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Spring 2024 INNOVATE Cyber Challenge

Applications open now; event begins Jan. 11, 2024

COVA CCI is accepting applications for the Spring 2024 INNOVATE Cyber Challenge, an opportunity to gain paid experience and skills in cybersecurity and information technology.

This experiential learning program, which will be conducted remotely via Zoom, kicks off Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.

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Students at public two-year and four-year Virginia colleges and universities can apply.

About the Program

INNOVATE Cyber is a competitive process limited to a select group of undergraduates. 

The cohort, which launches Jan. 11, 2024, and continues through April 18, 2024, will include a $1,000 stipend. Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. If the cohort fills, a wait list will be set up. 

If selected, you’ll work in a team to identify a challenge or issue related to cybersecurity. You’ll be empowered to express your ideas, think creatively, and conduct research within a high-impact environment to identify solutions. 

Teams will use the design-thinking approach to problem-solving, which focuses on creating innovators — a human-centered method for creative action that leans heavily on empathy, observation, interviewing, and brainstorming. No previous experience with design thinking is necessary. 


As a participant, you must:

  • Follow project guidelines, support team efforts, and complete tasks on time. 
  • Be in an undergraduate program with coursework related to cybersecurity and currently taking classes at a public two- or four-year institution in Virginia.
  • Have a minimum 2.0 grade point average.
  • Attend orientation (January 11, 2024, from 5 to 7:30 pm via Zoom).
  • Attend weekly sessions (Thursdays from January 18 through April 18 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. via Zoom). 
  • Be able to attend meetings live (cameras on) and participate actively.

In addition, teams must schedule required weekly work and planning meetings.

For more information, contact INNOVATE Cyber Challenge DirectorKaren Sanzo at