top of page

3rd Annual.

North Carolina Cybersecurity Symposium




vCISO and Chief Information Security Officer at General Informatics

Aaron is vCISO and Chief Information Security Officer of General Informatics (, an MSP & MSSP that helps make their clients more successful through technology and best practices. In his more than 15 years of work in the cybersecurity field, Aaron has gained the trust of business and technology leaders in industries including managed services, healthcare, payments, financial services, the federal government, software, energy, and defense industries.
Aaron is Co-founder of the East Tennessee Chapter of ISSA ( and Vice President of the Triangle Chapter of the Cloud Security Alliance (


PhD student at NC State

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department at NC State University and a part of the WSPR lab. I work on VR Privacy & Safety under the guidance of Dr. Anupam Das.


Founder, MyCyberExec

Adrianne George is the Founder of MyCyberExec. Ms. George spent 15 years in federal service in a variety of analytical, liaison, and managerial roles. She was most recently the Acting Deputy Cyber Executive for Analytic Integration. She previously served as the Director of Analysis for the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center. Adrianne’s other career highlights included serving as Director for Counterterrorism for the National Security Council, deploying to Afghanistan, and multiple joint duty assignments with other federal agencies. These experiences gave Adrianne an in-depth understanding about the challenges facing the public and private sectors to recruit and retain cyber talent. Through MyCyberExec, she will enable businesses to meet the growing cyber challenges and build strong security teams. She established MyCyberExec with intent to do these things a little differently as she believes cyber should be demystified. For that reason, her goal is to work with clients on approachable, authoritative, and actionable plans for their cyber needs.


Nike, Sr. Technical Program Manager

Aliyana is a Sr. Technical Program Manager in Cyberdefense with Nike with prior military experience. She is a dynamic and accomplished professional dedicated to empowering women in the field of cybersecurity. With a wealth of experience and insights, she has emerged as a trailblazer in the male-dominated industry, breaking barriers and inspiring others to follow suit. Aliyana's journey is marked by her commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, coupled with her technical expertise in cybersecurity.

Aliyana shares her experiences navigating the challenges of the cybersecurity landscape while providing invaluable insights into the unique perspectives women bring to the field. She passionately addresses the critical role women play in shaping the future of cybersecurity. With a focus on empowerment and inclusivity, she serves as a catalyst for positive change, inspiring individuals to embrace their potential and contribute to a more diverse and secure digital landscape.


Cybersecurity Specialist, The Friday Institute

Amir is a Cybersecurity Analyst at the Friday Institute's Technology Infrastructure Lab and primarily works to support the NCDPI K-12 Cybersecurity Program. His main focus is on enhancing KnowBe4 adoption across the State of North Carolina. As the project lead for the program's KnowBe4 effort, he collaborates with the team to fortify cybersecurity in K-12 school districts. Amir's pivotal role extends beyond technical duties, where he has also improved communication, planning, and strategy within the Cybersecurity Program. With a background in Psychology and Women's Gender Studies, he uniquely combines technical expertise with a passion for fostering secure and diverse communities. Amir's dedication to bridging the gap between humanities and cybersecurity makes him a valuable asset, reflecting a holistic approach to cyber hygiene. In addition to his role as a Cybersecurity Analyst, Amir's strategic insights contribute to the fortification of the state's cybersecurity posture.


Cisco Systems, Information Security Engineer

Anthea Gonzalez (an-THAY-ah GON-za-lez) is an Information Security Engineer at Cisco Systems. At Cisco, she works to help provide highly secured IT services in compliance with Government and Cisco policy requirements for Cisco's government customers. Anthea is passionate about keeping people and their data safe. She is always happy to dedicate her time to recruit and retain young talent in tech. Anthea holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology & Management and a Masters in Cyber Forensics & Security from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


University of NC at Pembroke

Brian Torres is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a focus on the Cybersecurity Track at UNC Pembroke. His academic pursuits align with research interests in Cybersecurity, cyber threat intelligence, algorithm design, and mathematics.



Chief Information Security Officer, UNC Greensboro

Casey Forrest is the Chief Information Security Officer at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Casey has more than 22 years of technology experience within the UNC System, which have included management roles in Client Support Services, Systems Administration, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Information Security.

Prior to UNC Greensboro, he served in various IT capacities at UNC School of the Arts, and most recently, as the Information Security Manager at Winston-Salem State University. Casey has held membership in several UNC System working groups and community organizations, such as UNC Shared Enterprise Application Services Committee, UNC Information Security Council, UNC Financial Systems Conference Board, and NCSECU Advisory Board. In addition, he has taught several courses in Business and Management Information Systems as an active adjunct faculty member at Salem College.

Casey earned his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and master’s degree in Business Administration from Winston-Salem State University. He received his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from North Carolina A&T State University. He also holds the CISSP certification.


