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Nina Pandya headshot
Nina Pandya

University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu student Nina Pandya is believed to be the first from Hawaiʻi to receive a national cybersecurity scholarship called the One in Tech National Cyber League (NCL) Games Scholarship. A partnership between the NCL and One in Tech, a foundation of ISACA (previously known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association), offers the scholarships to support and promote diversity within the cybersecurity industry. Pandya was one of five NCL players to be awarded a $5,000 scholarship.

Pandya expects to earn a bachelor of science in cybersecurity with a concentration in cyber operations in spring 2023 and hopes to get a job in the field after graduating. She said the scholarship is significant because it will allow her to finish her degree, while helping to minimize financial costs.

“Not only has it helped me to achieve my academic goals, but it also gave me a boost of confidence and motivation to keep persevering through any challenges that I face,” Pandya said. “I am very grateful to have received this scholarship and thankful for everyone who has been part of my journey as I enter my senior year of college.”

National Cyber League competition

Matthew Chapman, professor of computer science and cybersecurity, said Pandya is one of the program’s top cyber competitors.

This is really groundbreaking for cyber student scholarship opportunities.
—Matthew Chapman

“This scholarship is particularly exciting, as it is directly linked to performance in the National Cyber League competition,” Chapman said. “This is really groundbreaking for cyber student scholarship opportunities, and we are quite proud of Nina for earning this honor and scholarship money.”

The NCL is a biannual cybersecurity competition. According to NCL, a growing population—more than 13,000 students of all ages, representing more than 650 colleges and high schools across the U.S.—participates each year. Applications are being accepted September 26 through October 24, for a new round of scholarships in which 10 NCL players will each receive a $5,000 award.

In addition to the monetary award, Pandya will also receive a “career-building bundle,” which includes a free one-year ISACA student membership, free virtual registration for one ISACA conference, one free ISACA course, and participation as a mentee in ISACA’s mentorship program.

“There are so many people in the United States studying cybersecurity, and to receive this scholarship made me feel really grateful to be a part of the cybersecurity program at UH West Oʻahu and to have such talented teachers and professors throughout my journey,” Pandya said.

Read more in Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.

—By Zenaida Serrano Arvman

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