U.S. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer met with two teams of high-performing College of Southern Maryland (CSM) robotics and cybersecurity students May 9 to congratulate them on recent collegiate achievements and to learn more about their academic programs.
“These impressive students, whose skills were recently recognized on the world stage, are excellent ambassadors for the College of Southern Maryland. I was very impressed by a demonstration of the outstanding work these young people are doing, and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the future,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer was introduced to the members of the Talons, the CSM competitive robotics team, which has just completed its best year ever. Team members include George Jenkins of La Plata, Edward Gesser III of Mechanicsville, Wen Xing Lin of St. Leonard and Dillon Mandley of Charlotte Hall.
The team qualified for the VEX-U World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, April 19 to 22, and made it to the semifinals, competing against other qualifying university teams from 40 countries. In addition to the team’s advanced finish, the Talons won the Innovate award at the international competition for their robot’s creative design.
Hoyer also congratulated the members of the Cyberhawks, CSM’s competitive cybersecurity team. Team members include Don Price of Charlotte Hall, Caleb Craft of Waldorf and Cody Hight of King George, Virginia.
The Cyberhawks won the April 7 Maryland Community College Cyber Competition at the Montgomery Community College Germantown Campus. The Cyberhawks were first in a competition against more than 20 teams from 10 Maryland community colleges in this inaugural event.
“What you are doing is critically important,” Hoyer said to the Cyberhawks.
In addition to meeting the students and faculty involved in CSM’s robotics and cybersecurity programs, Hoyer viewed a demonstration in CSM’s Robotics Lab by the Talons of their two robots used in the world championship. Hoyer was offered a chance to control a robot, attempting to toss large cubes and foam stars over a barrier fence, which is how points were scored in the world championship. “No guts, no glory,” Hoyer said as he attempted to move the robot in a way that caused the robot to fall over. Talons team captain George Jenkins stepped in to give Hoyer pointers and to right the robot.
Hoyer took those pointers and was able to direct the robot to toss objects over the fence, to the cheers of those watching the demonstration. “It’s the little things in life that give you so much pleasure,” Hoyer said, laughing.
At CSM’s Cybersecurity Lab, Cyberhawk Don Price of Charlotte Hall discussed with Hoyer some safety measures discussed in CSM courses on how people can avoid being victims of cyberattacks, warning against practices like using thumb drives from unknown sources and using public Wi-Fi.
Price pointed out a large screen in the lab that displayed a map of the world with numerous, colorful arrows shooting from one country to another. Each arrow represented a hacking attempt or what Assistant Professor James Graves described as “malicious traffic.” Hoyer noted that the United States seemed to be the target of the majority of the attempts.
“This is a critically important skill and research you’re doing,” Hoyer said to the students. “What you’re doing is important to America and to the world.”
For information on CSM’s cybersecurity program, visit http://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/cyber-center/. For information on the college’s robotics offerings and other STEM programs, visit http://stem.csmd.edu/.
To view a gallery of photos from the visit, see http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/hoyertalonscyberhawks.