"Journey into Cybersecurity" Podcast Host, The Triangle Net Founder & Cyber Risk Management Leader at CyberSaint. I connect people with opportunities in Cybersecurity

Cathy Olieslaeger founded The Triangle Net LLC with the vision of a world where cybersecurity is embedded in society’s educational and organizational practices, where social equality and meritocracy are the norm, and where all misfits are given an opportunity to reach their full potential.

The primary and most urgent objective of The Triangle Net is to fight cybercrime as a collective movement that addresses the talent gap. The Mission of The Triangle Net is to make a large-scale and immediate impact on the cybersecurity talent gap through collaboration, structural change, social engagement, and early education. The Triangle Net connects people with opportunities to learn, work and support others in cybersecurity.

To raise awareness of the endless opportunities in cybersecurity, Cathy started a podcast called Journey into Cybersecurity.

Cathy is currently employed by CyberSaint Security as their Customer Success Director, supporting organizations and cybersecurity consulting firms to strengthen and mature their cybersecurity risk management practices from a reactive compliance-driven project to a proactive forward-looking & risk-based program.

Cathy is also a founding board member of Tweens & Technology, a NC-based non-profit dedicated to early STEM education.

Cathy is an eternal student of everything cyber, currently studying for the CISSP. She completed her MBA, CISM and Security+ certifications in recent years.


Public Service Cybersecurity Lead, Accenture

Chad has over a decade of experience leading security and cyber initiatives, from sales to delivery and operations setup. His career is built on a foundation of control frameworks from his time as an IT auditor, he spent several years leading Identity and Access Management implementations, and now oversees Public Service clients for all Accenture Security offerings in NC, VA, MD, and DC. Chad works with partners and clients on his state accounts to develop and deliver cyber resilient solutions from his home base in Durham, NC.


Principal Engineer, Cisco Systems

Chris McCoy is a principal engineer in Cisco's Advanced Security Initiatives
Group (ASIG), an independent group within Cisco not part of any business entity, that evaluates products and services to identify security vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and improvements that result in more resilient and hardened offers used by our global customers. He has over 25 years of experience in the networking and security industry. He has a passion for computer security, finding flaws in mission-critical systems, and designing mitigations to thwart motivated and resourceful adversaries. He was formerly with Spirent Communications and the United States Air Force. Chris is CCIE certified in the Routing & Switching and Service Provider tracks



CEO, Devici

Chris Romeo is a leading voice and thinker in application security, threat modeling, and security champions and the CEO of Devici and General Partner at Kerr Ventures. Chris hosts the award-winning “Application Security Podcast,” “The Security Table,” and “The Threat Modeling Podcast” and is a highly rated industry speaker and trainer, featured at the RSA Conference, the AppSec Village @ DefCon, OWASP Global AppSec, ISC2 Security Congress, InfoSec World and All Day DevOps. Chris founded Security Journey, a security education company, leading to an exit in 2022. Chris was the Chief Security Advocate at Cisco, spreading security knowledge through education and champion programs. Chris has twenty-six years of security experience, holding positions across the gamut, including application security, security engineering, incident response, and various Executive roles. Chris holds the CISSP and CSSLP certifications.


Chief Information Security Officer,

Chuck Kesler is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Pendo, a venture-backed software company headquartered in Raleigh whose mission is to improve the world's experience with software. Throughout his 30+ year career, he has held a variety of leadership and technical roles in both cybersecurity and IT. Prior to joining Pendo in 2018, he served as CISO for Duke University Health System. His past experience also included managing Symantec’s Security Advisory Services consulting practice in the US. Chuck received an MBA and BS in Physics from NC State University, and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon's CISO Certificate Program. He also holds multiple security industry certifications, including the CISSP, CISM, CDPSE, and CCSK.


Deputy Assistant Director, FBI Cyber Division

Cynthia Kaiser is a Deputy Assistant Director with FBI Cyber Division, where she leads the FBI's cyber threat intelligence, cyber policy, and cyber partner engagement efforts.

Cynthia has covered cyber, technology, and counterintelligence issues for almost 20 years for the FBI, served as a PDB Briefer in two presidential administrations, and has led FBI cyber threat analysis and served as an FBI election lead since 2017. In these roles, she has reshaped FBI information sharing and collaboration with the private sector and federal, state, and local government officials to be robust, proactive, and aimed at imposing risks and consequences on malicious cyber actors.

Cynthia is also passionate about increasing diversity in cyber and tech professions. She was named a Women Tech Leader Ambassador by GovCIO in 202, a Top Government Tech Leader to Watch by WashingtonExec in 2023, and received Cyber Guild's "Warrior Award" in 2023. She holds a Master’s degree in security policy focused on science and technology and an Executive Master’s degree in leadership.

Daniel barber

Dan Barber leads Second Renaissance as Founder and President with 20 years of experience in Cybersecurity and IT leadership. As a technologist, he has led the development and operations of information systems in commercial and Federal spaces, integrated cybersecurity into DevOps environments and CI pipelines, designed the original FedRAMP baseline for cloud service providers, and authored Federal guidelines for continuous monitoring strategy. As a business executive, he has managed business portfolios that span the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice for large government IT services consulting firms.

