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2022 CCI Cyber Camp

June 6 - 9, 2022

2022 Cyber Camp May 16-20

Date: June 6 - 9, 2022, In-Person

Location: Virginia Tech Research Center, 900 N Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia 22203.

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative is excited for you to join the second annual CCI Cyber Camp where you’ll test your skills, learn some new ones, and polish your resume, cover letter, and job interview techniques to help you build a career in this meaningful field. 

During the camp you’ll hear from and network with top cybersecurity experts, enhance your cybersecurity skills, and meet students from across Virginia who are as passionate about cybersecurity as you are. 

Students wanting to attend the CCI Cyber Camp must qualify for the camp by competing in an online qualifying event held on April 8 – 10, 2022. The qualifier will be hosted on the Cyber Range through a series of Capture the Flag (CTF) challenges.

How to Register and Attend the CCI Cyber Camp

  1. Click the button below and fill out your information by 5 p.m. ET April 1, 2022. 
  2. Attend the Qualifying Event on April 8 – 10, 2022. The morning of April 8, students will receive a link to access the Qualifying Event via the email they used to register. The Qualifying Event will be open from 8 a.m. ET April 8 until 6 p.m. ET April 10, 2022, for you to complete the challenges.
  3. Qualified students, based on their performance at the Qualifying Event, will be invited to attend the CCI Cyber Camp.


Students who wish to attend the 4-day camp must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be an undergraduate student attending a Virginia college, university, or community college
  • Must participate in the Qualifying Event. This event is to ensure camp attendees have the necessary basic skills to participate in the camp.
  • Qualifier categories include:
    • Cryptography
    • Networking
    • Reverse Engineering
    • Web
  • Must receive an invitation from CCI after the Qualifying Event. Only students who receive an invitation by CCI after the Qualifying Event may attend the CCI Cyber Camp.

Camp Agenda

Date Time Workshop Instructor

June 6

2 p.m.

5 p.m.

Welcome & Introductions

Camp Social


June 7*

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

12– 1 p.m.

XG Workshop

Lunch: Career Panel

Aloizio P. DaSilva

June 8*

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

12 – 1:30 p.m.

Artificial Intelligence Workshop

Lunch: Resume/CV & Cover Letter Workshop

Feras Batarseh and Jagan Chandrasekaran

Don Snyder

June  9

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

12 – 1 p.m.

Data Analytics Workshop


Laura Freeman


*Mock interviews will take place on June 7 and 8 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Students will sign up for a time slot on June 6.

Cyber Camp Instructors

panelists collage

Feras A. Batarseh is a research associate professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. He is affiliated with the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture at Virginia Tech and George Mason University’s (GMU) School of Systems Biology.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Batarseh was a research assistant professor at the College of Science at GMU, and the director of Turing Research, an applied AI research group at GMU. Additionally, he was a program manager at MicroStrategy Inc., and a data engineering consultant for USAID and USDA. 

Batarseh is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Agricultural and Applied Economical Association (AAEA), and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). He has taught AI courses at multiple universities including GMU, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Georgetown University, and George Washington University (GWU). 

His work has been published at various prestigious journals and international conferences. Additionally, Batarseh has published multiple chapters and books, his three recent books are: Federal Data Science, Data Democracy, and AI Assurance, published by Elsevier’s Academic Press.

Batarseh obtained his Ph.D. and M.Sc. in computer engineering from the University of Central Florida in 2007 and 2011, a graduate certificate in project leadership from Cornell University in 2016, and another graduate certificate in public policy economics from the University of Oxford in 2020. In 2022, he received a Juris Masters of Law from GMU.

Jaganmohan Chandrasekaran is a postdoctoral research associate at the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.

He is a recipient of a STEM fellowship from 2015 to 2021 and a dissertation fellowship in 2021.  His research interests are at the intersection of software engineering and artificial intelligence, focusing on the reliability and trustworthiness of AI-based software systems. His current research focuses on developing AI assurance approaches using causal inference. His work has been published at peer-reviewed international conferences.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree (B.Tech) in information technology from Anna University, India, he worked as an analyst programmer for a US-based insurance company from 2009 to 2012. In 2013, he joined The University of Texas at Arlington for graduate studies in computer science. At the University of Texas at Arlington, he first earned his master’s degree in 2015 and later earned a Ph.D. in 2021.

Laura Freeman is a research associate professor of statistics and serves as the deputy director of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute. Her research leverages experimental methods for conducting research that brings together cyber-physical systems, data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to address critical challenges in national security.  She develops new methods for test and evaluation focusing on emerging system technology.  Her work in the National Security Institute focuses on transitioning emerging research into implementable solutions to solve challenges in defense and homeland security. She is also a hub faculty member in the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative and leads research in AI Assurance. She is the assistant dean for research for the Virginia Tech College of Science, working to shape research directions and collaborations across the college of science in the Greater Washington D.C. area.

