ESET Announces Winners of 2020 Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship Awards

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SAN DIEGO, Sept. 1, 2020ESET, a global leader in cybersecurity, today announced the winners of the fifth annual ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship. Designed to help address the underrepresentation of women in the cybersecurity field, the $5,000 scholarships ($20,000 total) were granted to four outstanding women studying information security.

The 2020 winners are:

Anwar Abu-Shayed of Yonkers, N.Y. A third-year student at Mercy College in New York, Abu-Shayed is majoring in cybersecurity with the goal of establishing a career in cyber governance and risk operations. A first-generation Palestinian and Puerto Rican American, Abu-Shayed was vice president and web manager for the Women in Cybersecurity chapter at Westchester Community College’s Alpha Beta Gamma Honor Society Organization and an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, and has been on the President’s List and Dean’s List multiple times.

“I have always had an interest in computer technology, and I change my operating system more than I would change my wallpaper on my desktop” said Abu-Shayed. “I am currently a risk analyst for a bank, and I want to be fluent in all things related to auditing and compliance — including learning how to properly mitigate issues and assess residual risks. As I look to become a well-rounded cybersecurity professional and to get my master's degree, this scholarship will help me to achieve my goals.”

Maria Bolaños of Fresno, Texas. A second-year student at the University of Houston, Bolanos is studying to become an information security specialist. This summer, she worked as a volunteer teaching youth from underserved communities how to code. Later she was promoted to become the director of educational programs of the Black Cybersecurity Association, hosting a virtual summer camp for kids interested in coding while being exposed to careers within technology and cybersecurity.

“Growing up, my family members never imagined that I would ever be interested in tech or even consider obtaining a career in it,” said Bolanos. “However, cybersecurity is a passion of mine, and every single day of my life, I have my personal and professional goals in the back of my mind. This scholarship with ESET pushes me closer to the future I imagine for myself. No one expected me, as a Latina who comes from a low-income background, to thrive in any field, especially in a field like cybersecurity, and I will do everything in my power to prove to myself that I belong here.”

Annabelle Klosterman of Brandon, S.D. Klosterman is a first-year student at Dakota State University, where she is majoring in cyber operations. With hopes of becoming a leader in the cybersecurity field, Klosterman spends her free time mentoring youth in her community to understand the importance of staying safe online. Additionally, she has competed in the CyberPatriot program, in which her team earned a spot at the national finals competition two years in a row. She has also won numerous awards and honors, including from the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the United States Air Force Auxiliary.

"I aspire to be a leader in the cybersecurity field and want to empower others to have an impact on the safety of our country’s future. With the constant change of technology, it can be challenging to keep up with each new development, but the requirement for cybersecurity won’t go away. My goal is to be in a position that changes the way people view and handle security, for their protection and safety, and the benefit of everyone."

Jessica Lam, UCSD Lam, a second-year student at the University of California, San Diego where she is majoring in computer science. Lam currently leads the membership committee for UCSD’s cybersecurity division of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter and is a member of CyberDEI and Women in Cybersecurity. Lam has won several awards placing first in the Secure Code Warriors competition hosted by Women in Cyber Security Silicon Valley and earning fourth place in the New York edition.

“I now attend university as a computer science major and give back to the community by teaching my peers. I learned the basics of cybersecurity and eventually became one of my high school’s 5 CyberPatriot Team Captains. Now, I am a part of the cybersecurity student organization at my university and, as a part of our membership committee, I make it my mission to create a welcoming and comfortable community to give others resources and support in their cybersecurity journeys.”

The ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship is one of the many initiatives ESET supports to increase diversity in the workplace and in cybersecurity. ESET also helps host the annual Cyber Boot Camp and supports a number of philanthropic organizations including Girls Inc., Promises2Kids, Feeding San Diego and more.

“After a rigorous selection process from a pool of highly qualified applicants, we are pleased to announce that four outstanding students have won this year’s ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship award,” said Celeste Blodgett, vice president of human resources at ESET. “As threats to cybersecurity continue to grow, the field is in need of talented individuals with a passion for safeguarding our networks from both everyday bad actors and global cyber threats. It’s rewarding to see that more women are becoming interested in cybersecurity, and we are confident that the four winners of this year’s award have a promising road in the cybersecurity field ahead of them.”

About the ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship

The ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship was launched in 2016 to help support and encourage women who aspire to have a career in information security. Applicants must be a female enrolled in or accepted to an accredited undergraduate or graduate program in the United States with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. In 2016, applicants were asked to complete a two-part essay and include a letter of recommendation. Judging was conducted by the ESET Scholarship Selection Committee. More information on the qualifying process can be found here.

About ESET

For 30 years, ESET has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide. With solutions ranging from endpoint and mobile security to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give consumers and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology. ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company. Backed by R&D centers worldwide, ESET has become the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100 awards, identifying every single "in-the-wild" malware without interruption since 2003. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.