USC Aiken announces computer science scholarship competition winners

Seventeen local high school students are one step closer to a career in computer science and cybersecurity after securing a scholarship through USC Aiken's Computer Science Scholarship Competition.

The $500-$1,000 scholarships are awarded based on a student's academic performance and essay submission. To qualify, students must be high school students within 30 miles of the university and have an interest in pursuing a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, computer science, software engineering, game and simulation, information technology, or data science. Winners must enroll in one of these programs within 12 months of receipt to secure their scholarship.

"USC Aiken is a cornerstone of the region's cybersecurity infrastructure, with a designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense from the National Security Agency; one of the nation's first student-led Regional Security Operations Center; a $65 million investment from the Department of Energy for an Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, and $30 million investment from the South Carolina National Guard for the Cyber Innovation Collaborative, both of which will be housed on the university's campus," said Dr. Scott McKay, dean of the College of Sciences and Engineering at USC Aiken. "Given these investments, there will be a significant surge in demand for STEM professionals, and we must prepare our students to be at the forefront of this movement."

The National Association of Manufacturing reports STEM careers are growing by 17% annually compared to 9% for other fields, and approximately 3.5 million STEM jobs will be needed by 2025. Additionally, the region is expected to see a surge in the number of technology professionals needed over the next decade as places like the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Eisenhower and the Department of Energy continue to invest in the local cybersecurity infrastructure.

Scholarship Winners are: 
  • Cinthia Gomez Andrade, Bethune Bowman High School
  • Ava Chavous, North Augusta High School
  • Chad Daniels, Lexington High School
  • John'nique Davis, Ridge Spring Monetta High School
  • Ritvik Kulkarni, Lexington High School
  • Logan Langford, Silver Bluff High School
  • Jaiden Major, White Knoll High School
  • Keilana McCallie, Lakeside High School
  • Jorge Naranjo, North Augusta High School
  • Caden Odom, Fox Creek High School
  • Nakul Smaran Ranjith, Irmo High School
  • Randy Sechler III, Chapin High School
  • Andrew Stevens, Lugoff-Elgin High School
  • Emma Stone, South Aiken High School
  • John Stone, Aiken High School
  • Matthew Voyles, Silver Bluff High School
  • Alana Williams, Ridge View High School

For more information, contact Christen Engel,