Alex Labontu receiving a $1000 check at the U.S. Cyber Challenge
(Photo Credit: Rami Salahieh) From left to right: Glenn Hernandez, U.S. Cyber Challenge national director; Dr. Sylvia M. Jenkins, president of Moraine Valley Community College; Roosevelt student Alex Labontu; and Dr. John Sand, MVCC cyber security program director.
“The semesters of preparation with our excellent teachers, researchers and security practitioners are all brought to bear by our students when they compete.” Eric Berkowitz Director of Roosevelt's Cyber Security Program

Alex Labontu (BS Cyber and Information Security, ’20) took first place at the western regional U.S. Cyber Challenge this summer. Roosevelt University students have won the competition in back-to-back years since launching the cyber security program in 2018.

“Alex’s accomplishment is not only a major personal success for which I congratulate him, but also one for the Roosevelt cyber program,” said program director Eric Berkowitz. “This total experience is how we at Roosevelt create graduates prepared to enter the workforce and face today’s cyber challenges.”

The weeklong boot camp featured specialized workshops, a job fair and networking opportunities with top industry experts. The event culminated in a “capture-the-flag” competition that challenged students to hack into and protect information systems in real time.

“The semesters of preparation with our excellent teachers, researchers and security practitioners are all brought to bear by our students when they compete,” said Berkowitz. “Competition allows them to hone and refine their learning in ways that extend the traditional classroom experience.”

Labontu currently serves as the captain of the RU Cyberz cyber security club. For his first-place finish, he received a $1,000 scholarship as well as a voucher for (ISC)2 executive certification training. Glenn Hernandez, the former chief information security officer for the U.S. Coast Guard, presented the check at the awards ceremony.

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