Mr. Barber is also a member of the UNCW Faculty, teaching cybersecurity to the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. He has a Master of Science in Information and Computer Systems as well as multiple industry-recognized certifications including CISSP, PMP, CGRC, and AWS CSSA.


David's distinguished career spans over four decades, ignited by his foray into the world of information technology back in 1983. He has taken on a multitude of technical and managerial roles across diverse sectors, including the private sector, Federal government, state government, and higher education. His wealth of experience and invaluable insights garnered from these diverse domains make him a force to be reckoned with.

In 1993, David joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Novell Server Administrator for Administrative Data Processing. Over the years, he proved himself as a leader, ultimately assuming the position of Assistant Dean for Information Technology and HIPAA Security Officer for the UNC Adams School of Dentistry from 2011 to 2022. David's dedication to the University and his management of information technology professionals since 1996 are testaments to his exceptional leadership and loyalty.

Education lies at the core of David's personal journey, and his academic achievements speak volumes about his commitment to excellence. A graduate of Hampton University with a bachelor's degree in Mass Media Arts, David legitimized his technical expertise by obtaining a master's degree in Computer Networking and a Post Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance from East Carolina University. Not stopping there, he solidified his position by earning a Certified Government Chief Information Officer certificate from the UNC School of Government.

In 2022, David added two prestigious and highly respected certifications to his repertoire: the Certified Information Systems Security Professional from ISC2 and the Certified Information Security Manager from ISACA.

David's passion for continuous learning and dedication to professional associations have solidified his status as a leader. He is a member of the Epsilon Pi Tau technical honor society, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, and the Information Systems Security Association.

His affiliation with the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated exemplifies his commitment to scholarship, community and service.


Vice Provost, Digital Education & Learning Technology Applications

Dr. Donna T. Petherbridge is the Vice Provost for DELTA (Digital Education and Learning Technology Applications), having previously served as the Interim Vice Provost from April 2021 – December 2021, the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Technology Innovation from July 2017 – April 2021, and in a DELTA associate vice provost role since 2007. Donna has been part of DELTA since its formation in 2000 and has worked for NC State University since 1997.

She is actively involved with NC State University Task Forces and IT Strategic Planning endeavors and works closely with IT leaders across campus, where she facilitates strategic conversations about academic technology opportunities, challenges and is involved in planning and governance. She is a member of EDUCAUSE, regularly serving as a program proposal reviewer, and serving on the 2024 conference program committee. She is a member of the EDUCAUSE Review Advisory Committee and serves as an ELA mentor. She is a previous chair of the NC State University Council on the Status of Women and part of the team whose advocacy resulted in the first paid parental leave benefit for employees in the UNC System schools. She is co-founder of NC State’s Women in Technology interest group and co-founder of the statewide UNC CAUSE Women in Tech+ interest group.

Donna is also an Adjunct Teaching Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership, Policy & Human Development in the College of Education at NC State University, where she teaches online courses, mentors graduate students, and serves on dissertation committees. She has been an associate member of the graduate faculty since 2008. Donna has more than 25 years of experience in supporting higher education faculty members in leveraging technology to support their instructional goals, and experience teaching at the middle, high school and college level.

Donna regularly gives presentations on the future of teaching with technology, using emerging technologies and building communities in online courses, with presentations given at the Distance Learning Administration Conference, HowSpace Future of Learning panel, University of North Carolina System Digital Learning Initiatives monthly symposium, OLC Accelerate Conference, University Global Partnership Network Virtual Conference, Duke University Grand Rounds CEU series, Elon University Innovation series, the Raleigh chapter of the Association for Talent Development, UNC CAUSE, and the EDUCAUSE conference.

Donna was awarded the NC State University 2011–2012 Workforce & Human Resource Education Alumni Award for Outstanding Professional Service, has been recognized previously as an NC State Pride of the Wolfpack recipient, and was a 2019 NC State IT Community recipient of an Extraordinary Project Team Impact Award. She is also regularly recognized as an outstanding instructor via the NC State University “Thank a Teacher” program.

Donna holds a B.A. in English (Elon University), a master’s degree in Information Science (North Carolina Central University), an Ed.D. in Adult & Community College Education (North Carolina State University), and an Executive Women in Leadership Certificate from Cornell University.


North Carolina State University, Cybersecurity risk specialist and architect - "Let's build great technology & protect it together"

Doug has lead Cybersecurity and IT transformation for 30 years as a Cybersecurity architect, risk specialist, cloud, network, and systems engineer, integrator, trainer, and consultant. He has provided enterprise technology solutions for Corporations, banks, and Government organizations. This includes the State Employees Credit Union, NC Department of Revenue, NC Commerce department, and North Carolina State University. Doug is committed to top performance, technology research, secure design, & quality solutions. Doug is an advocate for data security, privacy, and everyone using technology responsibly.


