Students take home top prizes at collegiate competitions

Elizabeth Lamark

RIT’s cybersecurity team beat Stanford University—and dozens of other top student teams— to win the 2021 Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition. Students hone their skills and prepare for different cybersecurity competitions in new labs at RIT’s Global Cybersecurity Institute.

For RIT students, the learning doesn’t stop when classes end.

In 2021, three student teams took what they’re learning and used it to win national and international competitions.

The Tigers faced off against some of the best universities in the world and brought home top trophies in cybersecurity, racing, and design competitions. The events challenge students to think outside the box and even serve as a proving ground for employers hoping to scoop up the best students.

To start out 2021, RIT topped the best cybersecurity schools and won the Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC) international finals. This was RIT’s first time winning CPTC, and the students had to beat three-time defending champions Stanford University to do it.

At the event, students put their hacking skills to the test—seeing who was best at breaking into fabricated computer networks, evaluating their weak points, and presenting plans to better secure them. The CPTC has become the premier offense-based collegiate computing security event, after starting at RIT seven years ago.

“The competition reinforced everything that I was learning on co-op and in the classroom— it’s so beneficial no matter what area of security I choose to go into,” said Spencer Roth, a fourth-year computing security BS/MS student. “There’s not a better practice and launching pad for your career goals.”

As the weather turned warm and the mud got deeper, RIT Racing won first place overall at Baja SAE racing in Tucson, Ariz. For the competition, students had to design, build, and race off-road vehicles that can withstand the harshest elements of rough terrain.

In the win, RIT took top five placements in the endurance race, design portion, sled pull, suspension, and maneuverability, and a top 20 placement in acceleration. The Baja event included virtual events and onsite races with 30 of the best teams.

Back on campus, students in a typography and page design course entered and won the first ever Canon Solutions America—University Program Magalog Challenge.

The students were tasked with creating a 24-page promotional “magalog” booklet—a high-end magazine filled with products and augmented reality elements to move potential customers to an online storefront. The winning RIT design was printed on one of Canon’s inkjet presses and is being considered as a print sample for Canon America’s Customer Innovation Center.

Irma Abu-Jumah, a lecturer in the Department of Graphic Media Science and Technology, saw the competition as a way for her students to test their skills and integrate industry best practices. Students could also see how their work fits into the broad scope of print production requirements and processes.

“A lot of projects that we were doing were tech-based, smaller projects, and then this was thrown at us and it was 24 pages,” said Christian Reilly, a first-year media arts and technology student. “I feel that it is a very realistic work experience with deadlines, and we needed to incorporate certain things, and of course, the exposure is phenomenal.”

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