SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship Program

Women in Security Forum

Furthering Educational Opportunities and Promoting Advancement for a Diverse Security Workforce

WISF Scholarship

$80,000 in Scholarships Awarded in 2020!

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 awardee will receive at least $3,000 to use toward continuing education and professional development courses, conferences or webinars, SIA program offerings, repayment of student loan debt and/or other academic or education programs.

Help Support the WISF Scholarship Program

Help further the careers of diverse students and professionals. Learn more about donating to the 2021 WISF Scholarship Program.


  • Multiple scholarships worth at least $3,000 each 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

Important Dates

  • May 15 - June 30, 2021: Applications Open
  • Scholarships will be announced in August


Scholarship funds may be leveraged for any of the following purposes:

  • Registration costs for any SIA education or certification programs or conferences.
  • Registration costs for other industry education and certification programs.
  • 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 fees for industry webinar programs


Each applicant must meet all relevant requirements set forth below to be considered eligible as a scholarship recipient.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Each industry applicant must have at least two years of professional experience in the security industry.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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)
  2. At least two letters of recommendation. Please provide the name, title, email address and phone number for each reference.

Each applicant must submit a complete, signed application, together with all supporting documentation, including essays and one to two references, 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The decision of the Committee is final and not subject to review.
  7. 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:

Fulfilled all eligibility requirementsUp to 10 points
ReferencesUp to 10 points
EssayUp to 50 points
Applicability of the selected course(s) or prior earned study, toward stated career goal(s)Up to 30 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.

donor pROGRAM

  • 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.
  • 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.

Thanks to Our 2021 Donors!

Diamond Level

Emerald Level

Ruby Level

Sapphire Level

Scholarship Program Affiliates

2020 SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship Winners

[View the full press release here.]

Ryane Burke, Partner Marketing and Events Manager, Identiv

Ryane Burke

Ryane Burke

In her role at Identiv, Ryane Burke is responsible for all partner marketing initiatives and live and virtual events management. She joined Identiv by way of the company’s acquisition of 3VR in 2015. Prior to that, Burke worked in video game technology and financial services. She holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix and completed a professional program in graphic and web design at the University of California (UC), Berkeley.

Burke believes a focus on women elevating other women is crucial to affecting real change in the security industry – and though she applied for the SIA Women in Security Forum Scholarship in order to support her own career advancement, she is also committed to working just as hard to help her peers thrive. She will be using the scholarship funds to attend UC San Diego in the fall to study project management and plans to sit for the Project Management Professional exam upon completion of the program.

Margurie Evans, SIA Student Member; Event Security Lead, Phoenix Suns

Margurie Evans

Margurie Evans

In her role as event security lead with the Phoenix Suns, Margurie Evans is tasked with supervising physical security officers and the safety of guests during games and special events and the protection of VIPs present at Talking Stick Resort Arena. She is also an instructor in the United States Army Reserve.

Evans holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College of Missouri and is a current student at Techslayers Cybersecurity Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. She will use her scholarship to obtain certificates needed for career advancement in cybersecurity and executive protection.

Antoinette King, Key Account Manager – End User, Axis Communications

Antoinette King

Antoinette King

Antoinette King is a key account manager with a focus on end user engagements in the New York/New Jersey region. She has 20 years of experience in the security industry and began her career as a field technician responsible for the installation, design and implementation of integrated security solutions. Before joining Axis Communications, Antoinette worked for several security integrators as an outside sales account manager designing security solutions and managing projects. She is a board certified Physical Security Professional, holds an associate's degree in criminal justice and a Bachelor of Science in managing security systems and is pursuing her master's degree in cybersecurity policy and risk management.

Antoinette actively participates in many industry associations; she is a founding member of the Association of Data and Cyber Governance and an active member of ASIS International, holding positions as chair of the Hudson Valley Chapter and a member of the Women in Security (WIS) Global Council, WIS Publications Committee and WIS Strategic Alliance Committee. She is an active member of SIA's Ethics in Security Technology Working Group, Data Privacy Advisory Board and Cybersecurity Advisory Board and a member of Women in Cybersecurity.

Kavya Madhusudhan, Senior Project Engineer, Allegion

Kavya Madhusudhan

Kavya Madhusudhan

Kavya Madhusudhan has been associated with Allegion since the beginning of her career in 2013. She joined Allegion as a mechanical design engineer and has predominantly worked on value engineering of residential mechanical and electromechanical locks. In her current role, she is responsible for program managing value engineering projects for the residential product segment and leads certain strategic initiatives for the value engineering team in Bangalore, India.

Kavya holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University and a diploma in general management from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. She plans to utilize the funds from this scholarship to complete courses on business analytics offered by the Harvard School of Business.

Erin Mann, Customer Experience and Strategy Marketing Manager, Multifamily, Allegion Canada Inc.

Erin Mann

Erin Mann

Erin Mann is the customer experience and strategy marketing manager for Allegion Canada's multifamily channel. Originally based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Erin has been with Allegion in a variety of roles with increasing responsibilities since 2016. In November 2019, Erin moved to Toronto, Canada, to work for Allegion Canada Inc. with a focus on the multifamily market.