PhD student at NC State

Elizabeth is a second year computer science PhD student at NC State. Her research interests are broadly in the area of software supply chain security.


IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO IBM Security - Americas, NCSU Assistant Teaching Professor

Jeff Crume is a Distinguished Engineer, Master Inventor and CTO for IBM Security Americas with more than 40 years’ experience in the IT industry. He has a PhD in Cybersecurity and serves as an Adjunct Professor at NC State University. Jeff’s YouTube videos have been viewed more than 2 million times and he is the author of a book entitled "Inside Internet Security: What Hackers Don't Want You To Know” as well as a contributing author to the "Information Security Management Handbook.” He is a member of the inaugural class of the NC State University Computer Science Alumni Hall of Fame where he has served on the school’s Strategic Advisory Board. He also serves on the editorial board for the “Information and Computer Security” research journal. He holds CISSP and ISSAP professional IT Security certifications as well as Distinguished Chief IT Architect credentials from The Open Group. Jeff lived in Beijing on assignment in 2006 and has worked with clients in 50 countries.


Founder & CEO, Stern Security

Jon Sternstein is the Founder and CEO of Stern Security (, the cyber security company behind Velocity, the cybersecurity risk quantification platform. Jon has been a lead contributor to securing a wide variety of organizations in healthcare, education, finance, legal, public utilities, and government industries. Jon is the co-author of the Cisco Press course titled “Security Penetration Testing (The Art of Hacking Series) LiveLessons”. Jon holds numerous cybersecurity certifications including GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and more. Jon Sternstein has been a featured cyber security expert on ABC News, WRAL News, Business North Carolina Magazine, ISSA Journal, PenTest Magazine, and CBS News.


Staff Application Security Engineer

As a Staff Application Security Engineer for John Deere, Josh has expertise in developing and securing cloud native web applications. His approach to security is grounded in personal relationships and a deep understanding of target systems at the code level. Josh has obtained several cloud & security certifications, published multiple challenges on the HackTheBox platform, and authored the OWASP Secure Cloud Architecture cheat sheet. He uses these experiences and his passion for cyber security to encourage secure development and a safer future for everyone online.


UNC School of Medicine IT, Deputy Chief Information Officer

Kelly Brown is the Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) at University of North Carolina School of Medicine IT and has 15+ years of progressive information technology leadership experience. She enjoys working with customers and team members to enhance the IT experience. Kelly has held several positions in the field of information technology with a background in both healthcare and academic settings. She started as an IT Intern and advanced her professional career from technical support to management and leadership roles. In her leadership roles she partners with colleagues to set the overall IT strategic direction delivering exceptional IT services.
Kelly has been a presenter for several sessions at UNC CAUSE, AAMC GIR and UNC Women in Technology. She has served on several UNC committees and a former executive board member of Ed Tech of Western New York. One of her passions is serving as a mentor for females in the IT field and has taken a lead role in several Women in Technology groups. Throughout her career Kelly was a continuous learner and 4 years ago received her Master of Business Administration in IT management from Western Governors University of North Carolina.


Senior Threat Researcher @ Proofpoint

Senior Threat Researcher at Proofpoint focused on tracking trends and patterns in financially motivated threat actor behavior, malware analysis, reverse engineering, and detection.


Cloud Security and Transformation Advisor

Ken Allen is a highly esteemed technology and cybersecurity specialist with a career spanning more than two decades across several globally recognized consulting and cybersecurity firms. His diverse experience includes roles where he has empowered businesses to strategically and tactically align technology with their business goals while maintaining a strong security posture. Currently, Ken works for Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Security Specialist, ensuring customers seamlessly integrate robust security programs to support their AWS cloud workflows. Committed to mentoring and fostering knowledge sharing, Ken presently holds the role of President for the Salt Lake City chapter of ISC2. He has a B.B.A in Information and Operations Management from Texas A&M University, coupled with an M.B.A from the University of Phoenix. Ken also has an array of highly acclaimed technical certifications such as the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional, AWS Certified Security Specialty, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Project Management Professional (PMP). Ken’s credibility in the realm of cybersecurity is well-established.


Senior Security Engineer - Cisco Systems, Inc.

Ken Taitingfong is a graduate of North Carolina State University and has been in the Cyber Security field for over 20 years. During his career, he worked for major telecommunication providers, the world's largest clinical research organization, higher education, and as a security consultant. Currently, Ken works as a security engineer at Cisco Systems for the Government Trust and Technology Services team. He enjoys volunteer work, mentoring, and meeting new people in the field.


DevSecOps Transformation

Larry Maccherone is a thought leader on DevSecOps, Agile, and Analytics.

At Comcast, Larry launched and scaled the DevSecOps Transformation program over five years. In his DevSecOps Transformation role at Contrast, he's now looking to apply what he learned to guide organizations with a framework for safely empowering development teams to take ownership of the security of their products.

