Swacina Scholarship

Colonel Kathleen Swacina Scholarship

Applications open January 1- May 1, 2024!



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 Lt. Col. Daniel Swacina, USA (Ret.). This scholarship will recognize one outstanding female college student who has shown the potential to excel in college studies in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) 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, to support the AFCEA community and to 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. 


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Must be 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. 
  • Must be 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. 
  •  Students must maintain an overall 2.8 GPA. 
  • Students must 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:

  • aerospace engineering
  • astronomy
  • biometry/biometrics
  • computer engineering
  • computer forensics science
  • computer programming
  • computer science
  • computer systems
  • cybersecurity
  • electrical engineering
  • electronics engineering
  • geospatial science
  • industrial engineering
  • information science
  • information technology
  • information resource management
  • intelligence
  • mathematics
  • mechanical engineering
  • network engineering
  • network security
  • operations research
  • physics
  • robotics engineering
  • robotics technology
  • statistics
  • strategic intelligence
  • telecommunications engineering

Application Process

A link to the online application form is posted above. 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 reach this point in her educational career. 
  • An official college transcript with completed courses and grades including grades from the Fall 2023 semester. 
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a professor in the student’s STEM major field of study. 
    • It is your responsibility to communicate with your recommenders to obtain the required letters when completing the application process.
  • 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 the deadline posted each year.

*Please include the name of the scholarship when sending supporting documents.


AFCEA Scholarships