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NOVA and Virginia Tech Commemorate Newly Formed Cyber Pathway Program

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dr. Robert T. Sumichrast, Dr. Anne M. Kress and Dr. Eun-Woo Chang
Zhiliang Kuang, Sorina Aquinde Calero and Abdul Basit Tusher
Zhiliang Kuang, Sorina Aquinde Calero and Abdul Basit Tusher

On November 12th, 2021, Northern Virginia Community College and Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business held a partnership-signing ceremony celebrating the newly-formed Business Information Technology – Cybersecurity Management and Analytics (BIT-Cyber) program. The partnership provides a guided transfer pathway for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology with the option to focus on Cybersecurity Management and Analytics (BIT-Cyber). This is the first Virginia Tech bachelor’s degree available to students outside of Blacksburg.

This work-based program removes barriers for students from diverse, non-traditional backgrounds, while also providing access to high-level workplace learning opportunities in the D.C.-metro area. The program-to-program guaranteed admission agreement was developed in July 2021. 

“This exciting new partnership with Virginia Tech builds on our longstanding transfer agreements with the university, increasing access to bachelor’s degrees in the high growth, high demand IT field,” said Anne M. Kress, president of NOVA. “This transfer pipeline aims to fulfill the region’s need for diverse technology talent by enabling our students to continue their education and earn a degree from Virginia Tech while staying close to home. We thank the university for making this new opportunity available to our amazing NOVA students and look forward to continuing to grow the NOVA/Virginia Tech partnership.” 

The signing ceremony was attended by leaders from both institutions, industry professionals, board members and current students in the program.

“Thank you to NOVA and Virginia Tech for helping me reach my goals. Even though I have an MBA from my home country, I started a business administration degree at NOVA,” said Zhiliang Kuang. “I was accepted into Virginia Tech in 2020. This program opened doors that I didn’t have.” 

“I studied business administration at NOVA starting in the fall of 2019 and I graduated in 2020,” said Sorina Aquinde Calero. “Having the ability to transfer to VT and stay in Northern Virginia is amazing as I am a working professional, a first-generation college student and a mother of two young boys.” 

“For Virginia to remain the best state in the nation for business, we have to address this critical need for cybersecurity professionals,” said Robert Sumichrast, dean of Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. “By streamlining the transfer process and incorporating work-based learning, this model provides a diverse student base the opportunity to engage with the industry’s most pressing challenges and industry access to top-notch, emerging talent.”

Not only does the program help meet the demand for cybersecurity professionals, but it also helps meet the cybersecurity field’s need to expand diversity in ways that make it more effective. 

“Cybersecurity requires a knowledge of human dimension,” said Svetlana Filiatreau, BIT-Cyber’s director. “You have to understand culture and human behavior, and from that standpoint, the diversity of our students, both culturally and linguistically, is a big bonus.”

For questions regarding the BIT-Cyber program at NOVA, please contact Jennifer L. Nelson, NOVA’s chief transfer officer, at jlnelson@nvcc.edu. For media inquiries for NOVA, contact Hoang Nguyen, public information officer at hdnguyen@nvcc.edu.

For program questions regarding the BIT-Cyber program at Virginia Tech, please contact Dr. Svetlana Filiatreau, program director of the cybersecurity management and analytics program at sfiliatr@vt.edu.  For media inquiries for Virginia Tech, contact Shannon Andrea, director of communications at sandrea@vt.edu.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.

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