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ODU Awards Degrees to First Class of Cyber Graduates 

By Noell Saunders

Old Dominion University's inaugural class of 16 cybersecurity students recently received bachelor's degrees at the 128th commencement exercises on May 4 and 5.

The University's cybersecurity program started in 2015 with 11 students. Since then, the program has grown significantly, creating training and advancement opportunities to help prepare students for the workforce.

"We currently have over 200 students enrolled in the program," said Hongyi "Michael" Wu, director of ODU's Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research. "There's more than 33,000 jobs open in the state, and Virginia has the highest cybersecurity demand in the nation. We are training our students for these jobs."

Students are exposed to a variety of hands-on exercises that are taught by the University's faculty from a variety of disciplines, including computer engineering, philosophy, criminal justice, information technology, computer science and English.

"I am proud of these students for being the first to complete this major and of the faculty for showing that interdisciplinary academic programming is not only possible, it is also responsive to societal demand," said Brian Payne, vice provost for Academic Affairs.

Recently, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced the approval of $1 million in scholarships from the National Science Foundation to help high-achieving students with financial need in the University's cybersecurity program.

Other University initiatives include pathway agreements with Northern Virginia Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College and Tidewater Community College, which allow community college students graduating with an associate's degree in relevant cybersecurity coursework to transfer to Old Dominion.

"Students can finish their degree with no more than 120 credit hours, including the ones they transfer with from their community colleges," Wu said. "It can help students save a lot of time and money on their tuition."

Read more about the University's cybersecurity program in next month's Monarch magazine.

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