SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship Program
About the WISF Scholarship
The purpose of the SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship program is to further educational opportunities for the widest spectrum of people and empower all to join the SIA Women in Security Forum and thrive in the security industry. Through this scholarship – open to all SIA members and student members – each recipient will be awarded funds to use toward approved degree programs, continuing education, repayment of student loans and professional development programs (e.g. training courses, certifications and conferences). In 2022, $70,000 in scholarships were awarded.
Applications for the 2023 WISF Scholarship are now closed. Stay tuned for details on next year's scholarship!
- Multiple scholarships worth $7,500 each can be used toward registration for industry education or certification programs, conferences or webinars; tuition for accredited education programs related to the security industry; and/or repayment of student loan debt
- Open to SIA student members and members of SIA's Women in Security Forum who are employees of SIA member companies
Thanks to our 2023 Scholarship Donors!
Thanks to Our Scholarship Committee!
Each year, the SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship honorees are selected with the help of SIA’s Women in Security Forum Scholarship Subcommittee:
- Chair: Martha Entwistle, senior manager, strategic communications, Eagle Eye Networks
- Beth Anderson, senior channel marketing manager, Allegion US
- Rebecca Bayne, president, Bayne Consulting & Search, Inc.
- Jim Black, senior director, security architect, Microsoft
- Lynn de Séve, founder and president, GSA Schedules, Inc.
- Tia Eskandari, director of service, Southwest region, Allied Universal
- Stephanie Mayes, vice president of sales, SiteOwl
- Elaine Palome, director of human resources, Americas, Axis Communications
- Kim Rahfaldt, director of media relations, AMAG Technology
- Ania Ross, director, product and technical marketing, Wesco
- Gannon Switzer, vice president of sales management consulting, Vector Firm
Scholarship funds may be leveraged for any of the following purposes:
- Registration costs for any SIA education or certification programs or conferences.
- Repayment of student loan debt.
- Tuition payments for courses that will lead to completion of accredited programs offered by trade and vocational schools or associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree programs related to the security industry.
- Registration costs for other industry education and certification programs.
- Registration fees for industry webinar programs.
Each applicant must meet all relevant requirements set forth below to be considered eligible as a scholarship recipient.
- Each applicant must be either 1) a Security Industry Association (SIA) student member or 2) a member of the SIA Women in Security Forum and an employee of a SIA member company.
- Each student applicant must be enrolled in an accredited program offered by a trade or vocational school or an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree program related to the security industry.
- Consistent with SIA’s goal to increase diversity within the security industry, careful consideration shall be given by the Scholarship Selection Committee to student member applicants enrolled in such curriculum offered by nationally-recognized women’s colleges and historically black colleges and universities.
- Each industry applicant must be a full-time employee of a SIA member company that is current on member dues, have worked for the employer for a minimum of six months at the time of the deadline and be in good standing within the employer organization. The designated SIA primary contact for a member company will verify eligible employees.
- Current officers, directors and key employees of SIA and the immediate families of SIA officers, directors and key employees are not eligible to receive scholarships under the program.
Each applicant must complete the application and include supporting documentation. Submit documents in 12-point font, double spaced.
- The application form completed with accurate and up-to-date information. An essay answering the following questions:
- Why have you chosen to apply for the SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship, and how will the awarded funds be used? (250 words minimum)
- How would you promote diversity within the security industry and describe how you would implement it? (500 words minimum)
- Describe what your ideal career path looks like and how you envision becoming a champion for industry diversity. (250 words minimum)
- Who inspires you today, and why? (100 words minimum)
- Two signed letters of recommendation. Please provide the name, title, email address and phone number for each reference and submit as a PDF.
- A resume.
Each applicant must submit a complete, signed application, together with all supporting documentation, including essays, references and resume, by the deadline. The completion of the application form does not create an obligation on the part of SIA to award a scholarship to the applicant.
