The University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies is honoring two of its own. Angela Orebaugh and Alan Rasmussen will receive the Adelle F. Robertson Award, given for excellence in teaching, public service or scholarship.
Orebaugh teaches cybersecurity, information technology and sustainability and Rasmussen teaches criminal justice programs in the Bachelor of Independent Studies program.
“The Adelle F. Robertson award is the highest honor that the UVA School of Continuing and Professional Studies presents and this year, we had a large pool of outstanding candidates from both the degree and certificate programs,” said Alex Hernandez, dean of the school. “This award is given in recognition of faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching and a commitment to public service, values epitomized by the life of Adelle F. Robertson, who served as dean of the University of Virginia’s Division of Continuing Education from 1978 to 1986, and whose spirit lives on in our school today.”
Rasmussen, who teaches the criminal justice program, spent a 28-year career in the Virginia Department of Corrections before becoming a suicide and substance abuse prevention specialist for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Board.
“I cannot think of a higher honor than to receive this award,” Rasmussen said. “My goal in teaching for the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program has been to do my best to support the students in their efforts to achieve their educational goals and to provide a learning experience that is consistent with the ideals of the BIS program.”
One of Rasmussen’s nominators noted his 17 years as an “outstanding professor.”
“A truly remarkable person, who is true to the creed of the SCPS: honest, professional and with the utmost integrity,” the nominator said.
Rasmussen is known for his energy and passion for teaching and how he engages with his students.
“It’s the way I involve students in the learning process through engaging classroom discussions, debates and research projects,” he said. “I encourage students to learn and use critical thinking skills through active discussion and comprehensive analysis of key issues that impact our communities and lives. The students also know that I care about them and want to help them succeed in all areas of their lives.”
He is also able to bring his real-life experiences to his classes. He worked in the Virginia Department of Corrections for 28 years, retiring in 2003 as a chief probation and parole officer. He directed local probation and parole offices in both Culpeper and Charlottesville.
“Alan is an incredible instructor who changes lives daily in both the classroom and the community,” Hernandez said. “He combines deep professional expertise and real-world experience to bring his lessons to life for our students.”
Rasmussen, who graduated from the University of Virginia in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, followed by a master’s degree in education in 1977, has taught at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies since 2002. He teaches criminal justice courses and has worked with students on independent studies on substance abuse and mental health, as well as mentoring students on capstone projects.
Like Rasmussen, Orebaugh brings practical work experience to her teaching.
Orebaugh, who is the lead faculty member for cybersecurity, informational technology and sustainability, is a Harrisonburg native who holds a master’s degree in computer science from James Madison University and a Ph.D. in information technology from George Mason University. She worked for a start-up firm in Denver that managed data centers throughout the United States, and then worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as a fellow and chief scientist. While there, Orebaugh supported both federal government and Department of Defense clients, wrote a series of best-selling technical books and provided executive leadership to several cybersecurity initiatives and emerging technology projects.
“After spending the first half of my career in industry as a cybersecurity consultant, I set the goal to spend the second half of my career in academia,” Orebaugh said. “I wanted to inspire our future leaders of the 21st-century workforce and make a difference in their lives.”
Since coming to UVA, Orebaugh has expanded the School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ cybersecurity offerings to create more opportunity for students and develop hands-on, skill-building experiences in areas employers seek.
“I created a cybersecurity pathway at SCPS that includes a high school course, an undergraduate concentration in the BIS degree and undergraduate and graduate certificates,” she said. “Within the seven courses that I developed and teach, I have created unique learning experiences, such as incorporating the Virginia Cyber Range virtual environment to provide students with hands-on experience with cybersecurity tools and a course where the students operate as a consulting firm to design a security architecture solution for real and fictitious clients. My goal, with every course I teach, is that students will finish with skills to add to their résumé and projects to talk about in interviews.”
One of Orebaugh’s nominators cited “her talent, passion and hard work equipping students for gratifying careers, and creating innovative programs that are highly relevant to SCPS’s targeted pool of applicants.”
Orebaugh was honored and surprised to be tapped for the Robertson Award.
“Seeing my students complete their degrees and certificates in cybersecurity is the best reward for what I have helped create at SCPS,” Orebaugh said. “Being selected for the Adelle F. Robertson award really helps reinforce that I am doing what I came to academia to do – inspire students and transform their lives.”
“Angela is a leading expert in cybersecurity and her work to make our digital world safer has never been more important,” Hernandez said.
In the fall, she will teach cybersecurity for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and an “Introduction to Cybersecurity” course for the Department of Computer Science in the Engineering School.
“I will be teaching all online this fall,” she said. “It is so exciting to extend my reach within UVA and work with even more amazing, talented students.”