Having a passion for talent development, engagement and retention, Erin is an active member of Allegion's Young Professionals Group, a founding member of the organization's innovation group Creativity Unlocked, a member of Allegion's Network of Empowered Women and a co-chair of Allegion Canada's Engagement Group. Erin currently holds a committee seat on the SIA RISE Committee for young professionals, leading the group’s inclusion and diversity initiatives. She is also a member of the SIA Women in Security Forum. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Erin holds a B.A. in communications from DePauw University.

Daphne Navarro, SIA Student Member

Daphne Navarro

Daphne Navarro

Daphne Navarro is originally from Mexico City and grew up in Cancun. After high school, she moved to Monterrey to earn a bachelor’s degree in international business. After university graduation, Daphne moved to Bellevue, Washington, to work in international commerce. She also worked 10 years in the real estate industry, and during the financial crisis of 2008 she decided to change career paths and started working for a tech company as software tester, becoming fond of IT security. To broaden her horizons in tech, Daphne moved to Prague, Czech Republic, for a couple of years and had the chance to experience a different culture and explore the entrepreneurship side of her career. Daphne then decided to move back to Kirkland, Washington, to continue her career in tech and started working in a software company as account manager for the Latin America region, learning the importance of security in big data and getting more involved in this area of knowledge.

Daphne’s career goal is to complete five certifications in information security, finish a master’s degree in cybersecurity at the University of Washington and get more career experience so one day she can start a consulting company focused on information security to hire and mentor more women professionals from different backgrounds as well as experiences. Her hobbies are playing tennis, reading, flying, skating, coding, cooking and playing the drums.

Sheethal Rao, Mechanical Engineer, Allegion

Sheethal Rao

Sheethal Rao

Sheethal Rao is a mechanical engineer who started her career in Allegion as a graduate engineer trainee. In her role at Allegion, she is responsible for creating innovative concepts for security products using value analysis and value engineering methodologies and supporting workshops and brainstorming sessions to build a project pipeline.

Sheethal, a Certified Value Methodology Associate, graduated from the N.M.A.M. Institute of Technology in June 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. She plans to use the scholarship funds to enroll in “Design Thinking” and “Designing a Business” management courses to build competencies in the mechanical, strategic leadership and management domains and clear her education loan.

Jenna Rolfe, SIA Student Member; Junior Readiness & Security Policy Officer, Global Affairs Canada

Jenna Rolfe

Jenna Rolfe

Jenna Rolfe is a second-year student in the Infrastructure Protection and International Security (IPIS) master’s degree program at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. She is a member of the IPIS Student Association and is currently on a work term in a consular security branch at Global Affairs Canada. Prior to joining the IPIS program, Jenna worked as an environmental management system coordinator at NGF Canada Limited and led projects related to legal compliance, policy creation and monitoring and evaluation.

Jenna holds an honors bachelor’s degree in political science and international development from the University of Guelph. She will use the scholarship money for student loan repayment.

Joneka Russell, Security Officer, Allied Universal

Joneka Russell

Joneka Russell

Joneka Russell has been in her role with Allied Universal since 2019 and taken on many different tasks and duties as one of the company's top-performing security officers. Prior to her current role as lead officer and second in command on her regularly assigned shift, she attended college at Dillard University and majored in criminal justice.

Joneka is currently attending the University of New Haven, where she is working on her master’s degree in investigations. She plans on using the SIA scholarship funds to pay for her upcoming semester courses at the University of New Haven and further her education in forensic science and cybersecurity related to criminalistics, computer systems, networks and hardware.

Holly Sanson, Marketing Manager, ADT Commercial

Holly Sanson

Holly Sanson

Holly Sanson is a marketing manager with a passion for company culture and diversity. In her current role, she is responsible for the creation of cultural tools and resources including the company newsletter. She also oversees recognition programs ranging from technician to sales incentives and awards. Prior to her current role at ADT Commercial, she served as the marketing and communications manager at Advanced Cabling Systems, which merged with ADT Commercial in 2019.

Holly holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and communication from the University of Central Arkansas. She will use the scholarship funds to complete her MBA at Louisiana Tech University.

Kerri Sutherland, Human Resources Business Partner, Axis Communications

Kerri Sutherland

Kerri Sutherland

Kerri Sutherland has held the position of human resources business partner at Axis Communications since 2017. She holds a MBA with a concentration in human resource management from the University of Texas A&M and is certified as a senior professional by the Society of Human Resource Management. Kerri has over a decade of successful experience in the field, with a primary focus in hiring, employee development and employee engagement. Her human resource journey began at various international tech companies, and she currently supports the remote sales organization at Axis by recruiting and retaining top talent while safeguarding the company’s culture.

Kerri also serves as chair for Axis’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee and serves on the board of a local nonprofit humane society. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures and equally loves spending time at home with her husband and two dogs.

Rachel Wyatt-Swanson, Director of Business Development, Cherokee Nation Security & Defense



Rachel Wyatt-Swanson is an accomplished federal business development director with a special focus on capture management who has delivered several billion dollars in sales over her tenure. She serves as director of business development for Cherokee Nation Security and Defense, a highly-specialized security integrator of disparate systems. Prior to her time at Cherokee Nation, Rachel managed all federal business development for Convergint Technologies.

Rachel has been passionate about security since her time working on Capitol Hill. Rachel holds a MBA from the University of Maryland and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is excited to become more involved in the SIA Women in Security Forum.