Cyber Defense Lab High School Internship

A homeschool student works on creating an app with VMI’s cyber defense internship program. -VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.

A homeschool student works on creating an app with VMI’s cyber defense internship program. -VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.

LEXINGTON, Va., April 26, 2022—The Computer Information Sciences Cyber Defense Lab at Virginia Military Institute offered a paid, fully immersive high school internship program during Spring semester, provided through a grant from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI), which was matched by CyDef. Under the leadership of Computer and Information Sciences assistant professor, Dr. Mohamed Azab, the goal of the program is to provide the students a better understanding of cyber and motivate them to become cyber security leaders. The program involves a group of seven local high school students, who went through a rigorous application and vetting process to get accepted. They are from Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista, as well as a home school group. The interns have met each weekday after school from 4-6 p.m. for seven weeks. The program ends May 4. 

The interns have worked with eight VMI cadets on two projects:  

  1. Internet of Things (IOT) Box (IOT is a representation of the smart interconnected devices people use at home and work.) IOT can make life easier, but also opens the door for sophisticated and dangerous cyber-attacks. This box is filled with the interconnected devices: web camera, raspberry pi (low cost, credit-card sized computer), smart outlet and smart light bulb, Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The students learn the secrets of such networks and devices, built them by hand and attempted to hack them. The unique experience allowed the students to understand the mindset of cyber attackers as well as learning best practices to balance convenience with public and private safety and security. This project was led by Corey Jones ’22, a computer science major. 
  1. “Turnout” app designed to provide notifications with information about events to the Corps of Cadets. Students worked with cadets to learn, design and develop complete software programs. The app project was led by Cole Corson ’23, a computer science major. 

Two Virginia Tech graduate students have also participated in the program. They brought innovative tools to the internship site where students practiced hands-on experience using innovative products built for cyber security education.  


- VMI -

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