(NOTE: "Some testimonials are anonymous because of agency policies about identifying current and past employees in sensitive positions.")

Success Stories



Anna Agnes (2021 Master of Security Policy Studies)

I am incredibly thankful to have been a recipient of the U.S. Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship Program (DoD CySP) through the George Washington University. Because of this scholarship opportunity, I was able to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Security Policy Studies with a concentration in Cyber and Technology through the Elliott School of International Affairs. This program allowed me to take very niche classes in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies, and international affairs to further my skills and knowledge in the policy field as related to these important topics. Additionally, I also got to take Professor Patrick Kelly's course with other students in my scholarship cohort who I would now consider friends. This is a class I would never have gotten to take otherwise. I got to learn more technical complexities than I would have in my more policy-oriented program thanks to Professor Kelly's class. I also got to participate in the National Cyber League (NCL) Competition, which was a very worthwhile experience to learn new techniques and put them to the test. Not only is Professor Kelly an alum of the SFS program himself, but he is also a very knowledgeable practitioner with a huge professional network he was always willing to connect us to, making the class even that much better. Because of the scholarship program, I was able to get my foot in the door at federal government agencies for exciting jobs. I have found that many federal government employers are very familiar with the DoD CySP and SFS programs as they both have phenomenal reputations thanks to the high-caliber scholars that graduate from these programs and go off to work for the federal government. I cannot recommend this scholarship program enough. Your fellow students, professors, staff, and alumni of the program are exceptional people who are there to support you and want to help you succeed. I strongly encourage any students in cyber-related programs at the George Washington University to apply to be part of this amazing opportunity. 


Anonymous (2016 Bachelor in International Affairs)

Image of Man in SuitThe CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program has been hugely influential in my academic and professional life. As an International Affairs major, it has allowed me to take Computer Science courses I would otherwise be considered unqualified to take; these courses have helped me develop and hone critical technical skills. Additionally, the seminar provides excellent opportunities for mentorship by alumni, leadership, networking with excellent guest speakers, and camaraderie with driven and capable students. As an SFS scholar, I have received opportunities to travel abroad for conferences that combine both my focuses of International Affairs and Cybersecurity. Additionally, the scholarship that comes along with the SFS program has allowed me to put a significant focus on research and independent learning, rather than having to scramble to cover the high cost of studying and living in DC. Professionally the SFS program has opened many doors through the direct hire authority the program has received, as well as the prestige and recognition of the SFS program within government. I would not have my current position without the SFS program. I have learned many valuable skills through the program, and consider applying to SFS to be the best decision I have made for my professional career while in college.  

Anonymous (MS in Cybersecurity in Computer Science 2018)

GWU CyberCorps student background of educational diversity is what makes the program unique. This diversity creates a robust and complete picture of complex cybersecurity issues. Cybersecurity is a unique interdisciplinary field and the diversity of the GWU CyberCorps program allows for students to learn from one another - providing a fuller and more complete understanding. 

Tyshemia Robinson (2013 Master of Information Systems Technology Management)

Tyshemia Robinson"The Scholarship for Service (SFS) program offered by George Washington University was a tremendous blessing for me. After more than ten years in the workforce, I finally decided to pursue my Masters degree. My acceptance into the SFS program came at the perfect time. Not only did the scholarship provide financial support so I could focus on school full time, but it also supplemented my information technology background with a great introduction to the cyber security field. The SFS program helped to guide my job search efforts and it served as a great resource for various job opportunities.

My participation in the SFS program proved to be an asset during my job search because so many government agencies are familiar with the program and they feel strongly about the caliber of the graduates that the program supports. As an SFS student, I was accepted to a highly competitive summer internship program within the federal government. The classroom assignments and educational experiences created by the program equipped me with impressive answers to the questions posed by my interviewers. I was able to continue working with the same agency that sponsored me for my internship after graduation and I am certain the SFS program played a key role in my successful transition into the federal government workforce."

