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Vaughan on UNG team that takes third at National Cyber Exercise

University of North Georgia (UNG) students took third place overall at the National Cyber Exercise (NCX) hosted by the National Security Agency (NSA) at the Maritime Conference Center near Baltimore, Maryland. UNG was the top in-person team at the event with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy, the highest finishers, participating remotely.

Team members for UNG included Tyler Vaughan from Covington, GA.

UNG beat out the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the senior military colleges, including Norwich University, Texas A&M University, The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech.

UNG's Elite Team placed second overall in the final Cyber Combat Exercise.

Cadet Matthew Perrino, a senior from Woodstock, Georgia, pursuing a degree in cybersecurity, was grateful to see the hard work of his group pay off at NCX. It reinforced the need for teamwork in the profession.

"Leading side by side is the best way to lead in cyber. You can't just tell people what to do," Perrino said. "You have to go in there and help them and work on projects together."

Paul Kim, a senior from Suwanee, Georgia, pursuing a degree in cybersecurity, also enjoyed the communal aspect of the competition and the way it pushed him out of his comfort zone.

"Don't prevent yourself from becoming better. People are too scared to fail or break boundaries that they feel confined to," Kim said. "I have realized I could reach out to the Institute for Cyber Operations and others."

UNG's 21-student roster rotated in and out across three teams in four half-day exercises, capped off by UNG's NCX Elite Team that finished second in the Cyber Combat Exercise. That Elite Team included Kim, Sawyer Shepherd, Tyler Vaughan, Wolf Helm, and James Booker.

Positioned in the fastest-growing region of the state, the University of North Georgia comprises five campuses united by a single mission focused on academic excellence and academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia. With more than 18,000 students, the University of North Georgia is one of the state's largest public universities. The university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to doctoral programs.