A group of 12 students and four faculty members from Old Dominion University attended the 2023 Scholarship for Service (SFS) Job Fair from Jan. 11 to 13 at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort and Conference center, outside of Washington, D.C. These students represented ODU’s National Science Foundation CyberCorps© Scholarship for Service program. This was the first in-person job fair hosted by the SFS program office since 2019 and it brought together more than 700 scholarship students, faculty and staff from more than 100 NSF CyberCorps© colleges and universities to meet with dozens of federal agencies, national laboratories and other institutions.
"All the students were very engaged throughout this event, and they all demonstrated their professionalism through their ability to meet with and gain conditional offers from multiple federal agencies,” said John Costanzo, ODU SFS program manager. “This was a great opportunity for them to shine."
During the job fair, ODU students met with and discussed internship and job opportunities with multiple agencies. They also networked with other students from across the country who are also part of the SFS program.
"I enjoyed connecting with the fellow SFS students and prospective employers,” said ODU’s Jaidan Williams, who is pursuing a BS in cybersecurity. “I truly enjoyed the atmosphere, opportunities and beautiful views of the Potomac River."
Fellow Monarch Zobair Wali, who is on a BS/MS cybersecurity track, also highlighted the event’s value.
"Attending the career fair proved to be a great experience as it not only enabled me to receive multiple interviews and secure an internship offer from CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) but also to establish connections with individuals who are similarly committed to serving the public through the field of cybersecurity," he said.
Gregory Wilson, who’s also on a BS/MS cybersecurity track at ODU, said he learned from a speed networking event that the ability to communicate effectively and clearly to all stakeholders regardless of their technical background is essential to be successful in a cybersecurity career.
"This really spoke to me because in my previous career as a chef, communication of all forms was essential for the restaurants to run effectively,” he said. “Communicating technical information in a manner easily understood to stakeholders who may not have the technical background is an essential element to mission success."
Current scholarship recipients are:
- Hannah Bass – ODU, BS Cybersecurity
- Drew Brown – ODU, MS cybersecurity
- Jacen Davis – Thomas Nelson Community College transfer and current ODU student, BS cybersecurity
- Karen Etulle – Tidewater Community College transfer and current ODU student, MS cybersecurity
- Nathaly Flores – ODU, MS cybersecurity
- William Matos – ODU, MS cybersecurity
- James Read – ODU, MS cybersecurity
- Zobair Wali – ODU, BS cybersecurity
- Jaidan Williams – ODU, BS cybersecurity
- Gregory Wilson – ODU, BS cybersecurity
- Jacob Slone – Tidewater Community College (transferring to ODU In fall ’23)
- Mmoleca Ehungwe – Virginia Peninsula Community College (transferring to ODU In fall ’23)
About the scholarship: ODU’s NSF CyberCorps© SFS program is a partnership between ODU, Tidewater Community College and Virginia Peninsula Community College created in 2021 through funding from the National Science Foundation’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service initiative. The scholarship program provides selected students from the three institutions with two to three years of support. This includes a full in-state tuition scholarship, an annual stipend ranging from $25,000 (for undergraduate) to $34,000 (for graduate students) and a professional development allowance. In exchange, each student must then work for the government in select cybersecurity positions for the same number of years. Visit the ODU SFS program website for additional information and application instructions.