Patrick J. Kelly (2008 Master of Public Policy)

Patrick Kelly"The Scholarship for Service (SFS) program at George Washington University gave me the education and experience I needed to make a difference in the computer security and information assurance field. The ample lab time taught me how to apply what I had learned in the classroom and the experienced faculty provided me with invaluable feedback, allowing me to hone my skills. The GW SFS program is uniquely situated in our nation's capital and SFS faculty went above and beyond in ensuring that our curriculum was supplemented by opportunities to interact with leaders in the field. The networking opportunities provided were not only essential in securing a dream job post-graduation, but helped me to build working relationships that I have carried into my government service.

The SFS program and its graduates have gained an impressive reputation with employers. As an SFS graduate, a plethora of doors have been opened to me. I received a number of offers after graduation, including an offer from my first choice agency, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where I had previously interned during the SFS program. Due to my status as an SFS graduate, after passing the CISSP exam, I was considered for and appointed to a position on the (ISC)2 Government Advisory Board for Cyber Security to represent the views of the young professionals in our field. My participation in the SFS program not only helped me to secure my current positions, but also gave me the tools necessary to excel and make a meaningful contribution in the field."

Melinda Dade (2007 Bachelor in Information Systems [Marymount University, SFS program taken at GW])

Melinda Dade"The Scholarship for Service (SFS) program is an invaluable asset to both our federal and state government. With the rapid change of technology and interconnectivity, the need for securing our data and networks has grown tremendously. This growth is continuing faster than we are able to build and fill positions with qualified professionals. Upon graduation from the SFS program, I thoroughly enjoyed my federal government career, filled with forensic investigation and vulnerability analysis of software and hardware systems.  However, after seven and a half years in the Washington D.C. area, it was time to move our family to the great state of Texas.  

As I searched for my next career move, the core of what SFS instilled in me, service to our public sector, guided me to continue in service at the state government level.  I have held an Information Security Analyst role at the Texas Education Agency for the past two and a half years, and enjoy the unique challenges I face every day.  My transition was not an easy one, as my course shifted from a well-traveled road, to uncharted territory.   However, I believe that SFS was implemented for such a time as this, and I plan to do my part to make the most impact that I can.  With that, I invite those with a desire to serve the public and give our data the best chance at security, to  consider serving at the state government level.  We need you!"

Jonathan Poling (2007 Master of Computer Science)

Jonathan Poling"I can say, without question, that I have been extremely blessed to have been provided the opportunity to be a part of the Scholarship for Service program at The George Washington University. It was an extremely beneficial - not only did it help augment my knowledge within the field of Computer Security and Information Assurance, but it provided what other programs often do not offer - many networking opportunities that are quite critical for determining where one fits best within the government's many programs. These networking opportunities offered the ability to form the relationships necessary to get a foot in the door in the increasingly difficult arena of global security. The program's ability to offer education at such a high level of excellence paired with George Washington's central location within the heart of DC allowed for an abundance of opportunities to not only secure a job within the workforce of my choosing but also to become successful much earlier on in my life than I could have done otherwise.
I have no hesitation in recommending this program to anyone and everyone interested in the areas of Computer Security and Information Assurance looking to be educated at, and perform on, a very high level of excellence and integrity."

Kim Lawson-Jenkins (2006 Professional Degree in Computer Science)

Kim Lawson-Jenkins"The Information Assurance Scholarship Program is an excellent example of a win/win scenario for the U.S. government and for the student. After more than 20 years of working in the telecommunication industry I entered George Washington University to acquire new skills for a career in the areas of security and privacy. I was accepted for admission to the university and had every intension of paying for my graduate degree with my own funds or with low interest loans, but I was awarded a DoD scholarship shortly before my classes began at the university.

I can say without reservation that for me, the most valuable aspects of the program are the work commitment at DoD and the extensive networking opportunities with influential scientists, executives, and policy makers in information assurance. The practical work experiences of the program perfectly complement the first class academic training received by IASP scholars. When I entered the Information Assurance Scholarship Program I had no idea if I would continue working in the federal government beyond my contractual work obligation. However, now as that day quickly approaches, I can't imagine finding work as challenging and fulfilling as I have found within the federal government and I plan to continue working in information assurance as a member the federal workforce for the rest of my career."

