Mischel Kwon, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Marymount University, has been named by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to the inaugural class of the Scholarship for Service Hall of Fame for her outstanding contributions to cybersecurity
Kwon, who has held key posts in the Department of Justice and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-Cert), is CEO of MKACyber
, a rapidly expanding Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) and security consulting company with elite SOC expertise that she founded in 2010. She was one of only three inductees selected from nominations submitted by more than 60 universities.
“I’m honored to be chosen,” she said. “The CyberCorps: Scholarship for Program was important for my education, which prepared me as a cybersecurity expert at the top levels of both the public and private sectors.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2004, Kwon earned a master’s degree from Marymount the following year while enrolled in a joint program with George Washington University (GWU). She received a graduate certificate in computer security & information assurance from GWU and was also an adjunct professor who ran its Cyber Defense Lab.
Kwon said the NSF program is critically important. Established in 2000, more than 3,300 cybersecurity students have received scholarships and committed to work for federal, state, local or tribal government organizations through the program.
The Hall of Famer said scholarship opportunities were abundant at Marymount.
“Female professors and mentoring were accessible, and not just in the tech field, but females in hard sciences,” she added. “Most of the department heads when I attended were female. That was a supportive environment.”
While at the U.S. Department of Justice, Kwon served as its chief IT security technologist and designed and deployed the first Justice Security Operations Center (JSOC) to monitor and defend the DOJ network against cyber threats.
She also served as director of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), spearheading the organization responsible for analyzing and reducing cyber threats and vulnerabilities in federal networks.
After leaving government service, Kwon served as vice president of public sector security for RSA Security before founding MKACyber, which helps enterprises make common sense decisions about cybersecurity based on strong business and technical acumen.