By Sherry DiBari

Brooke White, 20, an ODU senior cybersecurity major, minoring in criminal justice, recently won the Distinguished Young AFCEAN award from the Hampton Roads chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA).

"I was surprised and extremely honored to even be considered for such an award," White said. "When I received the announcement that I had actually been granted (the award), and the invitation to accept it at the AFCEA WEST conference in San Diego, I just about fell out of my chair."

The award recognizes and rewards exceptional performance in four areas: leadership and guidance for the Young AFCEAN program; superior technical achievement in the professional arena; a record of going "above and beyond" at the local AFCEA chapter or region level; and mentoring provided for other Young AFCEANs.

White, AFCEA's ODU chapter president, was lauded for retooling and rebooting the AFCEA presence at ODU, growing the group to over 30 members and embracing AFCEA's commitment to STEM.

Nominators also noted that White was instrumental in integrating on- and off-campus chapter events and encouraging volunteerism and service to community.

"Brooke White embodies the qualities and principles we seek in our future leaders and has my strongest endorsement for the Distinguished Young AFCEAN Award," said nominator Neil Bourassa, former president of AFCEA Hampton Roads.

Bourassa remarked on White's practice of "reverse-mentoring" with chapter officers, noting that it provided valuable insights for young people about to join the information technology and cybersecurity workforce.

"Brooke has embraced AFCEA's commitment to STEM and has incorporated those values into her personal and professional life," Bourassa said. "This is exemplified by participation in multiple intern programs, while also mentoring her classmates and underclass students."

White, who will graduate in May, plans to attend graduate school in the fall.

"I'm looking forward to taking all of my AFCEA connections and things I've learned in the last 2½ years and apply them to the rest of my career," White said. "I will certainly be a lifetime member.

"I'm proud of ODU's chapter and simply excited to have been a part of this here on campus and in the Hampton Roads/Tidewater area."

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