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The Road to Equity-Conscious Research in Cybersecurity


Thursday, October 14, 2021 
11:00 AM – 12:00PM ET


The Road to Equity-Conscious Research in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity underpins the technology changing modern life, including keeping the power grid secure and operational, ensuring autonomous vehicles aren’t hacked, and safeguarding our privacy in a network of intelligent devices.

The cybersecurity field needs creative, intelligent problem-solvers to address these tough challenges. Experts agree that teams composed of people from diverse backgrounds excel at solving complex problems. The cybersecurity field is overwhelmingly male and white, consistent with science and engineering occupation data from the National Science Foundation.

Join us on “The Road to Equity-Conscious Research in Cybersecurity.” With many stops along the road, we begin with a discussion that will include a foundational understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and why it’s important in cybersecurity. Our dynamic keynote speaker Gloria Ladson-Billings will introduce the concept of culturally relevant teaching methods, followed by a panel that will share their best hacks to ensure diversity in their programs. You don’t want to miss these illustrative tips and techniques that are sure to help boost your equity-conscious research in cybersecurity. 

The Road to Equity-Conscious Research in Cybersecurity webinar is the first stop in a series of quarterly workshops designed to help increase diversity in cybersecurity as well as explore how diversity, equity and inclusion impacts research and technology. The CCI Inclusion and Diversity Committee moderates the sessions and is building off the statewide ONE Virginia Plan developed to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity within Virginia.

The Keynote Speaker


The Panelists

panelists collage

Gloria Ladson-Billings - Keynote Speaker

President, National Academy of Education

Gloria Ladson-Billings is Professor Emerita and former Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The holder of 10 honorary doctorates, Ladson-Billings is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Educational Research Association, the British Academy, and the Hagler Institute of Texas A&M University. Her research examines issues of pedagogy, race, and culture.

Michaela Chamberlin

Northern Virginia Community College, Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Mihaela Chamberlin is a chemistry professor at the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Annandale campus, and a PhD Biochemist by training. Before coming to NOVA, she completed a postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, after which she worked in biomedical research. For the past ten years she has been developing and teaching various chemistry courses at NOVA, both in person and in the online format. She is the founder of STEMHAWKS, a STEM mentoring organization at NOVA-Annandale, a co-founder of MARCH-ON, a multi-institutional organization with the goal of creating a STEM Ecosystem in Northern Virginia. Dr. Chamberlin has managed an NSF NOYCE subaward from George Mason University, as a PI on the NOVA site, and has been a reviewer on several NSF educational grants. She is a member of the Equity and Diversity Committee at NOVA, Annandale.                 

Jorge E. Figueredo

Executive Director, Edu-Futuro

Jorge E. Figueredo has extensive experience leading organizations and programs committed to advancing social justice and empowering immigrant communities. As executive director of the Hispanic Committee of Virginia and Edu-Futuro, he transformed these two local nonprofits into regional multi-million-dollar organizations. He conceptualized and founded Security One Bank (today known as John Marshall Bank) with 13 other members. He was also the director of the ACLU of Virginia’s Racial Justice and Immigrant Rights Project. Recently, Figueredo worked for The CENTECH Group, Inc. and the National Federal Contractors Association. Figueredo holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia), and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland.  

In May 2015, Figueredo became executive director of Edu-Futuro, a community-based organization that offers a series of bilingual two-generation programs to empower Northern Virginia immigrant youth and families through mentorship, education, leadership development, parent engagement, individual case management, and workforce development. These include: the Emerging Leaders Program, offered to students in grades 3-12 to develop their educational and professional skills including robotics clubs, and STEM program that lead to college enrollment and career success, plus mentoring and support for underrepresented college students during their post-secondary education; case management to provide direct assistance to immigrant families; parent empowerment services to help parents address issues that may hinder financial stability and adaptation to life in the United States; and workforce development services to help immigrant parents gain the skills to successfully apply for and obtain stable employment. 

Kumnit Nong

Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College, Mathematics

Kumnit Nong (James) is an associate professor at Northern Virginia Community College. He is a founder of the Annual NOVA Math Competition. He graduated from George Mason University with masters degrees in mathematics and computational science & informatics. As a NOVA alumnus, he is dedicated to helping students  be successful in their academic career. Nong is also a member of the MARCH-ON organization, together with Chamberlin,  Figueredo and Seshaiyer.

Judith Obregon

Alumni, Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), Georgetown student

Judith Obregon graduated from Northern Virginia Community College in 2020 and she is currently a student at Georgetown University, McDonough Business School.

Obregon has excelled in her curricular and extra-curricular activities and has received numerous scholarships and awards. She was selected as Phi Theta Kappa "Top Ten" All-Virginia Academic Team in 2020, nominated to be a part of the Coca-Cola Academic Team as a Silver Scholar 2020, nominated for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Foundation Scholarship 2020, Northern Virginia STEM Women of the year 2020, and selected as a part of the Georgetown University Preferred Consideration Program. Recently she was selected for the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Obregon is dedicated to improving access to education for underrepresented communities all over the world.

Padmanabhan “Padhu” Seshaiyer

Professor, George Mason University, Mathematical Sciences 

Dr. Seshaiyer is a tenured full professor at George Mason University (GMU) and has served as the associate dean for the College of Science, director of STEM Accelerator Program, director for the Center for Outreach in Mathematics Professional Learning and Educational Technology at GMU and as a program director at the National Science Foundation. 

His research interests are in the broad areas of computational mathematics, computational data science, scientific computing, computational biomechanics, design and systems thinking, entrepreneurship and STEM education. During the last decade, Seshaiyer initiated and directed a variety of educational programs including graduate and undergraduate research, K-12 outreach, teacher professional development, and enrichment programs to foster the interest of students and teachers in STEM at all levels. 

He was recently sworn into office to serve as one of the STEM advisors to the Governor of Virginia for a newly established VA STEM Advisory Board. He is actively involved in the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Northern Virginia regionial node, which is led by GMU and is partnering with the Children's Science Center and local cybersecurity firms to help expand the pipeline of cybersecurity professionals.

Registration Information

Register here. If you have problems with registration, please contact Susie Kuliasha at This online event also has closed captions for accessibility. 

About CCI Events

With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) focuses on the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and data. Funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, CCI is a highly connected statewide network that engages institutions of higher education, industry, government, and nongovernmental and economic development organizations. CCI’s network includes 39 higher education institutions and 320 faculty members as well as more than 20 industry partners. CCI was established in the 2018-20 Virginia budget with an investment of approximately $20 million annually from 2020 and beyond. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Thanks for your interest! Please contact Kendall Beebe at to get involved.

Please email Kendall Beebe at

CCI posted a recording of the webinar, which you can watch on CCI’s YouTube channel.