Congratulations to INSF's 2021 Scholarship Recipients!

Congratulations to INSF's 2021 Scholarship Recipients!

Congratulations to INSF’s 2021 Scholarship Recipients!

The Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF), the philanthropic arm of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, has announced the recipients of its Investing in the Future of the IC Workforce undergraduate and graduate scholarships. Four outstanding students pursuing careers in intelligence and national security have been awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships.

"It is a privilege to support these exceptional students," said INSA/INSF President Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg. "They demonstrated leadership and character in their submissions, as well as a common desire to make a difference. On behalf of the INSA Foundation Board of Trustees, we are honored to help these students on their journey to rewarding and challenging careers in the intelligence and national security community."

Recipients were selected based on academic performance, leadership, and commitment to the national security mission. Two of the awards were for students from underrepresented minority groups while the other two awards were open to all eligible students who met the award requirements.

Get to Know the Awardees

Investing in the Future of the IC Workforce Scholarship Undergraduate - Diversity 

Dakota Jennings
Native American, Undergraduate, Virginia Commonwealth University 

Submission Summary: Dakota is currently a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University where he is pursuing a double major in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness and Applied Psychology. He has excelled academically. Dakota has a 4.0 GPA and significant experience with data scrubbing, coding, and analysis. Although still in college, he has already made an impact in the intelligence and national security space. Dakota became a member of the ROTC his freshman year and is on track to work in military intelligence upon graduation. His commitment to solving complex problems and searching for the truth bode well for his future in the national security space.

Notes Dakota, "I am passionate about serving my community and nation in every way I can. In looking for a career, I look not only for a way to serve myself but also to serve those around me and my nation...intelligence offers a dynamic field to do just that while also providing an intriguing and rewarding career field."

Investing in the Future of the IC Workforce Scholarship Graduate - Diversity 

Trishi Malhotra
Indian American, Graduate Student, George Washington University


Submission summary: Trishi is a master’s candidate at George Washington University pursuing a degree in Homeland Security Her sparkling academic record­­­­- including a 4.0 GPA-demonstrates her passion for national security issues. While impressive, it is her life story that truly sets her apart. Trishi spent part of her childhood in India until terrorism fears prompted her family to move to the United States. As she recounts, "As a little girl, I witnessed innocent people, including family, become victims of trauma, injuries and loss due to unabated violence. This early confrontation with war imparted upon me a special and profound appreciation for the security and freedom afforded to Americans."

As an adult, she assists human trafficking victim service agencies and hopes to eventually help safeguard citizens from national and international terrorism threats. This experience, combined with her academic record, demonstrate Trishi's professionalism and deep commitment to the U.S. national security mission.

Investing in the Future of the IC Workforce Scholarship Undergraduate 

Shawn Rostker
Undergraduate, University of California San Diego

Submission summary: A junior at the University of California San Diego, Shawn is pursuing a degree in International Relations. As indicated by his 3.96 GPA, Shawn has an exceptional academic record and has developed a nuanced understanding of the complex national security landscape.

Aside from his studies, Shawn has consistently taken the initiative to prepare himself for a career in the intelligence and defense fields. His participation in the National Security Innovation Network’s Hacking for Defense program is a perfect example of his curiosity about national security and dedication to the mission. As Shawn said, " excites me to think that I could analyze a collection of disjointed intel to produce an integrative product that could help decisionmakers make more informed judgements about real-world threats. I can think of nothing more thrilling and rewarding than being involved in the assessment of critical threats and responsible for providing strategic analysis central to furthering U.S. national security objectives."

Investing in the Future of the IC Workforce Scholarship - Graduate

Mathias Mesich
Graduate Student, Texas A&M University

Submission summary: Mathias is a master’s candidate at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Services pursuing a degree in International Affairs with concentrations in intelligence and cybersecurity. His 4.0 GPA highlights his tireless work ethic. Mathias has developed an impressive background in Russian language studies and cybersecurity, two vital skills for the national security community. Said Mathias, "[as an undergrad] I chose to double minor in Russian and Cybersecurity to gain a relevant technical skillset. Equally important during this time was my international travels. I had the opportunity to work in London UK for one summer and study in St. Petersburg, Russia the next. Both experiences provided me with a global perspective and comfort in working with individuals from different languages and cultural backgrounds."

As a new American citizen, Mathias has demonstrated his calling for public service and his desire to leverage his knowledge and skills in the national security community.

In total, the Foundation received more than 70 scholarship applications from students across the United States.  Noted Ms. Wilson- Heckenberg "we had an overwhelming number of applicants and I was delighted to see the passion and dedication these students bring to their education and the U.S. national security mission."

For information on the scholarship fund, including details on how to donate, please visit

Peggy O'Connor


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