Larry was a founding Director at Carnegie Mellon's CyLab, researching cybersecurity and software engineering. While there, he co-led the launch of the DHS-funded Build-Security-In initiative. Larry has also served as Principal Investigator for the NSA's Code Assessment Methodology Project which wrote the book on how to evaluate application security tools, and received the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Labs Fellow award.

Larry firmly believes in learning by doing so in his spare time, he is the author of a dozen or so open source projects one of which gets a million downloads per month.



Director of Cybersecurity Practice, NC State University

Laura Rodgers is the Director of the North Carolina Partnership for Cybersecurity Excellence (NC-PaCE) and works with the member education institutions and industry to develop programs to support cybersecurity in North Carolina. She is also the Director of Cybersecurity Practice in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, acting as the technical liaison between industry, government agencies, the Secure Computing Institute, and NC PaCE.

Prior to joining NC State, Rodgers was the Sr. Cyber Compliance Manager for the North Carolina Military Business Center, where she helped defense contractors develop cybersecurity compliance programs.

She has held a variety of positions in the defense industry, including with Lockheed Martin’s MX and Titan Missile Programs and General Dynamics Information Technology’s urban training programs.

Ms. Rodgers holds a B.S in Accounting and an MBA from Oklahoma State University. She is a certified Data Privacy and Protection Specialist and is working toward a CMMC Certified Professional certification.


Senior Director, Product & Application Security @ Dell Technologies

Dell - Sr. Director Product and Application Security

This is a panel and will need to give you the speaker photos will add in mini bios here are titles and LinkedIn links:

Dr. Lisa Bradley is a distinguished cybersecurity expert and visionary leader, currently serving as the Senior Director of Product & Application Security at Dell Technologies. With an impressive track record spanning over two decades in enterprise-class engineering and leadership, and as a major contributor to the FIRST PSIRT Services Framework she has earned her reputation as a trailblazer in the field of security and vulnerability management. In her current role she oversees Dell's Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT), Bug Bounty Program, SBOM initiative, Dependency Management, and Security Champion and Training Programs. With over a decade of PSIRT leadership including running programs at NVIDIA and IBM, she is a sought-after speaker at top tech events like FIRST, BSides, BSIMM, DerbyCon, DEF CON, and ISACA.

Outside of her professional life, Lisa enjoys quality time with her three children and participates in cybersecurity podcasts like the Security Unhappy Hour. Dr. Lisa Bradley's unwavering dedication to cybersecurity and her extensive industry experience make her a leading figure in the ever-evolving landscape of technology and cyber defense, fostering trust and innovation.


NC State University, Chief Information Security Officer

Mardecia Bell is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at North Carolina State University and has been working in the information technology field for 38+ years. She believes that appropriate security controls should follow the data wherever it lives. Mardecia has held several positions in central IT since joining the university in September 1985. These included the director of Enterprise Technology Services & Support and director of Administrative Computing Services.

Mardecia has been a presenter for several sessions at EDUCAUSE and UNC CAUSE. She was a member of the 2021 CISO Online Education Predictions Panel. She is a member of the Regulated Research Community of Practice advisory board. Mardecia is a member, and former chairperson, of the University of North Carolina Information Security Council. She leads several university committees and is proud to be a founding member of NC State’s Women In Technology Interest Group. One of her passions is serving as a mentor for female students interested in the cybersecurity field. Mardecia received her bachelor's degree in computer science from North Carolina State University.


AWS SLG Executive Govt Advisor

Maria S. Thompson is the State and Local Government Executive Government Advisor - Cybersecurity for Amazon Web Services (AWS). In this role, she brings over 20 years of experience in information technology, strategic planning, computer network defense and risk management. Prior to her role with AWS, Maria served as North Carolina’s first State Chief Risk and Security Officer.


Chief Information and Compliance Officer @ Reef Systems

Ms. Myriam Batista serves as the Chief Information and Compliance officer at Reef Systems, assisting companies to understand their security posture and comply with Federal Government requirements and Commercial frameworks (e.g. NIST SP 800-171, NIST SP 800-53, ISO 27001, CMMC, etc.).

Myriam has over 20 years of experience leading the implementation of cybersecurity and technology solutions in support of commercial customers, educational institutions, and government agencies, as well as expertise in conducting independent assessments and audits.

Myriam's credentials include Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified CMMC Assessor, CMMC Provisional Instructor, ISO Lead Auditor and Cloud Security Alliance CCSK Authorized Instructor, among others. Myriam has a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering.



Omar is an active member of the security community, where he leads several industry-wide initiatives and standard bodies. His active role helps businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants that are dedicated to increasing the security of the critical infrastructure.

Omar is the author of over 20 books and video courses; numerous white papers, articles, and security configuration guidelines and best practices. Omar is a Principal Engineer of Cisco’s Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) where he mentors and lead engineers and incident managers during the investigation and resolution of security vulnerabilities.


