Colonel Kathleen Swacina Scholarship


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Information stated below is in effect for the 2021-2022 school year.

This scholarship has been established to honor COL Kathleen Swacina, USA (Ret.), and her accomplishments throughout her career and her affiliation with AFCEA. The COL Kathleen Swacina Scholarship is funded by the generous donation provided by COL Kathleen Swacina and LTC Daniel Swacina, USA (Ret.). This scholarship will recognize one outstanding female college student who has shown a potential to excel in college studies in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and attends college full-time.

COL Swacina has held numerous AFCEA leadership positions at both the chapter and international level and received several AFCEA achievement awards for her service. She has been an active member of AFCEA throughout her Army career and since her retirement.

The colonel served in combat (Field Artillery) and combat support (Adjutant General) positions, as well as combat service support (Logistics). She was the first female to command the Army Reserve Personnel Command Headquarters Company; the first female to serve on the General Staff for a major Army Command as a G3/Operations Officer; and the architect of the first MPLS Cloud Network in the military.

Throughout her life, COL Swacina struggled with dyslexia and ADHD, but through hard work, determination and support, she earned two master's degrees, the first in computers and information management, and the second in strategic studies. The colonel also earned numerous certifications, including Chief Information Officer and Project Management.

This scholarship was inspired by a desire to honor COL Swacina's accomplishments, support the AFCEA community and help students who demonstrate resilience and determination when faced with adversity.

The COL Kathleen Swacina Scholarship Fund awards one female college student a $1,500 scholarship to be applied toward the student's ongoing higher-level academic education at an accredited four-year school. Community college students in their first two years are eligible if they will continue on to an accredited four-year college or university.


Applicants must be:

  1.  A member of the U.S. Armed Forces or enrolled in a ROTC program; an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; or a direct descendant of an AFCEA member or an honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces.
  2.  Enrolled as a full-time college/university student at an accredited institution attending schools in or residing in the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Alabama, including community colleges.

    • Undergraduate students must be at the sophomore or junior level. Must have completed one semester in community college (if applicable). 
    • Graduate students must have completed at least two courses but are not graduating in the current academic year.

        3.   Maintain an overall 2.8 GPA.

        4.   Major in a STEM-related area of study in support of the mission of AFCEA. 

Qualifying STEM majors related to the mission of AFCEA include: Biometry/Biometrics, Computer Engineering, Computer Forensics Science, Computer Programming, Computer Science, Computer Systems, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Geospatial Science, Information Science, Information Technology, Information Resource Management, Intelligence, Mathematics, Network Engineering, Network Security, Operations Research, Physics, Robotics Engineering, Robotics Technology, Statistics, Strategic Intelligence, and Telecommunications Engineering.

Application Process:

Applications will be accepted starting October 1, 2021. A link to the online application form is posted at the top of this page. Submissions must include the following:

  • An online application form, including short-answer questions, educational and career plans, and financial need. In addition, the applicant may also describe any challenges (i.e. personal, physical, psychological, educational) that she has had to overcome to get to this point in her educational career.
  • An official college transcript with completed courses and grades including grades from the Fall 2021 semester.
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a professor in the student’s STEM major field of study.
  • A statement explaining how the applicant meets the qualifying criteria of U.S. armed forces or AFCEA affiliation.

Completed applications, including all supporting documentation, must be submitted by November 30.