Zachary Wood, studying information technology at Northern Virginia Community College, received a full scholarship to attend George Washington University through its CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service Program.
This fall, Wood will transfer to GW to pursue a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. The CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program is part of GW's Partnership in Securing Cyberspace through Education and Service (PISCES) program. Federal funding, provided by the National Science Foundation, provides full scholarships that include tuition, books, a stipend and a professional development allowance for students to study cybersecurity at GW for up to three years. After Wood completes his coursework, the scholarship also allows him the opportunity to help protect the nation's information infrastructure by working as a security expert in a government agency.
With aspirations of one day owning his own cybersecurity consulting business, Wood first began his journey at NOVA as the recipient of the 2014 NOVA Honors Program Scholarship - a $10,000 scholarship ($2,500 per semester) that assists students with the cost of tuition toward a NOVA degree.
The Forest Park High School graduate was instrumental in developing the NOVA-Woodbridge Honors Program, served as the P.R. liaison for the 2016 inNOVAtion hackathon committee, the first hackathon competition sponsored by NOVA. Wood also participated in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC) and as a member of thethe CyberSecurity, CyberForensics, CyberNetworking, CyberRobotics, CyberAI, and CyberGaming Association (6CA).
“My professors at the Woodbridge and Alexandria campuses helped me a lot in becoming interested in cybersecurity,” Wood said. “Taking classes at NOVA really opened my eyes to further explore the government and IT fields. I started working toward figuring out what would be the best plan to achieve my goals. Whether it was defending the federal government or private industry, I began to like the idea of being able to properly protect important data.”
Wood plans to begin at GW in the fall. Meanwhile, you can find the Woodbridge native hiking with friends, playing video games or working as a server at Bonefish Grill. No stranger to hard work, he hopes to walk in the footsteps of his number one role model, his father.
“My family and my faith motivate me to do well,” said Wood. “My dad inspired me to get into the IT field. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was follow in his footsteps. Since then, I have had the opportunity to develop my own vision of who I wanted to become in life. He is the main reason why I got into this field and why I wanted to work so hard to become successful.”
The CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service covers 100 percent of GW tuition and fees, which includes a stipend of between $22,500 and $34,000 per year for living expenses, a $4,000 annual allowance for professional development and a $2,000 allowance for textbooks. For additional information on NOVA’s Cybersecurity and IT programs visit NOVA Tech Fluent.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.