This article is published in the June 2020 issue.

Expanding the Pipeline: Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security


Thompson“With so much of our lives moving online, and with technological applications rapidly developing and constantly shifting, understanding and addressing the security issues that arise is a critical endeavor.”

Kebra Thompson, SWSIS Scholar

The Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) program provides scholarships of up to $10,000 for women earning their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in fields related to information security. The scholarships support collegiate women working to join the growing security industry through academic funding and mentoring opportunities. Over the past eight years, SWSIS has supported more than 90 women for one to two years each and have funded more than $625,000 in scholarships, providing assistance at the formative stages of their careers.

We value diversity in our scholarship ranks, naming SWSIS Scholars from a wide range of public and private institutions of various sizes and locations. SWSIS also seeks ethnic diversity, with the 2019-20 cohort of 15 Scholars including five Hispanic Americans, one Muslim American, and four African-Americans. We welcome age diversity, typically including at least one second-career woman per year in our scholarship recipients. SWSIS alumni have gone on to positions in industry (including Google, JP Morgan, Accenture, IBM, PNC, PWC, and startups), academia (including Johns Hopkins University), government (including Los Alamos Labs, MITRE, and NSWC).

These are competitive awards selected based on an application process.  The following criteria are required for consideration:

  • Applicants must be women studying information security.
  • Scholarship recipients must be undergraduates in their junior or senior years, or in a Masters’ program. Therefore, applicants should be expecting to be in that status in the upcoming academic year.
  • Scholarships are only available to students enrolled in a US campus of a US university.
  • Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents.
  • More details can be found here: Frequently Asked Questions

Jill-Jermyn“I received a great deal of encouragement and advice from the mentors I met through my SWSIS scholarship that really helped me understand the opportunities available to me in the field. The scholarship also enabled me to attend ACSAC, which was my first time participating in a security research conference. The researchers I met there exposed me to a vast array of computer security innovation and inspired me to pursue a PhD in cyber security.

I am extremely grateful for having been selected for the SWSIS scholarship. The financial support and mentorship I received made it possible for me to further my studies in the field and helped me to clarify my long-term goals.”

Jill Jermyn, SWSIS Scholar

SWSIS has two named scholarships:

Rebecca Gurley Bace SWSIS Scholarship

The Rebecca Gurley Bace SWSIS Scholarship honors the memory of Becky Bace, a founder of the information security field. She was a major force behind building the computer misuse and detection (CMAD) community, starting in the 1990s. She has been widely recognized for her many efforts in industry and government to increase participation by women and minorities in cyber security, and to bring useful technology to market. Becky is fondly remembered by many as the “Den mother of Cyber Security.”

Parisa Tabriz PrinSWSIS Scholarship

The PrinSWSIS scholarship is awarded to a woman aspiring to work in computer security, and by her mere existence, challenging the stereotype of a cyber security professional and helping redefine what it means to be a princess. She is both a cybersecurity princess and a mentor and inspiration to others on that journey.

ACSAApplied Computer Security Associates (ACSA) founded the SWSIS scholarship program in 2011 and joined forces with CRA-WP in 2014 to lead the selection process. SWSIS scholarships have been awarded to more than 90 women studying information security. The application period is generally December 15 – February 1 each year, and the 2020 SWSIS scholars will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

For more information on the SWSIS process, you may contact