Winners of the 2019 ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship announced

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Woman with laptop in cybersecurity

ESET a global leader in IT security, today announced the three winners of the 2019 ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship. The scholarship, which is now in its fourth year, is designed to encourage and empower women – an underrepresented segment of talent in the cybersecurity industry – to pursue a career in information security.

ESET is proud to support women in STEM-related fields and promote equality in every aspect of the workplace. 2019 saw the highest number of applicants ever for this scholarship. ESET has granted $5,000 each ($15,000 in total) to three women aspiring to a cybersecurity career.

The 2019 winners are:

  • Andrea Kim (Chicago, IL). Kim is the founder of the Chicago Cybersecurity Meetup and is pursuing her master’s degree in cybersecurity and information assurance.
  • Dominique West (Atlanta, GA). West is pursuing her master’s degree in cybersecurity and is a teacher’s assistant for the Georgia Tech Cybersecurity Program. She is on the Diversity and Inclusion Board at Cloudreach for Cultural Change.
  • Dusti Hayes (New Carlisle, OH). Hayes will be pursuing her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in fall 2019 and is a Student Ambassador in her technology-centered high school’s Cybersecurity program.

The winners had this to say about pursuing careers in cybersecurity:

Andrea Kim

"As a mobile developer, I realized that I did not learn how to make applications secure,” said Andrea Kim. “I was seeing more and more in the news about hackers and mobile apps not being safe. I didn't want to contribute to the problem by building insecure products. A leader of the Chicago chapter of the Anita Borg Institute (now called AnitaB.org) posted information about the SANS Women's Cyber Workforce Academy on their community site, so I decided to apply."

Dominique West

“As for how I became interested in the field of cybersecurity, it honestly came from a curiosity that stemmed from a credit card identity theft my mom and I had right at the same time,” said Dominique West. “A few years ago, my mother and I both had random large amounts of money charged to our cards at the same time. Both charges were for the same exact amount and for the same store, but we both had different credit cards. Thankfully, the situation was taken care of (cards and account numbers replaced), but my curiosity about how an attacker had both of our information got the best of me. I began tracking down more information – similar stores, areas, purchases – anything that could have led to a clue regarding how our information may have been taken. That curiosity to find how attackers move and how to protect yourself has led me to where I am now.”

Dusti Hayes

“Cybersecurity is such a high-demand career field, and it only continues to grow every day,” said Dusti Hayes. “The one thing that I find the most appealing in cybersecurity is that I have the opportunity to work in so many different fields as a cybersecurity major. I could decide to go into the medical field, work for the government, law enforcement, a bank, etc. There are just so many opportunities! Also, I will be a third generation going into the cybersecurity field!”

“We are so grateful to all who applied for our Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship. The candidates were beautifully diverse in their passions and backgrounds – but the best commonality was their devotion to cybersecurity and ambitions to make the world a safer place,” said Celeste Blodgett, vice president of human resources, ESET. “The selection process was difficult due to the immense talent that applied, but we are very excited for the futures of our three 2019 scholarship winners.”

The ESET Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship is one of the many initiatives ESET created to support diversity in the workplace and cybersecurity education. ESET helps host the annual Cyber Boot Camp and supports a number of philanthropic organizations including Girls Inc., Promises2Kids, MinervaTech and more.

ESET will release details for next year’s Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship in the second quarter of 2020.

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 www.eset.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.