Optiv’s Annual $40,000 Scholarship for Black, African American Identifying STEM Students Now Open for Applicants


As part of its continued commitment to diversity within the cyber and information security fields, Optiv, the cyber advisory, and solutions leader, is accepting applications until January 27, 2023, for its annual $40,000 scholarship for Black, African American identifying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students.

Awarded by Optiv’s Black Employee Network, the scholarship is paid out over four years. Previous recipients include AJ McCrory, a freshman studying computer science with an emphasis on software development at James Madison University, and Lauren Harris, a sophomore studying biology and computer science at Princeton University.

Applicants must meet the following qualifications to apply: 

  • Be a graduating high school senior.
  • Verify acceptance into an eligible degree program in a STEM-related field (including but not limited to computer science, electrical engineering, math, etc.).
  • The minimum cumulative high school GPA is 3.5 on 4.0 scale.
  • Must maintain a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.8 on 4.0 scale over the course of four years to remain eligible for the scholarship.
  • Be planning a career in cybersecurity/information security.
  • Complete the scholarship application, including a one-page essay and two letters of reference.
  • Identify as Black and/or African American (African, African American, Caribbean, for example) and be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply and learn more about the scholarship program here.

“It’s our belief that our organization is at its best and our clients are better-served when a diverse range of voices has the opportunity to be heard, lead and make an impact,” said Heather Strbiak, Optiv’s chief human resources officer. “We want boardrooms and breakrooms across our industry to more closely represent the population at-large. By dedicating effort and resources to spur that outcome, we’re aiming to close the talent and diversity gap in cybersecurity.”

Optiv’s Black Employee Network (BEN) is entirely employee-driven and part of the company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative.

“The most creative, thought-provoking, and successful projects I’ve worked on have been the result of inclusive environments where everyone’s unique ideas were valued and represented,” said Tesfaye Williams, Optiv’s BEN community outreach leader. “This scholarship is our way of ensuring the cybersecurity industry continues to progress and be an attractive career path for people of color seeking to make a difference.”

Optiv honors and embraces the diverse perspectives, ideas, backgrounds, and experiences of its people. The company’s approach to DEI is grounded in listening, learning, and growing.

Looking for more scholarship opportunities for African Americans? Check out African American Scholarships which offers a resource on African American Scholarships inclusive of Top 10 scholarships, a list of scholarships, How to apply?, Grants & Fellowships, FAQs, and more resources.

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