Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Sophomore Named National Finalist in Cyber Security Competition

IMSA sophomore Ethan Bian of Bloomington was named one of only 13 finalists from more than 150 high school teams nationwide in the Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) High School Cyber Forensics Challenge at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly).

Of the 13 finalist teams named, only two (including IMSA) were comprised of a single student each.  This is the second consecutive year IMSA’s team was named a finalist in the competition.  Bian’s mentor, Computer Science  Faculty Member Namrata Pandya, said she is very proud of Bian’s performance at such a young age.

“He did very well--especially considering he is only a sophomore and yet still competed with college students from M.I.T, Yale, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and others,” Pandya said. 

The NYU-Poly CSAW challenges are among the oldest and broadest student-led competitions, and encourage awareness of the increasing threats to privacy and security issues for individuals, governments, business and smart infrastructure.  The difficult challenges and the final round of competitions encourage students to build networks with others in the field to help keep abreast of the fast-changing knowledge base.

‘Educators have long recognized that the shortage of engineers, scientists and mathematicians does not start in the hallways of universities—young people need to learn about the excitement and opportunities of these subjects in primary and secondary schools,” said Nasir Memon, head of NYU-Poly’s cyber security program. 

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (

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