March 1, 2017

CARTERVILLE — It’s a developing storyline that movies are made from: (tiny) John A. Logan College has been invited to take part in one of the most impressive cybersecurity competitions in the nation.

JALC is clearly considered the underdog as its team — the only community college team to be invited — goes up against teams from the University of Illinois, Indiana University, Kansas State University, St. John’s University, and others.

“The fact that the College’s cybersecurity program has garnered such national attention so that our team was even invited to this competition is an incredible accomplishment in itself,” said Dr. Ron House, president of John A. Logan College. “It could certainly be considered a true David verses Goliath story.”

Lora Hines, chair of business, computer science, and mathematics at John A. Logan College, put it this way, “Wow.

“This speaks volumes for our program here at John A. Logan College,” Hines said. “Our success is proving that we are considered one of the best in the nation on any level.”

Mark Rogers, assistant professor of business at John A. Logan College, made the announcement last week that the College’s cybersecurity team had been invited to the competition, the Argonne National Laboratory Second Annual Cyber Defense Competition set in April.

“I should note that there were only 15 teams in the nation that were invited to compete, and of those 15, we are the only community college,” Rogers said in his announcement.

Those competing include: University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, St. John’s University, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, Kansas State University, Dakota State University, Governors State University, the University of Central Florida, Southern Methodist University, Lewis University, Wright State University, and Indiana Tech.

“In comparison to John A. Logan College, these are some very big schools with some very big reputations both in academics and athletics,” Hines explained. “We can be proud that we were even invited, but I know, too, we are going to compete. Don’t count us out of the competition just because we are the smallest school there,” she smiled.

John A. Logan College was invited after winning the Midwest Regional Cyber Defense Competition last November. “After winning that competition, John A. Logan College started being talked about on a national level,” Rogers said.

The competition takes place at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, located near Chicago. According to Rogers, the competition will focus on defending both the energy and water sectors from cyber attacks.

“To put it bluntly, the students competing in this competition are likely the people who will someday provide the cyber defense to keep major companies operating or even keep a major catastrophe from taking place within our nation,” Rogers explained. “That’s just how important what they are learning to do is to our nation and our world.”