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Student Awarded Prestigious Department of Defense Scholarship

May 24, 2022

Hayden Diaz Figueroa (B.S. ’23), an undergraduate computer science student in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, has been awarded the Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Scholarship (CySP), the fifth New York Tech student to receive it. The DoD gives the scholarship as a grant to designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) schools.

Figueroa will receive the full cost of tuition, required books and fees, and a stipend. In exchange for a full scholarship, he will perform a service obligation with the DoD as a civilian employee.

“The DoD CySP is one of the key benefits afforded to New York Tech as a designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity school by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” said Michael Nizich, Ph.D., director of the Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC). “We are very proud of Hayden, as well as of our previous awardees, who have benefited from this wonderful opportunity provided by the U.S. Government.”

Past New York Tech DoD CySP recipients are Hibah Fatima (M.S. ’18); Ryan Harran (B.S. ’20); Zachary Singleton (B.S.’20, M.S.’21); and Michael Valenzuela (B.S. ’22).

Only students at designated NCAE-C schools are permitted to apply for the scholarship. “Not only are the students paid via tuition and stipend, but they also are hired by a U.S. Government agency before they even graduate,” said Nizich.

“Through this grant and others focused on enhancing experiences and outcomes for our students, faculty, and staff in the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to providing career-ready education in high-demand areas,” said Dean Babak D. Beheshti, Ph.D. “We congratulate Hayden and thank Professor Nizich as the grant’s principal investigator.” Beheshti also acknowledged and thanked the faculty advisors who have worked with the scholarship recipients over the years, including Kiran Balagani, Ph.D., Paolo Gasti, Ph.D., and Helen Gu, Ph.D.

According to the DoD, the objectives of the scholarship program are to promote higher education in all disciplines of cybersecurity, to enhance the DoD’s ability to recruit and retain cyber and information technology specialists, to increase the number of military and civilian personnel in the DoD with this expertise, and ultimately, to enhance the nation’s cyber posture.