MAY 2017

Gray Hats Competed in Cyber Security Defense Competition

University of Washington Bothell’s cyber security club, Gray Hats, competed in the Pacific Rim Collegiate Cyber Defense Conference (PRCCDC) March 24-26 at Highline Community College. Fourteen schools ranging from Western Washington University, Central Washington University, University of Idaho, and the UW tri-campuses fought to keep their servers up and running while under attack in a battle with hackers. “The point of the competition is to put teams under extreme pressure and see how they perform while giving them real world experience, without the consequences of a real company being hacked,” says Zach Ruble, President of Gray Hats and CSS pre-major student. 

In the competition scenario, the entire IT staff was fired and each team was charged defending a fully-fledged corporate network against persistent cyber-attacks. Teams needed to maintain services such as web, e-mail, and file share, all while updating the web, adding new user accounts, and performing other business activities like answering irate customer phone calls. Requests from management were time-consuming, at times forcing part of the team to switch priorities from protecting servers to writing clear detailed reports, memos, and documentation.

Looking back at the competition, Zach notes how “it is incredibly valuable to be put in these high stress scenarios, so when you find yourself in a similar situation in the real world, it won't be your first time experiencing it.”

As the only graduate student on the team, Steven Morgan, Candidate for the Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering, felt very prepared for the competition, but now knows the importance of broadening their competition preparation to include all aspects of a business. He says, “The best thing I got from this competition was being able to look at the situation and pull on what I learned from my classes, this in turn created a deeper understanding that reinforced what I learned.”

Students do not have to be computer science majors to join Gray Hats because not every role is technical; all that is required is a desire to learn about cybersecurity. Students’ interested in joining the ranks of the Gray Hats or who are simply are curious should contact Brent Lagesse at lagesse@uw.edu.

APRIL 2017

International Student Journey Through the Master's Program

MEET AYTUL ARISOY, a graduate from the Master of Science in Computer Science & Software Engineering--Class of 2016. We had the opportunity to ask Aytul why she chose the MS in CSSE and what she thought about her experiences as an international student from Turkey. Aytul completed the degree full-time while interning at Amazon Web Services. Upon graduating, she accepted a position as a Senior Manager at Amazon Web Services. We invite you to read about the highlights of her experience, the challenges she faced, why she chose UW Bothell, and the advice she has for future students--especially those who may be international.

Read the Q&A about her Journey.


CSS 205: Women in STEM Seminar: College Life

Many women feel outside of “science and engineering” and continue to be underrepresented in these fields. CSS 205: Women in STEM Seminar: College Life address issues that affect attitudes that can limit the role of women in STEM. The main goal of this course is to provide an open forum for students to interact and discuss gender/career issues and to help give students the tools to sustain their college and professional life in STEM.

In this seminar, examine the history of women in science and address the status of women in various STEM disciplines. This is accomplished through examining the representation of women in STEM through STEM women faculty, invited speakers, co-facilitated presentations by CSS 405 (Women in STEM Seminar: Career/Professional life) students, and class discussion. CSS 205 will be offered again in Spring 2017.

Visit CSS 205 in the Spring 2017 Time Schedule.


CSS 599: Faculty Research Seminar

In Autumn 2016, the CSS Graduate Programs added a 1 credit seminar titled: CSS 599 Faculty Research Seminar to its degree requirements.  This one-credit course is designed to support students by encouraging their interests and passions through research.  Each week a different CSS faculty member presents for one hour, sharing presentations of their research projects and results, as well as opportunities for students to become involved via their capstone research or independent study.

This quarters students have listened to a variety of project options: reconstructing 3D protein structures based on Cryo-electron microscopy imaging for finding cures to virus-borne diseases; designing systematic frameworks to support and manage continual growth of Internet of Things; studying human factors in cyber security in order to understand and prevent malicious insider behaviors.  CSS 599 will be offered again in Winter 2017.

Visit CSS 599 in the Winter 2017 Time Schedule.