Sarah Cunha and Laura Wilkinson, two seniors at Brigham Young University, didn’t make it to graduation this year.
Instead, the two women spent their grad weekend, April 22-24, fighting hackers and defending a network from malware attacks at the 2016 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Championship (NCCDC).
The NCCDC, already in its 11th year, is the Olympics of college-level cyber defense. To qualify for one of the ten slots in the national competition, a school must first beat out all the local competition in a regional showdown.
Just seven women participated in the NCCDC—which hosts 10 eight-person teams—this year. BYU’s team accounted for four of those seven: Cunha and Wilkinson are joined by junior Cara Cornel and senior Whitney Winder.