Applications will be reviewed by a joint subcommittee of the SIA Women in Security Forum and the SIA Human Resources Committee.
scholarship selection committee
The Scholarship Selection Committee (the “Committee”) will consist of volunteers from the SIA Women in Security Forum and the SIA Human Resources Committee.
Committee members are volunteers and perform their duties without compensation, financial or otherwise. If the Committee is reviewing the application of an applicant who is an employee of the Committee member’s company, or if the Committee member is otherwise conflicted with respect to the applicant, the Committee member shall recuse himself or herself from all deliberation and voting regarding the applicant’s application.
- Only those applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and submit their completed applications and supporting documentation on or before the deadline (“qualified applications”) will be considered in the selection process.
- It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a complete and signed application, along with all the supporting documentation, which must be received on or before the deadline. The Committee accepts no responsibility for incomplete applications, applications not in proper form, lost applications or any other submissions not in compliance with these requirements or the instructions provided with the application.
- The Committee shall review each application and award points based on the applicant grading criteria set forth below. As noted above, a committee member with a conflict with respect to any applicant shall not participate in the review or grading of that applicant’s application and supporting materials.
- The scholarship award will be based on the Committee’s scores of the overall quality of the application and the scholarship essays. Applicants receiving the highest scores shall be awarded scholarships. In the case of a tie, the SIA CEO will make the final decision.
- Scholarship selection shall be made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other category protected by federal, state or local law. Conversely, an applicant will not be selected solely based on one or more of the categories identified above.
- The decision of the Committee is final and not subject to review.
- All deliberations and decisions of the Committee shall be recorded in Committee meeting minutes, which shall be drafted contemporaneously with the review and decisions of the Committee.
Application Grading Criteria
The following applicant grading criteria will be used by members of the Committee in reviewing applications and determining which applicants will be granted scholarships:
|SIA Membership||Up to 10 points|
|References and Resume||Up to 10 points|
|Essays||Up to 80 points|
|Up to 100 points|
In order to be awarded a scholarship, applicants must receive a minimum score of 75 points out of a total of 100.
Each recipient must enroll in an approved course or program within 12 months of being awarded the scholarship, and should coordinate with SIA for reimbursement of paid course or program fees. SIA will reimburse the scholarship recipient up to the value of the award upon submission to SIA of sufficient course enrollment documentation and a completed Form W-9. Payment will be made to the award recipient by ACH or wire transfer and in US funds.
If the course or program fee amount is greater than the awarded value, the recipient will be responsible for the balance. If the course or program fee amount is less than the value of the scholarship award, the recipient will have a credit, up to the total award amount, that may be available for future reimbursement of related professional development expense within the 12-month period following the award.
The scholarship recipient may be reimbursed for student loans, course tuition and entry or program attendance fees, but may not be reimbursed for study materials, travel costs or any other expenses related to approved courses or programs. In the event that a scholarship recipient is seeking to use the funds for repayment of a student loan, SIA will pay directly to the scholarship recipient up to the value of the scholarship following submission of sufficient loan documentation to SIA.
- Funding of the scholarship program is achieved through contributions by individual members of SIA and member corporate support.
- Unless specifically designated by a donor, contributions will be made toward the general scholarship fund.
- Donation levels:
- Diamond level: $10,000-19,999
- Emerald level: $5,000-9,999
- Ruby level: $1,000-4,999
- Sapphire level: ≤$999
- Donations made in excess of $20,000 annually may have the privilege of “naming” a scholarship, subject to the approval of the Scholarship Committee and the SIA Executive Committee.
Tax Deductibility Status
Your contribution to SIA, a 501(c)(6) organization, is not a tax-deductible donation; however, each company making a donation should check to see if contributions can be deducted as part of the company's own business operations deductions.
