Cyber Threat Defender (CTD) was developed by the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). Through sponsorships from organizations such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics or National Science Foundation, the CIAS provides schools the deck of cards at no cost to the student, teacher, school or school district.
As a result, schools can teach cybersecurity without expensive technology and spark student interest in this vital STEM area. CTD teaches students digital concepts using a collectible card game. It provides a turnkey solution for teachers introducing cybersecurity concepts to students. The outcome is student awareness of basic cybersecurity knowledge necessary for all citizens, while having fun and sparking interest in cybersecurity for further student exploration. The game also adds a unique feature of social interaction between students that might not otherwise be gained from other technology.
CTD is already being used in college, high-school and middle-school classrooms across the nation as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom. It is our hope that CTD will be used in every STEM program Nationwide! During the presentation, we will provide practical tips for educators, share schools’ experiences and take participants through the game. We will also introduce to other projects in educational game development that the CIAS is currently work on and the CIAS' efforts to build a Culture of Cybersecurity across the Nation.
Larry Sjelin serves as the Chief-of-Staff and Director of Game Development for the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has an instrumental role in the Information Sharing and Analysis Organization - Standards Organization (ISAO-SO) to improve the nation's cybersecurity posture by identifying standards and guidelines for robust and effective information sharing to cybersecurity risks, incidents, and best practices. His work with the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) provides DHS / FEMA cybersecurity online and face-to-face courses for states, counties, local jurisdictions and critical infrastructure components nationwide. In addition, Mr. Sjelin is leading the effort to increase cyber awareness and honing cybersecurity skills by creating cybersecurity games and training for middle school and high school students.
- Completed 21 years with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). While at TxDOT, he held the position of District Maintenance Administrator for the San Antonio District.
- Served with the Public Works Department of the City of Los Angeles, during which he was member of the Contract Administration team.
- Served 10 years in the United States Marine Corps on active and reserve duty in a variety of assignments as a Combat Engineering Officer, Operations Officer and Logistics Officer. Sjelin served in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm.
- Holds a Master's degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio in U.S. History.