Deception Logic, Founder

Phillip Maddux the founder of Deception Logic and is a Staff Engineer on the Detection Engineering and Response Automation team at Compass. He has over 18 years of experience in information security, with a focus on application security in the financial services sector and with next-gen web application firewall startup Signal Sciences. Throughout his career, Phillip has been a honeypot enthusiast, which led to the creation of global honeypot network ( and founding Deception Logic – deception solutions for the enterprise. In his spare moments, he enjoys converting ideas to code and committing them to Github!


Reena Madan has been in the field of Cybersecurity practice for over five years. Her fascination for studying attack patterns motivated her to go back and further her education in Security.  She finished her second Masters in Computer Engineering and Cybersecurity in 2019 from San Jose State University. Prior to that, Reena worked in technology and engineering roles at Intel, Cisco, Verizon and AWS in Technical Marketing and Professional Services spanning Security and compliance, Threat analysis, Networking protocols, CPUs and business operations for about two decades. Reena enjoys mentoring and is a part of the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) North Carolina chapter.


Cisco Systems Supply Chain Security Architect

Samuel Cameron is the Security Architect for Cisco System’s Supply Chain. He has an experienced background in security operations, network engineering, threat intelligence, machine learning, and automating the boring stuff.


Systems Architect, Friday Institute / North Carolina State University

Samuel is a Systems Architect in the Technology Infrastructure Lab at the Friday Institute where he supports the team in all matters of cybersecurity with the purpose of improving the security posture at PSUs and Community Colleges throughout North Carolina. He serves as a leader in maintaining awareness of emerging threats, identifying new security technologies, and interfacing with various vendors used by those educational institutions. In addition, he has had a faculty appointment in the Department of Computer Science at NC State since 2005, where he teaches a variety of cybersecurity courses.


Principal Security Architect

Sandip is a principal security architect at SAP. Before SAP, Sandip was a lead info sec architect at Cisco Systems. Sandip has authored a book, holds a US patent and published papers/blogs. Sandip has CISSP, CCSP, WAPT & AWS security certifications.


PhD Candidate at NC State University

Sathvik Prasad is a PhD candidate and the lead grad student at the Security and Privacy Research Lab at NC State University. His research interest spans the area of system security and privacy, with an emphasis on developing data-driven techniques to study spam, abuse, and fraud. He currently works on developing techniques to detect and characterize robocalls.


Adjunct faculty University of North Carolina Wilmington

Hossein Siadati, a computer scientist and former Google employee, currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the computer science department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Additionally, he holds the position of Senior Security Engineer at Datadog. While his primary focus is on software supply chain security, his expertise extends to various security domains, including network security, user authentication, and addressing fraud-related challenges using both technical and social methodologies. He earned his PhD from New York University in 2019 and has made significant contributions to the field through multiple peer-reviewed papers presented at prestigious security conferences. Beyond his professional endeavors, Hossein takes pleasure in nature and indulges in his passion for hiking.


Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UNCW

Sima Jafarikhah is an assistant professor at the computer science department at UNCW. She got her Math Ph.D. from Tehran and her second Ph.D. in computer science from the Graduate Center of New York University. Her research and teaching interests are Cryptography, software supply chain security, and blockchain technologies. Sima is passionate about her job and loves to work with her students and promote them in this field.


Sounil Yu is the creator of the Cyber Defense Matrix and the DIE Triad, which are reshaping approaches to cybersecurity. He's a Board Member of the FAIR Institute; is a visiting fellow at GMU Scalia Law School's National Security Institute; guest lectures at Carnegie Mellon; and advises many startups. Sounil previously served as the CISO at JupiterOne, CISO-in-Residence at YL Ventures and Chief Security Scientist at Bank of America. Before BofA, he helped improve information security at several Fortune 100 companies and Federal Government agencies. Sounil has over 20 granted patents and was recognized as one of the most influential people in security in 2020 by Security Magazine, Influencer of the Year in 2021 by SC Awards, a 2021 Top 10 CISO by Black Unicorn Awards, and for Lifetime Achievement in 2022 by the SANS Institute. He has an MS in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BA in Economics from Duke University.


Director, CyberSecurity Advisory

Sphurthi is an experienced information security leader and practitioner advising on strategy, and implementing solutions to improve the maturity of enterprise security programs. She leads engagements with Fortune 1000 clients to transform their program vision into strategic roadmaps and tactical projects to analyze cyber security risks affecting their environment, correlate cyber risks with business risks, and identify steps to mitigate. She motivates, empowers and energizes teams under her leadership to execute the mission while achieving their career goals. She is recognized as a strong communicator and a skilled leader with proven record of hiring and growing high-quality teams.


Principal, Olympus Infotech, LLC

A seasoned cybersecurity professional with over 20 years of experience in delivering effective cybersecurity solutions in an array of industries including government, insurance, telecommunication, banking, energy, and health. Mali, a thought technology leader with a couple of publications to his name has a deep knowledge of technologies to address complex business problems. A cybersecurity risk management and assessment specialist with a clear understanding of implementing comprehensive loss control prevention programs. Digital transformation specialist with a sound knowledge of Cloud solutions helping customers navigate the challenges of migrating to Cloud.