2022 SIA WISF Scholarship Honorees
Kikelomo Adegoke-Ode, Network Systems Engineer, Metro-INET Division, City of Roseville, Minnesota
Kikelomo (Kike) Adegoke-Ode is a network systems engineer with the City of Roseville’s Metro-INET division in Minnesota. She works with a vibrant team supporting the network infrastructure of 32 cities and agencies in the state's northeast metro. Keeping the networks of these critical organizations available and secure is at the core of what she does daily, and this opens doors of service to diverse professionals including enablers of local government, vendors from the private sector and public safety personnel.
Understanding the criticality of these systems, Adegoke-Ode is pursuing a master’s degree in security technologies at the University of Minnesota's Technological Leadership Institute, which will enable her to provide a holistic approach and valuable security expertise to her organization and clients. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering along with professional IT certifications as a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer.
Lily Chen, Student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Lily Chen is a student at MIT studying computer science and mathematics who is extremely excited about cybersecurity, cryptography, cryptocurrency applications and cybersecurity intelligence. Chen has diversified crypto, research and software engineering work experience in tech and finance fields. In the spirit of SIA’s Women in Security Forum, she works to empower fellow women in security and technology in the Society of Engineers and Girls Who Code.
Looking towards the future, Chen dreams of continuing her academic research career in cryptography and natural language processing and translating innovation to industry to contribute to the future landscape of crypto security.
Tia Eskandari, Director of Service, Allied Universal Technology Services
After deciding to make a career pivot after 18 years, Tia Eskandari set a goal of obtaining her PMP certification in a new industry. As the director of service at Allied Universal Technology Services, she manages a team of 20 that is responsible for executing technology service and maintenance in the southwest region.
It was after joining her current company that Eskandari learned about SIA through a colleague and joined the SIA Women in Security Forum. Shortly after obtaining her PMP, she joined PMI Los Angeles as director of mentorship. Eskandari is also an active member and mentor in the Women of Project Management community. She plans to use her scholarship to pursue additional certifications in process improvement and change management in 2023.
Sophie Faaborg-Andersen, Graduate Student, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Sophie Faaborg-Andersen is a Master in Public Policy candidate at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Prior to graduate school, Faaborg-Andersen spent five years at The MITRE Corporation’s National Security Engineering Center as a technical intelligence analyst focusing on topics related to strategic competition and applied artificial intelligence. Her research interests include open-source intelligence, military applications of emerging technologies and national security policy.
Faaborg-Andersen received a B.S. in science, technology and international affairs from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2018. She speaks Danish, French and Spanish.
Sydney Freeman, Senior Communications Specialist, ADT
Sydney Freeman is a senior communications specialist at ADT and has been part of the ADT corporate communications team for more than three years. She focuses on internal and external communications for the Mobile Security and Health divisions of ADT, where she executes product and partnership announcements and develops stories around innovation, leadership and culture.
Freeman holds a B.A. in communications from Boston College.
Kathryn Maly, Supply Chain Process Engineer, BCD
Kathryn Maly is a supply chain process engineer at BCD, where she started as a summer intern during college. She acts as an administrator for their ERP system and serves as a quality management representative for BCD’s continuous improvement initiatives. As a Six Sigma black belt, she enjoys solving complex problems and analyzing opportunities for growth.
Maly graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in industrial engineering technology and is currently an MBA student at Loyola University Chicago, where she plans to use the scholarship funds for tuition. Outside of work, she established the Walter Boughton Foundation with her sister to raise money for ALS in honor of her grandfather.
Taylor Scala, Student, Lynn University; Intern, Axis Communications
Taylor Scala is a student athlete at Lynn University majoring in cybersecurity. In May 2022, she became an intern at Axis Communications, and it grew her passion for technology and security even more.
Scala will graduate in the spring of 2023 with her bachelor's degree, but before that her main goal is to get together study groups at Lynn and her neighboring school Florida Atlantic University in order to create a diverse community and help each other learn and grow in security. She wishes to network the importance of security and let more students know that anyone can be in this field.