scholarships awarded to three female students to encourage young women poised to enter the cybersecurity field globally
LAS VEGAS – AUGUST 07, 2019 – Morphisec, the leader in Moving Target Defense, today announced the 2019 winners of the Morphisec Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship at Black Hat USA. Through this program, which launched in October 2017, the company offers three scholarships totaling $8,000 for female students enrolled in cybersecurity-related studies to encourage gender equality in the industry. The 2019 Women in Cybersecurity report from (ISC)² released earlier this year found that women still only make up 24% of the cybersecurity workforce.
Huirui Washington, a cybersecurity masters student at Columbus State University in Georgia, received the first-place prize of $5,000 in recognition of her exceptional commitment to cybersecurity which, she says, represents a way to serve her adopted country. For Washington, cybersecurity represents an intellectually challenging career that directly impacts the safety and well-being of society at large. “This scholarship will help me out tremendously,” said Washington. “I work two jobs and have a young child at home. I am so excited because I can apply this toward my certifications!” She is set to graduate in December 2019.
“We are very proud of Huirui Washington for receiving the top honor in the Morphisec Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship program,” added Dr. Lydia Ray, Director of the Computer Science Department at Columbus State University. “The recognition is a testament to her work ethic inside and outside the classroom, and we’re privileged to have her representing The Computer Science Department at Columbus State University as she prepares to enter the cybersecurity workforce.”
Second-place was awarded to Shira Bel Dor, a recent graduate of Tel Aviv University, in the amount of $2,000. Fascinated by STEM subjects since her childhood, Bel Dor has always been acutely aware of the lack of female representation in her hobbies and interests. “I am very grateful for Morphisec's generous scholarship,” said Bel Dor. “The scholarship will help me continue to study and research the field of information security with fewer worries.”
“The Morphisec scholarship is our way to encourage young women to contribute their ideas and perspectives to the cybersecurity industry,” said Netta Schmeidler, Morphisec’s VP of Product, who initiated the scholarship program and serves as chairperson of the scholarship committee. “This year’s submissions were all incredibly impressive and we hope to help more women each year pursue their aspirations and become pioneers in our field.”
The winners were chosen from a large pool of well-qualified applicants enrolled in an accredited four-year university or graduate program. Final determinations were made by independent judge Maria Thompson, CISSP, CRISC, ITILv3, the State Chief Risk Officer (CRO) for the State of North Carolina. Prior to transitioning into her current role, Thompson held several key security engineer positions and is a former United States Marine Corp.
“It was a difficult task to narrow the very talented field of young women down to three winners,” said Thompson. “They should all be applauded for their work and the passion that they put forth in their application essays. It touches my heart to read their testimonies — not just the winners — but all of the applications, as they became immersed in the world of cybersecurity. Furthermore, I hope the scholarship winners use the recognition as stepping stones into the industry where they can advance their careers and inspire more young women to join them.”
Learn more about the scholarship program here.