Students Sharpen Cybersecurity Skills at Competition

Hackathon Team

Hackathon Advising Team: ACM Members: Raymond Ramdat, Mehmet Soydan, Jake M. Enea, Rafinal Haque, Nicholas Sakatis;
Faculty: Dr. Joan DeBello, Dr. Suzanna Schmeelk, Robert Barone, Denise Dragos;
Technology Coordinator: Karenarose Rizzo

Hack the Box "Capture the Flag" April 2023
May 8, 2023

The Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science in The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies partnered with Hack The Box to host a Capture the Flag competition for high school students on April 29.

“Cybersecurity is a field that is open to many opportunities,” said Linda S. Sanford ’74Ed, ’98HON, St. John’s Board of Trustees Emerita. “It is important ask questions, explore different paths, and learn how to deploy technology safely.” The Sanford family was one of the sponsors of the competition.

Hack The Box offers games that help students sharpen the skills needed to succeed in the cybersecurity field. The game format consists of Jeopardy-style challenges; live updates and a scoreboard are displayed to enable competitors to monitor their progress.

More than 60 students from local high schools, including Archbishop Molloy, Francis Lewis High School, John F. Kennedy, Sacred Heart Academy, The Wheatly High School, and William H. Maxwell, competed in 13 challenges across seven categories. “Participants worked collaboratively with students from their school or other schools,” explained Joan E. DeBello, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Chair, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science. “They learned new skills and had fun while competing for prizes and expanding their knowledge in the tech world.”

St. John’s faculty and administrators, as well as the Association for Computing Machinery student chapter, coached and mentored the high school students as they raced to complete the challenges. “It was fantastic to see students expanding their knowledge and enhancing their skills while working together on these challenges, which included questions on computer science, cybersecurity, and digital forensics,” said Dr. DeBello. “Having the St. John’s Association for Computing Machinery student members volunteering as mentors, and faculty from the division coaching the teams, added to the overall experience. The event was a success, and the division hopes to plan one annually.”