Margaret Leary is a professor of IT and cybersecurity at Northern Virginia Community College where she has taught for 19 years. She is the first recipient of the Dr. and Mrs. Edward Bersoff Endowed Chair Professorship at NOVA and also serves as the director, curriculum and co-PI, for the National CyberWatch Center, focused on increasing the cybersecurity workforce.
Dr. Leary’s work in cybersecurity education is supported by several federally funded grants including funding establishing NOVA as a Center of Academic Excellence National Resource Center for the National Security Agency. She was appointed as cyber faculty-in-residence to the Governor’s Office to assist with increasing the number of cybersecurity programs and Centers of Academic Excellence in Virginia, directly mentoring several other Virginia community Colleges in their pursuit of NSA CAE2Y designation.
She has served on a variety of cybersecurity-education and industry working groups including NIST’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education and has assisted developing several cybersecurity courses, the most recent being a Critical Infrastructure Security course that has been made available to community colleges across the nation. For her efforts at pioneering a cybersecurity AAS degree at NOVA that serves as a model for the Commonwealth, she was awarded in 2014 an NVCC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service to the College Award.
She is a firm believer of bringing practice into the classroom and continues to consult as a senior adviser to government agencies in the Washington, D.C. area. In this role, she served on the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee’s Industrial Internet Subcommittee that was tasked to provide recommendations to the president of the United States on securing the “internet of things.” Her doctoral research was focused on quantifying the effectiveness of knowledge-based authentication technologies used within the federal government as well as correlating the incidences of identity theft to the prevalence of online public records. She remains a strong advocate of privacy rights for individuals.