Steve Cobb brings more than 30 years of leadership and consulting involving IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, incident response, and cyber threat intelligence. Prior to SecurityScoreCard, Steve led Cyber Security and IT Infrastructure teams at organizations like One Source, Verizon, Microsoft, RBC, PNC Bank, and Capital One. Steve serves on several CISO boards and is a frequent presenter at conferences such as InfoSeCon, Cyber Defense Summit, and others. Steve attended UNC-CH, but left early to start his own IT and Cyber Security consulting company, and ultimately received his degree in Business from East Carolina University. Steve and his wife have two daughters and a son. Steve currently resides in the beautiful western mountains of North Carolina.


Terrence Hernandez, an Information Technology instructor at Cape Fear Community College (CFCC). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a minor in Clinical Research. He is currently pursuing a masters degree in Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington (UNCW) and is set to complete his degree in May 2024. With a unique background in military and law enforcement, Terrence seamlessly integrates academic enthusiasm and a passion for research into the fields of computer science and cybersecurity. During his studies, Terrence has served as a Graduate Assistant in Discrete Mathematics at UNCW and a Transition Math Instructor at CFCC, assisting students in developing their fundamental math skills. Terrence is also a current Research Assistant for UNCW's "Rezlab" research group for Social Engineering on the Software Supply Chain, under the supervision of Dr. Seyedhossein Siadati and Dr. Tahereh Jafarikhah. His aspiration to become an educator and researcher is inspired by the mentorship and encouragement he received from the faculty and staff at UNCW. In his spare time, he enjoys freshwater fishing and working in his shed, honing his skills in carpentry.


PhD candidate at Duke university

Yanping is a fourth-year PhD student at Duke University, advised by Prof. Kartik Nayak and Prof. Ashwin Machanavajjhala.

Student bios

Varun Madathil

Final year, Ph.D. Student, NCSU

Varun is a final-year Ph.D. student who works on problems related to anonymity and privacy on the blockchain. He is also interested in the theoretical aspects of cryptography.

Lorenzo Neil

North Carolina State University, PhD Candidate Researcher

Lorenzo Neil is a Ph.D candidate in Computer Science at North Carolina State University. Lorenzo joined the WSPR Lab in 2019 and is advised by Dr. Bradley Reaves. His broader research interests include usable security and secret management. Specifically, his current research focuses on the quality of online security advice, as well as developer secret management practices.

Abdulrahman Aldkheel

PhD candidate and Research Assistant at UNCC

Abdulrahman M. Aldkheel is a Research Assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Software and Information Systems at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA. He received his B.S. in Information Systems from King Saud University, Saudi Arabia in 2012 and his M.S. in Information Science and Technology from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA in 2017. His research is centered around the fields of human-computer interaction, conversational agents, and social computing, with the focus of developing and applying innovative technological solutions in the social sphere from an intersectional perspective.

Chibuike Okekeogbu

Graduate Research Assistant for the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach

Chibuike Okekeogbu is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach, and holds a master's degree in Physics from the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, where he is currently pursuing his PhD in Data Science and Analytics with concentration in Cybersecurity. His research interests include; Security, Quantum Computation, and Machine Learning. By combining these fields, Chibuike aims to contribute to the emerging research area of quantum machine learning. His academic journey is characterized by a commitment to advancing knowledge in these cutting-edge fields and contributing to the broader academic community.

Jason Green

PhD Student at NCAT University

Jason Green is a current PhD student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University and has a strong background in Computer Science with a focus on cybersecurity research, particularly in election and drone security, and brings over 3 years of cybersecurity experience to the table. As a researcher in the cyber space, he showcased a talent for innovation, especially in utilizing drone technology for security applications. His competitive spirit, honed through years of swimming, is complemented by a commitment to teamwork and problem-solving. Jason is dedicated to safeguarding digital environments and is well-equipped to become a future cybersecurity innovator.

Bedeabasi John

Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach

Bedeabasi John is a Cybersecurity researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach at North Carolina A&T State University. He holds a Master's degree in Information Technology from North Carolina A&T State University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Science and Technology with a focus on Information Technology at the same institution. His research interests include intrusion detection systems, fault-tolerant systems, and the security of data in transit in cloud systems. Bedeabasi John's work contributes to the advancement of cybersecurity knowledge and practices, particularly in the areas of cloud security and data protection.

Mahsa Tavasoli

Computer System Technology program , College of Science and Technology, NCA&T, Greensboro, NC, United States
MAHSA TAVASOLI holds an MSc degree in Computer Engineering from Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, Iran (2016), and a second MSc in Pack-aging from Michigan State University, Michigan, USA (2023). Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer System Technology at Agricultural and Technical University, North Carolina, USA, Mahsa specializes in machine learning (ML) and digital twins (DT). Her research interests revolve around applying ML and DT technologies to system implementations, communication network security, and privacy, with a particular focus on smart cities, including autonomous vehicles, smart healthcare, smart supply chains, and smart farming.

