Category: Students of CS

RedTeam NCL CyberLeague Rankings in Top 2%

Outstanding RedTeam results in Fall 2020 NCL cyber competition.

Of the 27 Michigan Tech RedTeam students who successfully completed the individual games in National CyberLeague games this fall, seven students ranked in the top 100, out of 6,011 participants. And in team play, two teams ranked in the top 100, out of 957 teams.

RedTeam exists to promote a security-driven mindset among the student population, and to provide a community and resource for those wishing to learn more about information security.

Faculty coaches to the RedTeam student organization are Asst. Prof. Bo Chen, Computer Science, and Prof. Yu Cai, Applied Computing.

This is the highest achievement MTU students have achieved in NCL individual games since we began participating in fall 2017.

Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science

Individual Rankings (6,011 Competitors)

  • Jacson Ott: Ranked 52
  • Trevor Hornsby: 78
  • Shane Hoppe: 80
  • Dakoda Patterson: 90
  • Matthew Chau: 92
  • Ryan Klemm: 93
  • Stu Kernstock: 98

Team Rankings (957 Teams)

  • RedTeam@mtu, Team 1: Ranked 22
    Team members: Trevor Hornsby, Stu Kernstock, Jacson Ott, Shane Hoppe, Dakoda Patterson, Matthew Chau, Ryan Klemm
  • MTU Alumni Team, Team 2: Ranked 67
    Team members: Jack Bergman, Jon Preuth, Trevor Taubitz


The National Cyber League (NCL) is a biannual cybersecurity competition. Open to U.S. high school and college students, the competition consists of a series of challenges that allow students to demonstrate their ability to identify hackers from forensic data, pentest and audit vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more.

Every year, over 10,000 students from more than 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. participate in the NCL competitions. Student players compete in the NCL to build their skills, leverage the NCL Scouting Reports for career and professional development, and to represent their school in the national Cyber Power Rankings.

Powered by Cyber Skyline, NCL provides a platform on which students can prepare and test themselves against practical cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce, such as identifying hackers from forensic data, pentesting and audit vulnerable websites, recovering from ransomware attacks, and more.

The Cyber Power Rankings were created by Cyber Skyline in partnership with the National Cyber League (NCL). The rankings represent the ability of student competitors to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform.


You’ve got #tenacity. Tell us about it.

It has definitely been a memorable semester! You’re on the home stretch now and you will get it done. After all, you’re a Husky … and you’ve got #tenacity. Tell us about it.

Share by email.

  1. Email computing@mtu.edu
  2. Share a few words about your Fall 2020 Husky #tenacity
  3. Send us a photograph (or two)
  4. We’ll publish your #tenacity on our website and social media channels

Fill out a Goole form.

https://forms.gle/GLgUQHtCP69HkLfm8


HCC Research Expo 2020

An Immersive Exploration of Research Across Campus

The ICC’s Human-Centered Computing group (HCC) will host its 3rd annual HCC Research Expo, November 12-13, 2020, in conjunction with World Usability Day 2020.

VR-Huskies, an exciting virtual social platform that leverages 360-degree panorama technology, is the venue for the 48-hour event. Projects, brief research talks, and lab tours will be available on demand for attendees to browse at leisure. The immersive experience will be available from Thurs., Nov. 12, at 9:00 a.m. too Fri., Nov. 13, at midnight.


The HCC Expo concludes with a keynote lecture from leading accessible computing and design researcher Dr. Richard E. Ladner on Friday, November 13, at 1:00 p.m., via online meeting. Read more about Dr. Ladner here.

The aim of the annual HCC Expo is to showcase the interdisciplinary HCC research happening across campus, and to provide a a forum for Michigan Tech students to explore HCC research opportunities, tour labs, and engage in virtual discussions.

The Human-Centered Computing research group investigates a wide range of 21st century human-centered computing challenges, engaging faculty from computer science, psychology, engineering, and other Michigan Tech departments.


About VR-Huskies

VR-Huskies Virtual Social Space

VR-Huskies is an active research project led by new faculty member, Assistant Professor Ricardo Eiris, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and sponsored by the College of Engineering. It is a custom implementation of Mozilla Hubs®, an open-source platform which creates custom dynamic representations of information.

Participants can enter the VR-Huskies site with minimal effort, interacting with up to 25 others as they explore the latest research developments in human centered computing at Michigan Tech. Registration is not required. VR Huskies is accessible on any device, including head-mounted displays, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

Eiris says that the goal of VR-Huskies is to deliver in-depth learning in a multitude of contexts, such as field trips, outreach events, and entrepreneurial activities, while engaging students in opportunities to apply critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

Expected outcomes of the project include the implementation of a virtual learning environment in which Michigan Tech students can socially interact with STEM experiences and visit remote locations that are typically impossible to reach.

Ricardo Eiris received his Ph.D. in Design, Construction, and Planning from the University of Florida in August 2020. He is an educator and a researcher exploring the dynamics and implications of human-technology interactions within construction and engineering.


Founded in 2015, the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems.

The Center for Human-Centered Computing (HCC) focuses on the research and development of novel interfaces for human-agent interaction, assistive technologies, intelligent health, computational modeling, and examining trust and decision making in distributed systems.

The Center is directed by Associate Professor Elizabeth Veinott, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, a cognitive psychologist who focuses on research in decision making and learning using serious video games.


