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NOVA Cyber Team Takes Bronze in National SkillsUSA

NOVA Cyber Team Takes Bronze in National SkillsUSA

Big news from the SkillsUSA National Conference for our NOVA Cybersecurity team – they are bronze medalists!

Humza Ansari and Ardian Peach were originally awarded 4th place in cybersecurity at the SkillsUSA National Conference in Atlanta in June. However, a few weeks after the conference, a scoring error was identified and after it was corrected it revealed that Humza and Ardian had actually finished in 3rd place and are now national bronze medalists in cybersecurity! 

At the competition, after completing 10 cybersecurity stations, including configuring Cisco hardware switches, routers, and firewalls as well as a written test, both competitors had initially perceived that they should have placed higher. With the correct results now ratified, they are vindicated in their initial assessment and excited to be properly recognized for their efforts.

Since they were not able to walk the stage in Atlanta, NOVA held a special ceremony for them at the Annadale campus last week where they were awarded their bronze medallions by Joyce Price, the SkillsUSA Virginia State Director, and Tom Kercheval, the SkillsUSA Director of Communications. They were also awarded a medallion for the school which was presented to NOVA President Dr. Anne Kress, who in turn presented it to Niki Gordon, NOVA’s SkillsUSA advisor, who has supported and guided many NOVA students in SkillsUSA through clubs and competitions.

At the NOVA ceremony Ardian Peach was grateful and confident: “Thank you all so much for all the funding and support that we received – we quite literally could not have done it without you. And although this is NOVA’s first medal on the national stage, it won’t be the last.”

Humza Ansari added “I want to thank NOVA for giving us the opportunity, and thanks to all the professors who helped us to achieve this goal.” You can read the original June report from the conference here, which has additional details about support from NOVA professors.

Ansari would like to encourage other cyber and IT students to join SkillsUSA because it gives relevant and demanding learning experiences outside the classroom. “We are given tasks that apply to real world situations.” NOVA students can sign up for SkillsUSA here.

Following the National Conference, we also learned that Alexander Choi, who finished 4th in computer programming, earned the Skills Point Certificate at the event.

Funding for the SkillsUSA Chapter and the trip to the National Leadership and Skills Conference was provided by our Federal Perkins Award, Micron, and the NOVA Foundation. Zuzana Steen, University, Academic, and Community Relations Sr. Manager at Micron, and Kelly Persons, Executive Director of the NOVA Foundation, were at the ceremony to support our Nighthawk’s big win.

Click here for more about SkillsUSA at NOVA.

Click here to learn more about cybersecurity at NOVA, where we are a center of academic excellence.

You can also view our brief video, “Cybersecurity at NOVA,” which happens to feature Ardian Peach.


Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.