across the U.S. faced real-world cybersecurity issues surrounding distributed energy resources such as solar panels and wind turbines. With constraints like budget and ensuring uninterrupted power access, the University of Central Florida team demonstrated excellence in handling challenges to their mini electric grid such as cyber attacks and changing weather.
“The CyberForce Competition continues to highlight amazing talent from our nation’s colleges and universities in areas that may not be taught in classrooms.” — Amanda Theel, Argonne’s group leader of Cybersecurity Workforce Development
The ninth iteration of the competition emphasized not just technical knowledge but innovation, adaptability and effective communication. Participants had to maintain the system, create defenses on tight budgets and work with virtual users.
“I want to congratulate A Team with a Dream from University of Central Florida on their success in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2023 CyberForce Competition,” said Puesh M. Kumar, director of CESER. “The competition focused on ensuring the cybersecurity of clean energy systems and the students did an exceptional job in executing the challenge. It’s vitally important that we continue to promote cyber workforce development to help us defend the energy sector of today, and tomorrow.”
“The CyberForce Competition continues to highlight amazing talent from our nation’s colleges and universities in areas that may not be taught in classrooms,” said Amanda Theel, Argonne’s group leader of Cybersecurity Workforce Development. “The team from University of Central Florida exemplified that today.”
Through this competition, DOE sought to inspire and strengthen the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. Given the high demand for such experts, the CyberForce Competition plays an important role in preparing students for the field’s real-world demands.
For University of Central Florida students, this isn’t just a win; it’s a stepping stone toward a career in creating a more secure digital world.
Beyond the annual competition, DOE’s CyberForce® Program offers additional opportunities to help develop the energy cyber workforce and bolster the skills of collegiate students, including through the virtual “Conquer the Hill” competition series for individuals, career development opportunities at virtual career fairs and informational webinars. These initiatives highlight DOE’s commitment to fostering growth and knowledge in the cybersecurity domain.
To learn more about the CyberForce Program, which is sponsored by DOE CESER and led by Argonne, visit CyberForce Competition® – Department of Energy’s CyberForce® Program.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.