Our Student Challenge Captains

The CSAW cybersecurity competition is driven by the students at the School of Engineering who focus on security: the ones that hang around the ISIS lab day and night, attend the weekly “Hack Nights” where they teach each other the latest in vulnerabilities and exploits, and are members of the Cyber Security Club. Under the guidance of NYU-faculty, these students create the challenges, manage their operation from inception to completion, find student entrants from around the world, and just do a great job to make CSAW a success. Each challenge has a captain (or co-captain), but they all get the support of many other the School of Engineering students.

Here are this year's captains:

Sean Brooks (DHS Security Quiz)

Sean Brooks is a second-year MPA candidate and a Federal Scholarship for Service at the NYU Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy. He attends NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he is the Web Operations Editor for the school's academic journal, The Wagner Review. He is a graduate research fellow supporting a MacArthur Foundation-funded multidisciplinary group exploring the possibility of creating a Research Network on “Opening Government.”

Previously, he spent two years serving as a program associate in the San Francisco office of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a non-profit public interest organization focused on civil liberties and human rights issues online. Sean's research at CDT was cited in major media outlets including the BBC, The Washington Post, Reuters, and Ars Technica. Previously, Sean worked for the London-based public relations agency The Red Consultancy, serving clients in the Silicon Valley ranging from multinational information security and business intelligence companies to consumer technology start-ups. Sean received his undergraduate degree in politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Marc Budofsky (High School Forensics Co-Captain)

Marc Budofsky is a native of Nanuet, NY, in Rockland County, and an master’s of science student at the School of Engineering as an ASPIRE Scholar studying computer science with a focus in cybersecurity. His primary interest within cybersecurity, is in computer forensics, and he hopes to work for the government in a forensics capacity. Previous classes in cryptography, security engineering and IT security & forensics sparked his interest in the profession, leading him to his initial degrees in computer engineering, as well as an MBA with a concentration in management of information systems, both from Binghamton University, where he served as both a graduate assistant and a programming intern.

He is interested in acting as high school forensics captain at CSAW because he wanted to help further the digital forensics knowledge among High School students across the United States. Marc also runs his own blog at http://blog.mediabymrb.com.

Kevin Chung (Capture the Flag Co-Captain)

Kevin Chung is a New York native, having grown up in both Brooklyn and Staten Island, where he attended Staten Island Technical High School. He is currently an undergraduate computer science major at the School of Engineering, focusing on CyberSecurity, Web Systems and Applications, as well as Digital Media. Kevin came to the field through an impulse of curiosity to see if he could break into a system and take advantage of its contents. This led him to network security and system administration as a springboard to other areas of security.

Recently, his projects involved working at Gotham Digital Science, a security services company, building an x86 disassembler, as well as running the School of Engineering's Cyber Security Club alongside Evan Jensen, being a Teacher's Assistant for the Institute’s network security class, and helping out in ISIS.

Kevin previously competed in and took first place in the CSAW High School Forensics Challenge alongside classmates from his high school. Currently, he is running the Capture the Flag challenge with Julian Cohen.

Julian Cohen (Capture the Flag Co-Captain)


Julian Cohen is a security researcher from New York City. Julian attends NYU Poly, where he runs the CSAW CTF competition and the ISIS Laboratory. In his downtime, Julian writes technical articles for a number of security blogs, speaks at various security conferences, and participates in CTF competitions around the world. Occasionally, Julian is known to use a computer.

Joel Fernandez (High School Forensics Co-Captain)

A proud native of Brooklyn, New York, Joel Fernandez will be the Challenge Co-Captain of this year's High School Forensics contest. Joel graduated with the MS in Cyber Security from the School of Engineering in 2011. The majority of his career has been spent as a civil servant for New York City, leading IT Projects for the Human Resources Administration. In 2011, he was selected as one of four graduate students in the United States to participate in the Emerging Leaders in Cyber Security Fellowship at the Department of Homeland Security, with a focus on Digital Forensics and Malware Analysis.

Joel is now an adjunct professor at the School of Engineering, teaching Digital Forensics. In addition, he created and manages the CyFor project: a free online forensic educational portal geared toward high school students. He has lead the CSAW high school forensics competition for two years and enjoys creating the challenges and working with students.

Cody Fulcher (Adobe Security Awareness Video)


Florida native Cody Fulcher is a Junior in the Integrated Digital Media program with a special interest in data visualization and interaction/user experience/graphic design.

In general Cody's interest lies in the intersections of humanity and computers, how they interact and how they affect the development of each other. Specifically how computers and technology advancements create new interaction paradigms.

Evan Jensen (Mobile Security Conference)

Evan Jensen, the co-leader of the School of Engineering's Capture the Flag team, Brooklyn Overflow, is a New York City native, and a Computer Science undergrad at the School of Engineering, as well as a graduate level teaching assistant. His primary focus is on cybersecurity, studying methods of cyber attacks and defending against them. Evan entered the field because computer security is “synonymous with computer mastery, if you do not understand a computer from the transistor up, you have no hope of out-thinking your adversary.”

Upon graduation, he expects to work for a branch of the federal government, like the Department of Defense, as he is going to the School of Engineering on a Scholarship for Service that requires him to work in a federal agency for several years after graduation.

JV Rajendran (Embedded Systems Challenge)

Jeyavijayan Rajendran, the Embedded Systems Challenge Captain, is a second year doctoral candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Last year, he placed third in IT Security in the Kaspersky American Round at the School of Engineering; secured the Myron M. Rosenthal Award for Best MS Academic Achievement in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and took Best Student Paper Award in the IEEE International Conference on VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Design, among other honors. He also advanced to the final round of the prestigious Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Research Competition.

Rajendran's work on encryption-based security of integrated circuits puts him at the forefront of microchip security at a time when the United States faces a flood of “mystery meat” microchips and other hardware that are typically manufactured abroad, pre-loaded by the manufacturer with malware that can be operated remotely to steal data, perform espionage and compromise systems. He is currently working on technology used for testing manufacturer defects in microchips, and applies it to testing the strength of security encryption on microchips.

Napa Sae-Bae (AT&T Best Applied Security Paper Competition)

Thailand native Napa Sae-Bae is a third year doctoral candidate in computer science at the School of Engineering. She is currently at work exploring a new authentication technique based on multi-touch capabilities in tablet devices. The idea is to allow users to authenticate themselves via their gestures, such as one swipe of a finger over a screen or a hand rotation in front of a tablet. Sae-Bae’s work has elicited positive attention from the cyber security community. She was one of the winners of the Kaspersky’s American Cup competition at the School of Engineering's Cyber Security Awareness Week last year, as well as third prize in the IT Security for the Next Generation student competition held by antivirus company Kaspersky Lab in late spring.