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Hear From Tia, KnowBe4's 2021 U.S. Military, Veteran, and Spouses Cybersecurity Scholarship Winner

By: KnowBe4 HR

Published: 1 Dec 2021
Last Updated: 8 Aug 2023

As part of KnowBe4's ongoing commitment to veterans and their families, we host a yearly $10,000 scholarship and (ISC)2 certification package, which is open to any United States veterans, Guard, Reserve, or their spouses who are currently pursuing a degree in cybersecurity. Today, we hear from Tia, our 2021 scholarship winner, who served in the Navy and is passionate about continuing her education in cybersecurity! With this scholarship, Tia plans to attend the SANS Masters of Science in Information Security Engineering with a special focus area in either Cloud Security or Security Management. Let's take a look a closer look at our conversation with Tia! :) 


What brought you to the cybersecurity industry?

I always joke with my friends that cybersecurity chose me. I was in the process of working through my Computer Science undergraduate degree and getting out of the Navy. I was trying to do what’s called a SkillBridge program which is a program where the military sends you to intern at a company in order to ease the transition from military to civilian life. I was looking for a software engineering-type role but the company offered me an internship in cybersecurity, something I had no experience in, not even in my degree program. Even though it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for at the time, I went for it and have loved it ever since!

What opportunities has this scholarship given you?

This scholarship has given me the opportunity to further my education in an area I’m very passionate about. I'm able to continue to save money for my son's education while simultaneously being able to pursue my own dreams in cybersecurity.

What area in cybersecurity are you most interested in?

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out for myself. I have experience in data security and cybersecurity engineering but I do wonder what the cybersecurity policy and governance side would be like. I’m hoping that the graduate program will help solidify my interests and get me the experience to pursue the area I’m most passionate about.

What interests you most about the cybersecurity industry?

What interests me about cybersecurity is the never-ending learning and changing in the field. We’re always having to adapt to new attacks, new technologies, and new ways to defend ourselves from the adversary. 

What does it mean to you to receive this scholarship?

As a veteran, this scholarship offers visibility. I feel valued to be helped to succeed post-military. With this scholarship, I am able to attend college with less financial stress, save for my son’s future, and pursue my dreams while saving for my own’s son dreams.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to one day be a manager of a cybersecurity team. I would also like to volunteer my team to help influence women trying to break into the field of cybersecurity.

What do you like to do for fun?

For fun, I love spending time with my son; he’s at the age where he’s really starting to appreciate things. I try to make the weekends fun since he goes to daycare during the week. I took him to the waterpark last month and the zoo. We went to see Christmas lights the other day. I swear the magic in the little things dies down a little as you grow up and it comes back when you see your kid freaking out over lights or seeing how big the movie theatre “tv” is for the first time!

Who inspires you?

My mom inspires me. She sacrificed so much for me and my siblings to have a good life. 

What is one of your favorite quotes and why?

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right." I believe manifestation is powerful and believing in yourself is mostly what it takes to get to where you want to be.

What advice would you give to someone applying for this scholarship?

Be yourself. Lay everything out on the table. Talk about your goals and your passions and what this scholarship can do to help you get to where you want to be.


Are you KnowBe4's next scholarship winner?


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