From Capitol Hill to the shores of Lake Champlain, financial support for the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity will make its way to Champlain College students and the surrounding community.

An exterior glass wall of the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity at Champlain College reveals students working diligently at computer stations.
Through innovative research projects and outreach initiatives, the Leahy Center provides credible and neutral resources and information about digital investigations and cybercrimes to the local community and beyond. Acting as a professional development hub for Champlain College students, faculty, and staff, the center is a place for the next generation of specialists and engineers to learn, grow, and hone their talents.

The Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity, a world-class laboratory for digital forensics and cybersecurity services at Champlain College, is set to receive $755,000 in federal funding from the Omnibus Appropriations bill, signed on March 15. At the request of Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the financial support will help fortify Vermont’s digital security and cultivate the next generation of cybersecurity experts at Champlain College. 

The center, established in 2010, addresses the growing technical needs of Champlain’s surrounding community with real-world, service-based learning experiences for students. Under the guidance of expert cybersecurity faculty, teams of students at the center work with small businesses and other organizations to assess organizational risks and vulnerabilities, make recommendations, and assist with implementation to improve data security.

In an increasingly digital economy—combined with frequent and severe cyberattacks that have heightened during the pandemic—organizations, institutions, and governments are more vulnerable than ever to exploitation and exposure. The Leahy Center will use these federal funds to strengthen cyber defenses for Vermont-based organizations, including municipalities, schools, nonprofits, and small businesses, to reduce the risk of cyber threats and to support the needs of local law enforcement.

“My work at The Leahy Center has prepared me for professional life in multiple ways,” said Computer Networking and Cybersecurity alumnus James Kainth ’20, whose experience at the center helped him secure an internship at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in Washington, DC, while studying at Champlain.

“We are so grateful to Senator Leahy for his long-standing support of Champlain College and his significant efforts to strengthen Vermont,” said Alex Hernandez, the school’s president-elect who will join the campus community later this spring. “This funding supports Champlain’s career-forward approach to education by expanding hands-on, experiential learning for students pursuing high-growth careers like cybersecurity. By protecting Vermont’s digital economy, and developing the state’s future workforce, Champlain can be an engine of opportunity and growth.”

The cybersecurity market—including ecommerce, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, cloud security, and more—is projected to grow from $156 billion in 2022 to $376 billion in 2029. At a 13% compound annual growth rate, the center is a hub for education and experience for the future cybersecurity workforce.

Learn more about the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity.

Kaitie Catania