Nearly 200 students completed the Richmond FBI's Cyber Collegiate Academy this week with the help of VCU’s College of Engineering. Throughout this month-long educational initiative, students from VCU, the University of Richmond and Virginia Union University learned about cybersecurity and law enforcement from FBI field professionals.
Hosted by VCU Engineering, the event was a platform for students to connect with FBI professionals who shared their expertise. The sessions educated students on:
- Cellular Analysis Survey Team (CAST) led by Special Agent Jeremy D'Errico
- Cryptocurrency and pig-butchering scams presented by Intelligence Analyst Sean McDermott and Task Force Officer Stuart Von Canon
- Dark Web/Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) with insights from Data Analyst Chase Welch and Special Agent Jake Olesen.
- Career opportunities discussed by Applicant Recruiter Mary Madison Gelber and counterintelligence/cyber investigations led by McDermott and Special Agent Cameron Fricks.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ann Busby, Community Outreach Specialist Leslie McLane and Supervisory Special Agent Neeki Carter provided additional support from the FBI. Laura Lemza, Career Services director, and staff at the VCU Career Services office provided support to the students in attendance.
“VCU's Cybersecurity Center (CSeC) is proud to be taking the lead in hosting the first FBI Cybersecurity Regional Collegiate Academy here in Richmond, Virginia,” said Milos Manic, Ph.D., Director of the CSeC and Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). “The attentiveness and eagerness to learn from professionals in the field is our north star in providing cybersecurity education. This is another event in a series of activities establishing VCU as the leader in cybersecurity in central Virginia.”
Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador also addressed the students in the final session, sharing insights on the importance of hard work, perseverance and character in pursuing careers in the FBI or other fields.
“One of the important things the Collegiate Academy does is give the local FBI field office the opportunity to educate college students on what the FBI does, the various threats that we work and how we work cases. It gives students an opportunity to meet firsthand those individuals and ask the questions of the FBI that they've always wanted to ask but never had the opportunity,” said Meador. "What's important to us and to the Richmond field office is the impact that we make. We want to try to get in front of as many college students as we can. This opportunity was an excellent example of being able to do that."