Abhinaya S B

PhD student at NC State

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department at NC State University and a part of the WSPR lab. I work on VR Privacy & Safety under the guidance of Dr. Anupam Das.

Brian Torres

University of NC at Pembroke

Brian Torres is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a focus on the Cybersecurity Track at UNC Pembroke. His academic pursuits align with research interests in Cybersecurity, cyber threat intelligence, algorithm design, and mathematics.

Elizabeth Lin

PhD student at NC State

Elizabeth is a second year computer science PhD student at NC State. Her research interests are broadly in the area of software supply chain security.

Yanping Zhang

PhD candidate at Duke university

Yanping is a fourth-year PhD student at Duke University, advised by Prof. Kartik Nayak and Prof. Ashwin Machanavajjhala.

K. Virgil English

PhD Student - WSPR Lab

Kelly Virgil English is a Ph.D. student of North Carolina State University in the Computer Science department under the advisement of Dr. William Enck. He joined WSPR Lab in 2021 as an M.S. student and transitioned to Ph.D. in Fall 2022. He currently works on 5G Cellular Security, focusing on cryptography and access control. Other research interests include embedded system security and memory corruption. Virgil received his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2020 and his M.S. in Computer Science from NCSU in 2022.

Sathvik Prasad

PhD Candidate at NC State University

Sathvik Prasad is a PhD candidate and the lead grad student at the Security and Privacy Research Lab at NC State University. His research interest spans the area of system security and privacy, with an emphasis on developing data-driven techniques to study spam, abuse, and fraud. He currently works on developing techniques to detect and characterize robocalls.

Brianna Phifer

NCCU '24 Senior Student

Brianna Phifer is a dedicated senior IT student specializing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at North Carolina Central University. With a profound passion for technology and a keen interest in project management, Brianna actively engages in various academic and professional opportunities to enrich her knowledge and skills in the field. Her coursework has equipped her with a solid foundation in network infrastructure, database management, cybersecurity, and other key areas of ICT. Her hands-on experience with programming languages and software development frameworks has honed her technical expertise. Beyond the classroom, Brianna is a proactive learner who seeks continuous growth and development by attending conferences, workshops, and seminars related to IT, eager to stay updated with the latest industry trends and best practices. As Brianna approaches graduation, Brianna looks forward to leveraging her education and experiences to make meaningful contributions to the IT industry. Whether pursuing a career in project management, system analysis, or another specialized role within ICT, she is committed to driving innovation and delivering results that positively impact organizations and communities.

Feyf Osman

NC Central University '26 Student

Feyf Osman is a student at North Carolina Central University, currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in cyber security. Her interests lie in cloud penetration testing and cloud architecture.

Greg Tystahl

PhD Student under Dr. William Enck and Dr. Alexandros Kapravelos

Greg Tystahl is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. Greg joined the WSPR lab in 2022 and is being co-advised by Dr. William Enck and Dr. Alex Kapravelos. He is currently focusing on software supply chain security. Before joining NCSU, Greg received his B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics in 2022 from Buena Vista University.

Mykah Stone

Student- NCCU

I am a senior and student athlete at North Carolina Central University. I am currently study Information Technology & Systems with a concentration in Cybersecurity. I plan to use the rest of my eligibility to get my second degree in Finance and later my Masters in Business.

Cole Hearld

Computer Science Student at East Carolina University

My name is Cole Hearld, I am from Charlotte NC, and I'm a Computer Science student at ECU. I have been working as a research assistant for almost 2 years now where I apply DevOps practices to research projects in Cyber Security and Medical Informatics.

Imranur Rahman

Graduate Research Assistant at WSPR lab of NCState

I started my PhD in 2022 and joined the WSPR lab in 2023. I am being advised by Dr. Laurrie Williams and currently focusing on software supply chain security. Before joining NCSU, I received my B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2018 from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Before starting my PhD, I worked at Samsung Research for 3.5 years where I developed Chromium-based mobile browser for Samsung smartphones.

Elif Sahin

MSCSIS Student University of North Carolina Wilmington

Masters student at UNCW on Computer Science & Information Systems.

Elijah Tripp

Graduate Student at UNCW - RezLab

Elijah Tripp is a graduate student at UNCW studying Computer Science and Information Systems. He holds a bachelors in Computer Science with a focus in Business. He is a researcher in the RezLab group - under the supervision of Dr. Seyedhossein Siadati and Dr. Tahereh Jafarikhah - which focuses on Social Engineering attacks on the Software Supply Chain. He is focused on the fundamental usability of software, and has focused his research on HCI in the cases of software development, cybersecurity, and virtual reality. Elijah is dedicated to education and pushing the boundaries of technology.

bottom of page