• Dr. Merri Sanchez, chief science and technology adviser, Air Force Space Command, presents the AFCEA War Veterans Undergraduate Scholarship, Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans, to Master Sgt. Vernon S. Thompson, USAF, at the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s May awards banquet.
     Dr. Merri Sanchez, chief science and technology adviser, Air Force Space Command, presents the AFCEA War Veterans Undergraduate Scholarship, Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans, to Master Sgt. Vernon S. Thompson, USAF, at the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s May awards banquet.
  • Lydia Oshunkentan is pursuing a Master of Science in information security.
     Lydia Oshunkentan is pursuing a Master of Science in information security.

AFCEA Scholarship Recipients Share Meaning of Their Awards

August 1, 2017

AFCEA recently celebrated several deserving and determined students, presenting them scholarships to ease their path to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These future leaders explain the significance of their awards.

AFCEA War Veterans Undergraduate Scholarships, Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans

—Master Sgt. Vernon S. Thompson, USAF, American Military University

“It was not until I was 33 years old that I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. My military career has been amazing, and I have no regrets, but I have found my passion in life. Cybersecurity was not a field I would have ever imagined getting into, but it has truly been my calling. Getting my degree in cybersecurity will open new doors and opportunities. Going back to school has also been a blessing in many ways regarding how my children see the importance of education and the need for higher education. This opportunity has provided a unique perspective for my children to see how dedication and hard work pay off. It shows them there is a balance in life between spending time with them and working on homework and work in general. My wife is currently going to school full time as well, so the level of work they see us both put into pursuing our degrees has become an instrumental life lesson.”

—Spc. Jonathan James Cervantes, USA, Western Governors University

“I have known for quite some time that I want to make a great career for myself in information technology. The only thing standing in my way was paying for an education. Winning the scholarship has given me the help I needed to pay for my education and helped open the path for me to continue working toward my goals. I am extremely grateful to have won this award, and I will do my very best to contribute anything I learn to STEM fields.”

Ralph W. Shrader Graduate Diversity Scholarships

—Lydia Oshunkentan, Lewis University

“I was elated and rendered speechless when I received the news that I was awarded the scholarship. I’m so grateful to be honored with this opportunity. It brings me one step closer to my career goal. Thank you, AFCEA, for your willingness to contribute to the pursuit of my dreams. I can now worry less about financial burdens and focus on my studies. I look forward to making an impact in the STEM field.”

—Master Sgt. Cidelia Hagan, USAF, Webster University

“I’d like to thank AFCEA for awarding me this scholarship. I intend to use it to finish my master’s in cybersecurity, where I am applying my understanding of cyberthreats and analyzing malware while improving my managerial skills. This scholarship frees up my budget and allows me to complete additional certifications in my pursuit of becoming an information systems analyst. I look forward to future partnerships with members of AFCEA, who are paving the way for women in STEM.”

Learn more about the AFCEA Educational Foundation and make a donation to help support STEM students and teachers.

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