ESET is proud to announce the winners of the Ninth Annual Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship. After a rigorous selection process, four outstanding applicants from across Canada and the United States were selected for their achievements, academic excellence, and dedication to pursuing careers in STEM fields.

The recipients of this year’s North American scholarships are Aidan Gurung and Lauren Hendley from Canada and Anna Wu and Rebecca Huang from the United States. These individuals have demonstrated promise and a strong commitment to making a positive impact in the cybersecurity industry. Through their academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and passion for STEM education, they embody the values that the Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship seeks to promote.

“ESET continues to #InspireInclusion by awarding annual scholarships to aspiring female cybersecurity professionals – acknowledging their achievements and providing resources to support their academic and professional endeavors,” said Celeste Blodgett, Vice President of Human Resources at ESET. “With so many strong candidates this year, it was difficult to pick the finalists and I’m thrilled to recognize Aidan, Lauren, Anna and Rebecca for their hard work and accomplishments. It’s clear that more women are looking for routes into cybersecurity, and these four students are great role models who represent the next wave of STEM advocates and digital defenders.”

This year, ESET awarded two scholarships of $5,000 CAD each to women in Canada and two scholarships of $10,000 USD each to women in the United States. Learn more about the winners:

Aidan Gurung, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada: Through Aidan Gurung’s experiences growing up in Nepal, she witnessed the importance of education and the need for ethical standards in technological innovation. This realization led her to pursue a degree in Education and Development Studies and engage extensively in the EdTech space. She aspires to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge, focusing on EdTech policy in Nepal, with an emphasis on cybersecurity education. She sees companies like ESET playing a crucial role in inspiring women to pursue STEM careers with a holistic understanding of technology and its ethical implications.

“By supporting students like myself who are excited to improve the technology landscape by focusing on the ethics of this space, ESET can inspire other women to take on unconventional but necessary roles in furthering STEM fields,” said Aidan.

Lauren Hendley, Carp, Ontario, Canada: Since a young age, technology has been central to Lauren Hendley’s life, influenced by her father’s industry involvement and early programming experiences. In grade 12, she co-founded her school’s first Computer Science Club and competed in CyberPatriot, solidifying her passion for cybersecurity. A co-op placement at a major Canadian hospital further ignited her interest, particularly through a project involving a virtualized server. Lauren has been accepted to the University of Ottawa for an Honours Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (COOP Program), focusing on cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence.

“It is a constant battle to prove oneself as a woman to her male counterparts,” said Lauren, “Showing women that they are necessary and capable in a male-dominated field creates a more inclusive and stronger industry that supports the safety of rapidly developing technology.”

Anna Wu, Fullerton, California, United States: Anna Wu’s passion for computer science began in second grade when she coded elementary video games using the Hopscotch app. Throughout high school, she excelled in advanced STEM classes and participated in extracurricular cybersecurity teachings and competitions, furthering her interest in computer science and cybersecurity. She is a CyberPatriot All American Award winner and two-time national champion. Her experiences at MIT Beaver Works and as a research intern at Carnegie Mellon solidified her commitment to pursuing a career in computer security at Stanford University.

“Winning this scholarship from ESET means having the support and encouragement to pursue my dreams in science and technology, proving that women can excel in a male-dominated field,” said Anna.

Rebecca Huang, Austin, Texas, United States: Rebecca Huang’s journey into cybersecurity began unexpectedly when a CyberPatriot competition poster piqued her curiosity during her junior year of high school. Despite initial doubts and challenges, she found her passion in cybersecurity, which led her to pursue a computer science degree with a concentration in cybersecurity at the University of Texas at Austin. Her experiences in Internet of Things (IoT), community clinics, and a cybersecurity internship have deepened her commitment to digital forensics and incident response, driven by the desire to help organizations during their most vulnerable moments.

“I draw inspiration from the cybersecurity community where my professor exemplified how women, too, can excel in leadership positions, and my mentor helped me overcome my imposter syndrome,” she said. “Therein lies the power of ESET to inspire and shape the next generation.”

ESET extends its heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the Ninth Annual Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship and wishes them continued success in their academic and professional pursuits.

Learn more about the Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship here.