Briana Jamison already had a bachelor’s degree in communications when she enrolled at NOVA in the fall of 2015.
After graduating from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise), she considered applying to various graduate programs at four-year institutions without giving much thought to NOVA’s academic program offerings. Now, with plans to pursue a career as a chief information officer, Jamison will graduate this spring, magna cum laude, with an associate of applied science degree and certification in cybersecurity.
As a northern Virginia native, Jamison attended Fairfax County Public Schools with the goal to attend college immediately after high school. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree, she decided to enroll in a few information technology courses at NOVA during the summer. After realizing she enjoyed learning from NOVA’s highly-trained cybersecurity and IT professionals, she decided to enroll in the program as a full-time student.
“I decided to attend NOVA because it was a nice transition from a four-year university and at the time I was still exploring what I wanted to do next,” Jamison said. “I later learned about NOVA’s cybersecurity program, it held a distinguished reputation and I felt like it would be a great start into considering a career in that particular field. Prior to becoming a student, I didn’t know anything about cybersecurity or information technology. NOVA helped me to develop my skills and I’ve been here ever since, gaining the hands-on experience I need to become a cybersecurity professional.”
From the moment she first started taking courses at NOVA’s Annandale Campus, Jamison became actively involved with several college-wide and campus organizations. She would regularly attend and assist with various Student Life programs to gain the complete college experience. After relocating to the Woodbridge Campus, Jamison joined Women in Search of Excellence (WISE); which she received the 2018 Mentee of the Year award, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) and currently participates in the College’s work-study program as an office assistant with NOVA-Woodbridge Provost staff.
Because of her industrious academic success and campus involvement, Jamison was nominated to join the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) honor organization for being recognized in the top 20 percent of her class. She also serves as chief recruiting chair and member of AllCyber, a non-profit organization that assists in promoting and offering professional development to NOVA students, alumni and interested locals in the cybersecurity and IT fields. Being a full-time student in NOVA’s cybersecurity program also encouraged her to develop computer programming skills by participating in several regional and national cybersecurity competitions.
As the 2018 head-coach for the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) “green team,” Jamison has solved several challenges related to open source intelligence, scanning, enumeration and exploitation, password cracking, traffic analysis, log analysis, wireless security, cryptography and web application security. She’s also competed in Cyber Fusion, the National Cyber League and NOVA’s annual Innovation Hackathon.
“I like to hone in on my craft,” Jamison said. “When I wasn’t preparing for my classes, I would constantly read about the latest big thing involving IT and conduct research just to stay abreast of any new developments. Being a female in the STEM field is rare, so I want to do my part to ensure I’m making a successful contribution in the workforce.”
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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 the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.