Briana Bettin, Part II: Research, Mentors, and Creative Energy

Briana Bettin, front, far right, with fall 2019 Computer Science dept. teaching assistants

Michigan Tech 2020 Ph.D. graduate Briana Bettin, Computer Science, is among six new faculty members the College of Computing welcomed this fall. Bettin is an assistant professor for the Department of Computer Science and the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department.

This semester, she is teaching courses including CS1121 Introduction to Programming in C/C++, and pursuing research and other projects with faculty and students.

In this, Part II of this profile of Briana Bettin, Bettin and her faculty mentors talk research, education, and novel ideas.

Read the first installment of this article, ‘Briana Bettin, Asst. Prof., Part I: Neopets, HTML, Early Success Part I”, published Oct. 28, 2020, here.

Mental models, constructing knowledge, programming analogies.

Briana Bettin’s research interests are many. They include user experience, human factors, human-computer interactions, mental models, information representation, rural digital literacy, education, engagement, retention, and digital anthropology. Her Ph.D. dissertation aims to better understand how novice programmers approach learning programming, and how their construction of programming ideas might be better facilitated.

“I delve into mental models research and explore theories for how students might construct knowledge,” she explains. “Specifically, the major studies in my dissertation explore how prior applicable knowledge might allow for transfer to programming concepts, which can feel very novel to students who have never programmed before.”

Bettin is also exploring methods for designing programming analogies, testing their application in the classroom, and observing how their use may impact student understanding of specific topics. “I take a very user experience-oriented approach, and work to apply methods and ideas from user-experience research in the CS classroom space,” she says.

Creative energy, insight, and humanity.

With Computer Science department faculty members Associate Professor Charles Wallace and Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Bettin has worked on projects studying how novice programmers communicate. She and Ureel also worked on several ideas in the introductory CS classrooms, including exploring pair programming obstacles in the classroom and in research.

“I got to know Dr. Wallace during my Ph.D., and I love getting his perspective on research ideas,” Bettin says. “He has so many interesting ideas, and he’s so fun to talk to!”

“Briana brings loads of creative energy, insight, and humanity to everything she does,” says Wallace. “We are very fortunate to have her with us.”

Passionate about Computing Education.

Other research collaborators include Lecturer Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and Senior Lecturer Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Engineering Fundamentals, College of Engineering, with whom Bettin has explored topics in technology acceptance across engineering and computer science.

“Briana has been an enthusiastic addition to our research group,” Jarvie-Eggart says, who is working with Steelman and Wallace on improving engineering students’ acceptance of programming. “She really is amazing!”

Jarvie-Eggart sat in on Bettin’s Intro to Programming class in fall 2019, and noted that Bettin’s. approach of teaching algorithmic thinking and logic—before students begin programming—helps make programming more accessible to all.

“It builds foundational knowledge from the ground up,” she says. “Our research team is very excited about using her progressive CS education approaches to teach engineers programming.”

Stefka Hristova, in Michigan Tech Humanities, has always been supportive, helping me cultivate an interdisciplinary research vision and voice,” Bettin says. “Dr. Robert Pastel has also been so valuable in helping me approach my research with strong design. He has given me a lot of insight and I am so appreciative!”

“Briana is passionate about Computing Education, and she is invested in infusing equity and diversity into the STEM field,” Hristova says.


In Part III of this article, to be published soon, Briana Bettin talks about peer mentors and friends … and they say a few words, too.


Read the first installment of this article, ‘Briana Bettin, Asst. Prof., Part I: Neopets, HTML, Early Success Part I”, here.


GSG to Host Grant Writing Webinar Nov. 12

As a student or a researcher, a necessary component of your work is applying for a multitude of grants to obtain funding for future projects. Peter Larson, director of research development at Michigan Tech, will conduct a seminar on Grant Writing from 4 to 5  p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 via Zoom.

Larson specializes in creating effective grant and research proposals, particularly in the non-technical proposal sections that researchers often struggle with. Please send any topics or questions you wish to see discussed to gsg-prodev@mtu.edu so we can structure the seminar to better suit your needs.

Those who participate in the seminar will get a chance to enter a raffle draw. Space is not really limited but just so we know how many students to expect, be sure to register.


GSG to Host 3MT Competition Nov. 5

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, hosted by the Graduate Student Government, will take place virtually tomorrow (Nov. 5). Come join us on an eventful day where research meets fun.

Participants are judged on their communication and presentation skills, while delivering content in just three minutes with one static PowerPoint slide.

You can watch the participants’ videos online on GSG’s 3MT website starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, hosted by the Graduate Student Government, will take place virtually tomorrow (Nov. 5). Come join us on an eventful day where research meets fun.

Participants are judged on their communication and presentation skills, while delivering content in just three minutes with one static PowerPoint slide.

You can watch the participants’ videos online on GSG’s 3MT website starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

With 28 participants and 4 different heats, 8 finalists will be chosen for the final rounds. The judging panel consists of 3 different faculty/staff from different majors. The names of the finalists will be declared by Noon.

The contestants qualifying for the next round will compete against each other from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday (Nov. 6) in the Rozsa Center for Performing Arts.

There will be a limit of 200 patrons who can be seated in the Rozsa center to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis. The event will also be streamed live on GSG’s Facebook page.

Join us in-person or virtually to enjoy the event and choose a ‘People’s Choice’ award winner. The first and second place winners will receive cash prizes of $300 and $150 respectively. Additionally, a People’s Choice (PC) award will be given to a speaker selected by the event’s audience, with a cash prize of $100. A Facebook poll and in-person voting will happen to choose this speaker.