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Virtual forum features student presentations on cyber security

Using a forum in the online, interactive program “Second Life,” Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and CyberWatch are hosting a weeklong series of security awareness presentations that will be led by students and open to the public. 

Students from NOVA, and other colleges nationwide, will present virtual information sessions on a variety of security topics. The series is part of cyber security awareness month. 

Second Life is an online, interactive program in which users design 3D, lifelike images (avatars) of themselves and create virtual communities. 

NOVA is part of the National CyberWatch Center, a center funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and focused on cyber security. NOVA’s own Cyber Security program is now a Center of Academic Excellence for two-year colleges (CAE2Y) and the first community college in Virginia to be designated as such by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

Student presenters are receiving stipends for their work through a NSF grant. 

The virtual presentations will be recorded and made available through the National CyberWatch Center and NOVA’s Cyber Security program. 


  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m.: Minh Ho, NOVA, “Security Issues in Healthcare” 
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 4 p.m.: Robin Burkett, NOVA, “Digital Photography Forensics” 
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23, 1 p.m.:  Halie Peacher, Mississippi State University, “United States’ Preparations for Cyber Security” 
  • Thursday, Oct. 24, 2 p.m.: Ana Martinez, Monterey Peninsula College, “Social Media Safety” 
  • Monday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.: Matthew Matchen, University of Maryland University College, “SSL Interception/Decryption” and “Associated Privacy Concerns”
  • Monday, Oct. 28, 10:30 p.m.: Norma Fleming, NOVA, “Mobile Phone Security”

These presentations are online in the Second Life program. New users to Second Life need to visit secondlife.com, create an avatar and download the client to participate “in world” at the scheduled day and time. Presentations will be in the CyberWatch Second Life Island at CyberWatch Public Region, CyberWatch (42/31/24).  

From within Second Life, the public auditorium can be accessed at the following web address: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/CyberWatch/42/31/24

There is no cost to sign up for the Second Life program or to participate in the online forum. 

Instructions for attending can be provided by Margaret Leary, professor of information technology, at mleary@nvcc.edu. The NOVA CyberWatch group also has a Facebook page which provides ongoing updates on events and educational opportunities for students. 

Media Contact: Corey Byers | 703.425.5847 | CByers@nvcc.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 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.