Previously, Freeman was the assistant director of the Operational Evaluation Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses.  In that position, she established and developed an interdisciplinary analytical team of statisticians, psychologists, and engineers to advance scientific approaches to Department of Defense test and evaluation. In 2018, Freeman served as acting senior technical advisor for Director Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). As the senior technical advisor, Freeman provided leadership, advice, and counsel to all personnel on technical aspects of testing military systems. She reviewed test strategies, plans, and reports from all systems on DOT&E oversight.

Freeman is the recipient of the 2017 IDA Goodpaster Award for Excellence in Research and the 2013 International Test and Evaluation Association (ITEA) Junior Achiever Award.  She is a member of the American Statistical Association, the American Society for Quality, the International Statistical Engineering Association, and ITEA.  She is the current Editor-and-Chief of the ITEA Journal. She serves on the editorial boards for Quality Engineering, Quality Reliability Engineering International, and the ITEA Journal.  She is a founding organizer of DATAWorks (Defense and Aerospace Test and Analysis Workshop), a workshop designed to share new methods, provide training, and share best practices between NASA, the DoD, and National Labs.

Freeman has a B.S. in aerospace engineering, a M.S. in statistics and a Ph.D. in statistics, all from Virginia Tech.  Her areas of statistical expertise include designed experiments, reliability analysis, and industrial statistics. Her Ph.D. research was on design and analysis of experiments for reliability data.

Aloizio P. DaSilva serves as the xG Testbed Director at Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) and as research faculty at the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. DaSilva’s areas of interest include wireless network, 5G and beyond, but mainly software defined networks (SDN), software defined radio (SDR), network function virtualization (NFV), Internet of Things (IoT), Smart City, large-scale testbed experimentation, and mobile edge computing (MEC).  He also has a background in deep-space communication intersecting with delay and disruption tolerant networks (DTNs). 

DaSilva is also technical project manager for Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program at US-IGNITE/NSF PAWR PPO where he manages and oversees PAWR testbeds, including AERPAW, POWDER, COSMOS and ARA. DaSilva has large experience on European Horizon projects acquired during his role as 5G portfolio manager and research fellow at University of Bristol UK. 

DaSilva earned his B.S. in computer science from the Pontificia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, M.Sc in computer science from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, MBA in project management from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas and Babson Executive College, and Ph.D in computer engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica.

Career Panelists

panelists collage

As an executive-level leader in the private, non-profit and public sectors Bobby Keener, Jr. has provided leadership in innovation, cybersecurity, data and technology, education and workforce development to Fortune 100 companies, large non-profits, local governments, state and national agencies, the national intelligence community, and secondary and higher education institutions. 

Under Keener’s guidance, CivilianCyber has established itself as a leader in technology-driven workforce development and the company serves as the workforce lead for various prominent state and national initiatives. As chief technology innovations officer at the Virginia Department of Education, Keener was nationally recognized as a Top 25 innovative technology leader by for his industry leading initiatives. He has also served as a governor appointee to the Virginia Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC), oversaw technology services for more than 70 state agencies, was a founding member of the U.S. Department of Education #GoOpen movement, serves on the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Cyber Center Advisory Board, and has chaired national advisory boards to include the Generate Data Governance Group that oversees the automation of federal data collection and reporting. 

Many of his programs have also served as national models to include GoOpenVA: Virginia’s Open Education Resource initiative, the K12 Learning Infrastructure Program (KLIP), the Virginia Cybersecurity Summer Camps, and the Student-Led Ideation Challenge (SLIC) that was recognized by the White House. As a consultant Keener has advised organizations as diverse as Google, Metropolitan Museum of Art, CarMax, and Harrah’s Casino. Keener earned his Executive MBA and his Master of Information Systems Management from VCU, both with honors, and is a veteran of the United States Army where he was a Non-Commissioned Officer, Certified Jungle Operations Expert and recipient of the Humanitarian Services Medal.

Kosta Kalpos leads Splunk's government affairs initiatives focused on U.S. federal civilian agencies and related public policies. Kalpos previously worked at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he served as senior advisor for cybersecurity.  In that role, he served as OMB's senior advisor to the Federal Chief Information Security Officer, Deputy National Cyber Director, and Chairperson to the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC). He also worked on a broad array of cybersecurity policies and initiatives for the Biden Administration.  Prior to OMB, Kalpos served as the senior manager for service integrations at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), where he managed several government-wide cybersecurity efforts. 

During his time at CISA, Kalpos volunteered for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Surge Capacity Force, where he deployed in response to Hurricane Irma, Maria, and Harvey. Kalpos was also a volunteer member of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Interagency Coordination Center (ICC) for Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), whose mission was to help vulnerable Afghans safely resettle in the United States.