Kunal Johar (2006 Master of Computer Science)

Kunal Johar"The DoD Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) has been a fantastic opportunity to advance both my education and my career to levels unimaginable. The program is truly a skeleton key to open up the seemingly locked doors of opportunity. During the academic portion of the program, I was able to engage in wildly professional coursework. I took a course which spent several days with the CIA, FBI, and NY Police Department to explore how technology can be used in counter terrorism activities. Such a course brought realistic depth into how I could shape the rest of my education to solve day to day problems of those who care. Furthermore, the program gave me the funding to pursue as thorough of an education as I could handle. In addition to my undergraduate degree, with the support of my advisors I was able to complete a graduate degree as well as obtain certification in the realm of computer security.
The research, conference, internship and coursework opportunities presented by the program placed me in a favorable position once I entered the work force at age 21. As an entry level employee I was able to produce and be recognized for producing on the same level as team leads and managers. Within the first year of employment I was being assigned to projects directly by senior leadership. I have learned from my counterparts in private industry that such exposure is unheard of. The good opportunities then led to great opportunities. Recognition from above helped put me in a position to choose exciting projects to work on. I was able to land an assignment working for NATO in Brussels, Belgium where I was able to draft and steer multi-national policies that have had immediate impact for troops on the ground.

I feel honored to have gone through such a program. I couldn't be where I am now without the foundations I acquired through the process. Greater than the significance of my story is the fact that my story is far from unique. Throughout the ranks of the DoD there are a handful of IASP and SFS students each working on a set of exciting projects and each being recognized for their hard work. I am very fortunate to have the IASP be my first step to the rest of my career."

Quynh Dang (2005 Master of Computer Science)

Quynh Dang"The scholarship I received from this SFS program was the greatest opportunity I have had in my life. I emigrated from Vietnam in 1997, and became a citizen in 2003. Five days after I was granted the citizenship, I had my first interview at GW about the scholarship.

The scholarship was an amazing award to me. It gave me a great opportunity to be able to focus on studying computer security and cryptography, and to gain a lot of hand-on experience with applied cryptography and networks security. I have been a computer scientist at The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for more than 9 years now. My focus areas include applied cryptography and secure communication protocols. The scholarship was the stepping-stone for me to have this fascinating job. I am so grateful for it!

I feel that I have achieved the American dream - since I got the scholarship (and my subsequent job), I have brought several family members over (which was their dream), bought a house and other investments, and now have a very good professional foundation on which to build further."

Ari Elias-Bachrach (2004 Master of Computer Science)

Ari Elias-Bachrach"I got a masters degree at GWU in computer science through the CyberCorps program. During that time I interned for NASA in the Office of the Inspector General, and was employed there permanently upon graduation. I used my experiences and knowledge from GWU to perform IA-related audits and assessments in an effort to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities. Although I left the civil service, I currently work for the Navy Federal Credit Union as an information security engineer, tasked with finding vulnerabilities in our systems whiich would endanger the security of our member's assets.

There is no doubt in my mind that were it not for the CyberCorps and GWU I would not be where I am now. Prior to GWU I was a recent college graduate who wasn't sure where to look for a job, and was working as a Java developer in St. Louis. Although personal interest may have eventually pushed me to the field of information assurance, it would have likely taken a much longer period of time, and I would probably have never gotten into the government arena."

Joseph Mathews (2004 Master of Computer Engineering)

Joseph Mathews"Having graduated The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering, I turned down a federal employment opportunity to pursue a Master of Science degree under the Information Assurance Scholarship Program. In retrospect, this was one of the smartest decisions I've made in my life. The IASP allowed me to continue my education while broadening my skills and expertise to the information security domain, a sector badly in need of talented professionals.
The IASP placed me at the Center for High Assurance Computer Systems at the US Naval Research Laboratory, under the area of network security research. After five years on the job, I now manage Advanced Capabilities Research, Development, Testing & Engineering for the US Navy.
Under this role, I have had the privilege of engineering and securing critical systems that enable warfighters to take the fight from the kinetic to information domains. I have worked with the many of the brave men and women serving their country while keeping the Navy on the cutting edge of information technology."


