ACES Students Attend 2024 SFS Job Fair

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In January, ACES students in the Cybercorps: Scholarship for Service program had the opportunity to attend the Scholarship for Service Job Fair held at Washington Hilton, NW. Morgan James, an ACES Minor student, graciously shared some unique experiences and insights from attending the event.


The Scholarship for Service Program

The ACES Scholarship for Service (SFS) initiative is a scholarship program designed for students who are pursuing degrees in cybersecurity or related fields. The program, funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, aims to increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the public sector and support the education and training of the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. It provides financial support for tuition and other expenses, in exchange for recipients working at government agencies or related organizations for a period equal to the length of the scholarship. The SFS program also provides many other benefits including mentoring, networking opportunities, and practical experience through internships or research projects.

 2024 SFS Job Fair 

The SFS Job Fair is a unique chance for students to not only find job opportunities but also to network with organizations and fellow students. The fair is organized with the aim to help bridge the gap between classroom theories and real-world applications. It provides students with exposure to the interview process and allows them to showcase their skills and abilities professionally. Additionally, it provides students with an opportunity to learn about various organizations, their programs, and new initiatives. 

The event serves as a valuable platform for the ACES leadership to network and expand their connections, and for students to build relationships and make connections that could potentially lead to future career opportunities.

This year, the SFS Job Fair took place from January 8-10 at the Washington Hilton featuring participation from over 70 organizations representing Federal, State, Local, and Tribal government entities. The three-day event comprised resume workshops, mock interview sessions, informational presentations by agencies, and ample networking and interview opportunities. Additionally, the fair included a grand welcome ceremony, along with organized dinners and lunches for attendees.

Morgan’s Experience at the SFS Job Fair

Morgan James, a Junior at the University of Maryland majoring in Information Science and earning his ACES Minor, had the opportunity to attend the event. " I am interested in cloud security and networking concepts, and I am really eager to make the most of the ACES and SFS program's resources to become a well-rounded cybersecurity professional."

Leading up to the job fair, Morgan expressed excitement about engaging with agencies and representatives to understand their work and initiatives. 

“A big factor in making a decision on where I’d like to apply for my summer internship commitment is making sure I get to work on projects that are interesting but also completely new to me! I want to gain hands-on experience through critical thinking and problem-solving with real-world projects.”

“First impressions really are everything.”

Aside from preparing a professional resume and practicing for interviews, Morgan also emphasized personal presentation.  

“The main thing I did to prepare was make sure to carefully choose my formal attire that I’d be wearing throughout the conference. I feel that being comfortable and looking nice helps me feel really confident, and I find that to be one of the most important things in making sure that both agency representatives, and my fellow SFS recipients are able to meet the best version of myself! First impressions really are everything and I wanted to leave a good one by any means necessary!”

“A truly unifying and eye opening experience.”

In reflecting on his first major job fair, Morgan expressed initial nervousness but the welcoming nature made him realize it was a collective journey.

“The experience was so amazing! I was nervous since this was my first major job fair and such a large gathering of peers and professionals. I was overthinking leading up to the event, but once I got there, my worries disappeared. I was able to network and connect on so many different levels with other SFS students. I felt so welcomed, it made me realize that we really are all in this together! It was truly a unifying and eye-opening experience for me!

“Connecting on topics beyond Resumes”

The large turnout at the event helped Morgan make connections with diverse industry professionals and recruiters that took genuine interest in students on a personal level.

“First, I was truly amazed by the amount of agencies in attendance at the event, over 70+, and to top it off I was told that this was the largest turnout of agencies that the SFS job fair has ever had! Additionally, speaking with as many representatives and recruiters as I could, made me realize they truly care about us as students, people, and lifelong learners.  So many of them took interest in not only my resume but also connected on personal hobbies and interests!”

“Come as your authentic, unique self, and be curious.”

Morgan had some great practical advice to share with future students attending their first job fair with the main point being to embrace it as an opportunity to figure out where you truly belong.

“My advice to students would be to bring at least 20-30 copies of your final resume. Also carry 2-3 formal outfits that you feel the most comfortable and confident in! Lastly, come as your authentic, unique self, and be curious! Ask every question you can think of, the recruiters are interested in you because you’ve worked so hard to become an SFS student! It’s not a competition, but it's an opportunity for you to see where you could fit best for your service requirement, so view it more as an opportunity to see where you truly belong!”

Morgan’s reflections on the 2024 SFS Job Fair showcase the unique nature of the event, emphasizing the importance of authenticity, preparation, and curiosity. His positive experience serves as an inspiring testament to the value of the ACES program and the opportunities it provides for aspiring cybersecurity professionals.

For more information about the Scholarship for Service program


Published February 9, 2024