Pat McShea is a program manager with CACI International Inc. and is responsible for a roughly 200-person contract to address a wide range of cybersecurity services.

McShea started his career learning SIGINT and riding submarines in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologist. He then learned all about satellites spending ten years supporting the National Reconnaissance Office. He took a pivot outside of the intel community with America Online, where he learned about software development and performance measurement. He spent several years back in the intel community as a professional consultant, where his team was responsible for delivering data-driven analytics on large systems to inform acquisition strategies. The past six years have been focused on the full spectrum of cyber engineering. He summarizes his career with the 6 S's–SIGINT, Submarines, Satellites, Software, Systems, and Cyber.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have to register anywhere to participate in the qualifying challenges?

  • Yes, please use the link to register for the event.

How much experience in cybersecurity is expected for those planning to attend the qualifying event?

  • The cybersecurity challenges range from basic to intermediate level challenges. The qualifier is recommended to students studying cybersecurity, but is open to all students that are interested in the field.

Do you need to install any software for this event?

  • No software installation required
  • You will need to create a cyber range account

Is there a web browser that is recommended for the event?

  • For the Cyber Range, we recommend Google-Chrome or Firefox.

If I already have a Cyber Range account do I need to create a new one?

  • You do not need to create a new one, but please make sure you update your player name to your first and last name so we can contact you

What study materials would you recommend before the qualifying event?

  • There are four categories with four challenges in each category - Cryptography, Networking, Reverse Engineering, and Web. There are lots of resources online for these kinds of competitions. Here's an example.

Do we have to register anywhere to participate in the qualifying challenges?

  • Yes, please use the link to register for the event.

What are the qualifying event dates?

  • Registration for the qualifier closes: April 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET
  • Qualifying Event Opens: April 8, 2022 at 8 a.m. ET
  • Qualifying Event Closes: April 10, 2022 at 6 p.m. ET

How much experience in cybersecurity is expected for those planning to attend the qualifying event?

  • The cybersecurity challenges range from basic to intermediate level challenges. The qualifier is recommended to students studying cybersecurity, but is open to all students that are interested in the field as well.

Is the qualifying event jeopardy based?

  • Capture the Flag (CTF) is a special kind of information security competitions. There are three common types of CTFs: jeopardy, attack-defense and mixed.
  • Jeopardy-style CTFs has a couple of questions (tasks) in range of categories. For example, cryptography, networking, reverse engineering, and web or something else. Teams can gain some points for every solved task. Usually it's more points for more complicated tasks. The next task in a chain can be opened only after a team solves a previous task. Then the game time is over sum of points shows you a CTF winner.

Are these challenges only cybersecurity focused, or are they to gauge overall programming ability?

  • The qualifying event is cybersecurity focused in four categories – Cryptography, Networking, Reverse Engineering, and Web

Are there performance-based challenges?

  • Yes, the qualifier has performance-based challenges

Are you all playing this CTF as a team-based or individual-based event?

  • This is an individual-based event

Will the points distribute equally to these questions? Or there will be a sort of concentration?

  • The points will range based on difficulty

Since we are earning points, the participants with the highest scores will receive an invitation to the event?

  • If the student participating is an undergraduate student from a Virginia-based higher education institution and scores well, then they will ultimately receive an invitation


Information Session 

The information session about the Qualifying Event and the camp was held online at 1 p.m. ET on March 28, 2022.

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What happens after I receive my ticket for registering in the qualifier event?

  • Students will receive an email notification with resources and instructions for the qualifier on April 7, 2022. A CCI representative will also be available from April 8 - April 10 2022 to answer any questions students may have.

If we don’t qualify right now, can we reapply next year?

  • Yes, please reapply next year!

I am graduating in May and will have graduated when the camp begins. Does that disqualify me from attending?

  • This does not disqualify you. If you were an undergraduate student when CCI announced the camp then you are eligible.

I have no cybersecurity-particular education or experience, but I'd really love to learn about and gain skills in the area. Would this camp be a good fit for me?

  • If you have or have no cybersecurity experience, CCI recommends students to attempt the challenges. The qualifier will be a fun and great learning experience and could help sway students to major or minor in cybersecurity

What are the CCI Cyber Camp dates?

  • June 6 – 9, 2022

Where am I staying?

Your hotel accommodations are at the Holiday Inn Arlington in Ballston at 4610 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203. The hotel has complimentary breakfast and parking and is within walking distance to the camp, restaurants, gyms, and stores. 

Students will be grouped in the hotel rooms. Room pairings will go based on gender and preference.

What is the cost?

CCI will cover the student’s food, hotel, and parking. Students will be responsible for transportation to and from Arlington, Virginia and dinner accommodations.  

Where is the Cyber Camp?

The CCI Cyber Camp will be hosted at the Virginia Tech Research Center at 900 N Glebe Roard, Arlington, Virginia 22203.