By Sherry DiBari

Sachin Shetty, who holds dual appointments as executive director of the Center for Secure & Intelligent Critical Systems at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) and associate professor in the Department of Computational Modeling and Simulation Engineering, was awarded a grant to develop student experiential learning programs at the Port of Virginia.

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative grant was part of a $1 million award for seven statewide projects to bolster the commonwealth's cybersecurity workforce.

The initiative also includes researchers from George Mason University, Longwood University, Marymount University, Radford University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and the College of William & Mary.

"By building experiential learning programs in central, coastal, southwestern and northern Virginia, CCI is giving students the hands-on experiences they need to enjoy successful careers in cybersecurity," Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director, said in a press release. "These programs are designed to grow to help meet the ever-expanding cybersecurity workforce needs of Virginia and the nation."

Shetty is the principal investigator for the project. Co-principal investigators include Saltuk Karhan and Sarada Prasad of Old Dominion University as well as faculty from Longwood University, the University of Virginia and Rich Ceci from Virginia International Terminals.

The CCI award will be used to develop a suite of experiential learning modules for a planned Cybersecurity Monitoring Command and Control Center at the Port of Virginia.

"The modules would teach students the understanding of cyber risks and technology needed to develop an operational cyber security monitoring center," Shetty said.

The learning modules will be integrated into the cybersecurity curriculum at ODU. The training, along with internships, will provide students real-world experience and in turn, help to establish a pipeline of trained workforce for the future.

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