RU represented at statewide cyber education conference

Radford University Associate Professor of Information Technology Prem Uppuluri (right) was among the participants at Gov. McAuliffe's Commonwealth Conference on Cyber and Education 2015 on Dec. 2.

Radford University was represented at Gov. Terry McAuliffe's Commonwealth Conference on Cyber and Education 2015 at Northern Virginia Community College on Dec. 2. 

Associate Professor of Information Technology Prem Uppuluri and Special Instructor Darrell Parsons joined almost 300 government, private sector and education leaders to explore opportunities and develop strategies to fill the cyber talent pipeline and make Virginia’s technology infrastructure safe and strong.

The daylong event brought Uppuluri and Parsons together with leading Virginia cyber education professionals to explore emergent cyber trends and challenges with McAuliffe, Sen. Mark Warner, Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson, Secretary of Education Ann Holton and representatives from organizations such as VISA, the Department of Defense and the National CyberWatch Center.

"We had a much-needed opportunity to set the stage for collaboration with the industry and government,"  said Uppuluri, coordinator of Radford's Center for Information Security. "Cyber security can’t be achieved without industry, government and academic partnerships."

The Center for Information Security is an initiative of the Department of Information Technology. One of its initiatives is a program to teach cyber security to K-12 students and area teachers. The CIS also supplements the department's computer science offerings with a certificate program in information security. Cybersecurtiy is also a key component of the curriculum of the newly-launched M.S. Data and Information Management program.

In spring 2015, the Center implemented its K-12 program for cyber security education, funded by a National Security Administration (NSA) grant, at the Shenandoah and Southwest Virginia governors schools and this fall added a program at Christiansburg High School. Currently, almost 40 students are enrolled in the program at the three sites.

The CIS, according to Uppuluri, aspires to be recognized by March 2016 as a Center of Academic Excellence by the NSA, which will bring it into compliance with industry standards and enhance its ability to contribute to the workforce demands of a fast-growing and evolving field.

In his keynote address, McAuliffe challenged the technology and education leaders to "turbocharge cyber education" and said the technology and cyber fields are "where the jobs of tomorrow will be."

Overcoming the state’s deficit of more than 17,000 cyber or technology professionals was the event's clarion call. The challenges of a cyber world in which almost 50,000 spam and virus attacks annually threaten the state’s computer infrastructure set a stark backdrop. 

"Cyber security highlights the vast area of topics that make up information technology - networking, operating systems, cryptography, digital forensics, software engineering and the backbone of the Internet, web technology," Uppuluri said. "Radford is part of the solution and we contribute to the robust flow of talent who enhance this critical infrastructure."


At the Commonwealth Conference on Cyber and Education 2015 at Northern Virginia Community College, Margaret Leary, NOVA CC cybersecurity program director, joined Uppuluri and Parsons, representing Radford's IT faculty, to address the challenge of preparing the state’s cyber or technology professionals.

Dec 4, 2015