First they win a national championship. Then they go to the White House.

The Knights? Yes. But in this case, it’s the UCF Cyber Defense Team, which claimed the 2014 Raytheon National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in April and earned an exclusive visit with Vice President Joe Biden and key federal personnel Aug. 20 in Washington, D.C.

From UCF were the team members who are information technology and computer science students and recent graduates, UCF Cyber Defense Team Faculty Advisor Tom Nedorost, and UCF staff.

Biden praised the team’s achievement and spoke about the importance of global cybersecurity systems that adapt to evolving threats.

Director of the Secret Service and UCF alumna Julia Pierson also attended and spoke to the group about her pride in being a Knight and the importance of cyber defense education.

Also attending were Michael Daniel, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator; Dr. Patricia Falcone, associate director for national security and international affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Rand Beers, senior advisor to the president.

Daniel and Falcone emphasized America’s increasing need for a pipeline of cyber talent to meet growing public and private sector demand.

Lynn Dugle, president of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business group, added her congratulations and emphasized the importance of growing America’s next generation of cyber talent.

Sponsor of the White House visit was the Department of Homeland Security, which initially funded the competition.

“As more and more sensitive information flows across electronic systems and networks, new platforms have to be designed, built, and maintained to protect that information,” reads an Aug. 20 White House blog post.

The blog post continues: “While some businesses specialize in cybersecurity, industries like financial services, healthcare, and retail transmit valuable information over their computer networks and therefore require increased focus, investment, and a growing number of trained professionals to secure their systems, data, and intellectual property. That’s why a robust cybersecurity workforce is a fundamental prerequisite for protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure and the intellectual property that supports our innovation-based economy.”