Cadet Elizabeth Spoehel to train as cyber-warrior with U.S. Dept. of Defense
Citadel’s NSA/Homeland Security academic excellence designation leads to scholarship and job
She entered The Citadel with the goal of developing a career working to defend the U.S. in cyberspace and that is exactly what Cadet Elizabeth Spoehel will be doing when she graduates in a couple of years. Spoehel is a sophomore from Florida majoring in computer science. She was recently selected to receive the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship, meaning that the remainder of her studies at The Citadel will be funded by the Department of Defense. Additionally, upon graduating in May of 2020, Spoehel will move to Patuxent River, Maryland, to work with the Dept. of Defense Space and Naval Warfare Center (SPAWAR).
“I believe that expanding our nation’s expertise in cybersecurity is critical to safeguard the growing information being conveyed and stored electronically as technology continues to advance,” said Spoehel. “It is a privilege and an honor to be selected for the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and rewarding to know where I’ll be headed after graduation.”
After graduation, the award requires Spoehel to receive security clearance prior to moving the Maryland to begin her work as a civilian employee at SPAWAR.
The notification letter sent to Spoehel read:
Congratulations for having met the high standards required for participation in this program. The knowledge and skills you will acquire over the course of your studies will provide you the potential to play an important role in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure.
“This excellent scholarship and career opportunity is one of the benefits of The Citadel’s National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Only students who have demonstrated potential for academic success from designated colleges and universities can apply,” said Professor Shankar Banik, head of The Citadel’s NSA/DHS CAE cyber defense education program. Banik, who is also The Citadel graduate program director of computer science, co-director for Citadel Center for Cyber, Intelligence and Security Studies and a network security researcher, will oversee Spoehel’s work while she is a cadet.
Spoehel says her interest in computer science was sparked early on in elementary school. “We all took computer classes a couple times a week. In those classes we learned HTML programming as well as a little bit about robotics. I was amazed and very interested in what I was learning as it was so logical and had a kind of beauty about it.”
Spoehel is originally from Florida, but also lived in McLean, Virginia. She attended high school at The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut.