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Elliott wins spring Cyber FastTrack event

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Jacob Elliott, a UNG alumnus who is also a software developer and adjunct instructor of computer science at UNG, recently won the Cyber FastTrack competition.

Jacob Elliott, an Information Technology Services software developer and adjunct instructor of computer science at the University of North Georgia (UNG), won the SANS Institute Cyber FastTrack capture-the-flag cybersecurity spring 2020 competition.

A UNG alumnus, Elliott earned 13,650 points to take top honors in late March among nearly 3,500 students, faculty, staff and recent alumni from schools across the country. The event allows competitors to distinguish themselves in pursuit of scholarships to the SANS Institute totaling $22,000, including three industry-recognized cybersecurity certifications.

Houstoun Hall, a UNG sophomore, finished 10th. UNG students Nathaniel Alden, Daniel Haugen, Desmond Henderson, and Michael Park finished in the top 100.

Elliott coaches the cyber team for UNG's CyberHawks student club, which helped UNG win the NSA Codebreaker Challenge in January.

"Jacob's win is one more example of the quality of our cybersecurity program at UNG," said Dr. Mary Gowan, dean of UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business. "We are so proud to have Jacob as one of our alumni and instructors and know he has a very bright future."

Elliott said his cyber mentor role at UNG aided him.

"I have learned a great deal in the past year that I was able to apply to this competition," Elliott said.

Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science and director of UNG's Center for Cyber Operations Education, taught Elliott when he was a student.

"I remember how bright and talented Jacob was as an undergraduate in my web programming course in the early 2000s, and how much he loved solving problems on the programming competition team," Payne said. "To be able to coach the cyber teams alongside him now, and to have him as a colleague teaching computer science and cybersecurity courses, is a great honor."

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