Success Stories

Jay Kaplan (2009 Master of Science in Engineering Management)

Jay KaplanJay Kaplan was selected in 2015 as one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" in Enterprise Technology. Kaplan holds a B.S. (Computer Science, and M.S. in Engineering Management from George Washington University studying under the CyberCorps program. He is co-founder and CEO of Synack, a venture capital-backed startup focused on helping enterprises gain a "hacker" perspective of their technology footprint. The company leverages a global hacker network to uncover potential attack-vectors across enterprise organizations. As of February 2015, the young company had already raised more than $34 million in venture capital funding.

Prior to Synack, Kaplan served in multiple cyber-related capacities at the Department of Defense, including being a Senior Cyber Vulnerability Analyst at the National Security Agency where his focus was supporting counterterrorism-related intelligence operations.

More links about Jay:

Patrick Kelly (2008 Master of Public Policy)

Patrick J. Kelly has been appointed to serve on the (ISC)2 U.S. Government Advisory Board for Cyber Security. The board provides insight and advice to the (ISC)2 executive management team on government policies and programs that affect the information security profession, as well as certifications for U.S. cyber security professionals. Additionally, Mr. Kelly joined the (ISC)2 Executive Writers Bureau, where he contributes to cyber security related articles for various industry publications. He currently works for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as a Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems Analyst.

Mr. Kelly is active in Young Government Leaders and the Cyber Corps Association Board. He also volunteers with the  Partnership for Public Service's Annenberg Public Service Speakers Bureau to promote cyber security careers in the federal government at different universities around the country.

Mr. Kelly is also making contributions to curriculum development in the area of IT management and policy in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. He is currently working with the Trachtenberg School Associate Director Joseph Cordes, Professorial Lecturer Costis Toregas, and Professor Lance Hoffman in the Computer Science Department to develop a concentration in Information Management and Policy for students in the M.P.A. and M.P.P. programs.

Patrick J. Kelly, Masters of Public Policy, Concentration in Computer Security & Information Assurance, George Washington University 2008. Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems Analyst, Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Mischel Kwon (2005 Master of Computer Science)

Mischel KwonMischel Kwon is an IT executive with more than 29 years of experience ranging from application design and development, network architecture and deployment, Information Assurance policy, audit and management, technical defensive security, large wireless system security, to building organizational and national level Computer Emergency/Incident Response/Readiness Teams.

Most recently, as the Vice President of Public Sector Security for RSA Security, Ms. Kwon was responsible for leading RSA in assisting the public sector security solutions, strategies, technologies and policy.

Ms. Kwon was named the Director for the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) in June 2008 where she spearheaded the organization responsible for analyzing and reducing cyber threats and vulnerabilities in federal networks, disseminating cyber threat warning information and coordinating national incident response activities.

Kwon brings a unique blend of hands on experience, academic research and training, and a seasoned understanding of how to build operational organizations from inception. Among her successes at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), where she was Deputy Director for IT Security Staff; she built and deployed the Justice Security Operations Center (JSOC) to monitor and defend the DOJ network against cyber threats

Ms. Kwon holds a Master of Science in Computer Science and a graduate certificate in Computer Security and Information Assurance. In addition, she serves as an adjunct professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where Ms. Kwon also runs the GW Cyber Defense Lab.

Mischel Kwon, B.S., M. S., Information Technology, Marymount 2005. President of Mischel Kwon and Associates, LLC, a security consulting firm specializing in Technical Defensive Security, Security Operations and Information Assurance.

Joseph Mathews (2004 Master of Computer Engineering)

Joseph Mathews has been recognized at the Naval Research Laboratory with a Department of the Navy Information Technology Award:

NRL Information assurance researchers recognized with Department of the Navy Information Technology award