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SAU ranked first in state, second in the nation in Cyber FastTrack program

by Staff Report | June 3, 2019 at 6:00 a.m.
SAU students recently demonstrated their skills in cybersecurity and computer science in the Cyber FastTrack competition in April.

SAU is currently ranked No. 1 in Arkansas and No. 2 in the nation in the national Cyber FastTrack competition. The SANS Institute, in collaboration with 25 state governors, launched Cyber FastTrack in April to help identify cyber security talent in the U.S. and enable college students to discover their aptitude for the field. More than 13,000 students began the competition, and when level 1 closed May 20th, 2,400 students had displayed the skills required to compete in the quarterfinal round. Of those qualifying students, 67 are from Southern Arkansas University.

SAU students have demonstrated extraordinary aptitude for success in a cybersecurity career, said Alan Paller, research director of the SANS Institute.

“They will be able to make a difference in cybersecurity,” Paller said. “Congratulations to SAU’s faculty and leadership in preparing students for these careers.”

Dr. Abdel Bachri, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at SAU, congratulated participating students. “This is an incredible result. Because of your ‘natural aptitude,’ we can all hold our heads very high,” he said.

Students enrolled in Southern Arkansas University’s computer science degree programs are showing off their talents through national and state competitions. Recent student success is reaffirming the quality of the program at SAU, which offers students affordable degrees in fields with near infinite opportunities.

SAU students have also been representing the computer science program at regional competitions held in the state. Team members Austin Simms, Aziztitu Murugan, and Kristopher Johnson traveled to Little Rock in April to compete in the Consortium for Computer Science in Colleges (CCSC) programming contest. The team placed fourth in the competition against top colleges and universities from Arkansas and Tennessee.

Also in March, Brett Baker who presented on “Employing ensemble learning for the categorization for Android Malware types” won first place in the Undergraduate Oral Presentation Awards: Computer Science category at the Arkansas Academy of Science Conference at Hendrix College in March 2019.

The value of SAU’s graduate program in computer science fields continues to attract national attention. The Master of Science in Computer and Information Science – Cyber Security and Privacy Option degree program was recently named the No. 1 most affordable cyber security graduate program in the United States by on their “25 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Cyber Security 2019” list.


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