UCCS takes first place in cyber outreach competition

L-R: Xiuwen Liu, Florida State University, Award Committee Co-chair; Yair Levy, Nova Southeastern University, Chair, Cybersecurity Curriculum Committee; Gretchen Bliss, Director, Cybersecurity Programs Office at UCCS; Tony Coulson, CSU San Bernadino, CAE Community in Cyber Education Lead; Anne Kohnke, University of Detroit Mercy, Principal Investigator, CAE-CD Program; Wei Li, Nova Southeastern University, Award Committee Co-chair

UCCS scored first place in the 2023 Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) Outreach Competition, while Gretchen Bliss, Director, Cybersecurity Programs Office at UCCS, and Terri Johnson Akse, UCCS Assistant Teaching Professor of Cybersecurity Management, each earned an individual award for Outstanding Contribution to the CAE-CD Community.

The competition is an annual event that highlights outreach efforts promoting cybersecurity awareness and online safety made by over 450 participating U.S. institutions throughout the calendar year, but especially during Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.

“Part of building an effective and thriving cybersecurity community is building an ecosystem and getting the word out,” said Bliss. “The CAE-CD Community Outreach Competition is all about this and the interconnectivity of the CAE Community both statewide and nationally. Being designated by the NSA as a CAE-CD means that UCCS is compelled to spread the word on the need for skilled cybersecurity resources, not just across UCCS, but in our community, in K-12 and across Colorado.”

By hosting around 100 cyber events total for the 2023 year, UCCS impacted more than 10,000 members of the campus and Colorado Springs communities to earn first place. This is the third year in a row UCCS has landed a top five spot, after coming in fifth place in 2021 and third in 2022.

“This includes hosting and driving a wide variety of outreach, partnerships, community programs, workforce development events, educational opportunities and research,” Bliss added. “Examples include everything from being an active sponsor of Women in Cybersecurity events that drive hands-on, real-world cyber experience and workforce opportunities to hosting GenCyber summer camps for K-12 students for the last four years. UCCS is honored to be recognized, and we hope that this recognition helps spread the word regarding the criticality of a healthy cybersecurity educational ecosystem in the U.S.”