April 2021- MITS Partners with COVA CCI Experiential Learning Program to mold future Cybersecurity Leaders

The National Science Foundation recently added six new universities to its CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program. These six universities are in addition to the 78 universities already participating in the program.

According to the February 11, 2021 announcement published by the NSF they have, “invested nearly $6.9 million, with an expected total of almost $21.2 million over the next five years.” As Kim Barrett, director of NSF’s Division of Graduate Education, points out, there is a growing need for well-trained cybersecurity professionals in the United States. With the help of the grant and scholarship program, students will benefit from an interdisciplinary education.

Old Dominion University was selected as one of the six Universities added to this program and holds the designation as a “Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations”. With the help of the $3.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation, ODU and partnering community colleges will prepare students for careers withing the Federal workforce as cybersecurity professionals. Through the “LeADERS program,” at ODU, these students will receive an in-state tuition scholarship as well as an annual stipend and will be expected to work for the Federal Government for a designated amount of time after graduation.

While participating in the LeADERS program, students are required to participate in activities offered by ancillary affiliates such as the Coastal Virginia Center for Cyber Innovation (COVA CCI). COVA CCI offers students participation in the Graduate Student Experiential Learning Program, a learning program that links individuals with Cybersecurity companies and allows them real-world experience working on various projects and applications.

In the recent news article published by COVA CCI, Mike Ihrig, president of MI Technical Solutions, gave his support for the program. As he stated, “MI Technical Solution never passes on an opportunity to bring on newly qualified individuals. We have been doing this for years. Our younger workforce is primarily composed of interns we brought into MITS, molded them and then hired them full time.  This particular opportunity is providing us the best of both worlds.  We get to see an individual function in our real time work environment and observe how they interact with the rest of our team. MI Technical Solution would never turn down such a unique opportunity.”

With an ever-growing need for qualified Cybersecurity professionals within our Federal and Domestic Workforce, the National Science Foundation grants to quality institutions, such as Old Dominion University, will act as the much-needed support to students interested in pursuing a career within the field of Cybersecurity. ODUs partnership with COVA CCI and their commitment to real-world learning experiences working with companies like MI Technical Solutions will help to strengthen the capabilities of these high-potential students and better prepare them for the demands of our ever-changing world.      

Links to original articles can be found here: