16 HORIZONS Scholarship recipients to share more than $131,000

Captain Sarah Grant, USMCR Captain Sarah Grant, USMCR, addresses attendees at WID's 2018 HORIZONS Scholarship event at Holland & Knight, LLP. Captain Grant received WID scholarships for 2017 and 2018, when she will complete her third year at Harvard Law School and serve as Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard National Security Journal.

WASHINGTON – Sixteen women from around the country will share in more than $131,000 for their academic pursuits as the Women In Defense HORIZONS Scholarship class of 2018-19, the Arlington, VA-based defense nonprofit announced Aug. 8.

The awardees were selected from among 61 applicants for the annual scholarships that help fund women who are studying for careers in defense and foreign policy.

“I am elated for these women,” said Rachel McCaffrey, executive director of WID and herself a retired Air Force intelligence officer. “Their creativity, innovation, leadership and passion demonstrate their potential and their commitment to our nation. They embody what WID stands for: the power of diversity in strengthening our national defense.”

Some awardees indeed have remarkable studies. Take Priya Balasubramanian, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Passionate about hastening research-to-treatment in medicine, her research on an in-vitro brain-on-a-chip platform could speed treatments for traumatic brain injuries and diseases emerging from bioengineered pathogens.

Or J. Claire Wilhelm, a master of arts degree candidate in international science and technology policy at George Washington University in D.C. This mechanical engineer intends to help bridge the gap between scientists and policymakers.

Or Elizabeth Salesky, a master of science degree candidate in computer science and language technology at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, who wants to use machine learning to advance translation.

“We are so excited for this class of HORIZONS honorees, who truly represent diverse fields of study and career paths,” said Hawk Carlisle, president and chief executive officer of the National Defense Industrial Association. “Defending our nation takes more than the military. Behind those warfighters are great minds capable of great ideas.”

WID is an affiliate of NDIA, which gave $100,000 to the scholarship fund to mark the organization’s centennial in 2019. The remaining funds came from Northrop Grumman Corp. among other defense industry sponsors, plus private donations and those from WID chapters. 

A evening reception in honor of the recipients is scheduled for Aug. 8 at Holland & Knight LLP in Washington.

The awardees are:

  1. Katharine Ahrens, Ph.D. candidate, mathematics, North Carolina State University
  2. Priya Balasubramanian, Ph.D. candidate, electrical and computer engineering, Cornell Universit
  3. Sarah Grant, third-year law student, Harvard University
  4. Erika Lustig, a senior, computer science and computational mathematics, Michigan State University
  5. Miranda McConnell, master of science candidate, mechanical engineering, Purdue University
  6. Schuyler Moore, master of arts candidate, security studies, Georgetown University
  7. Amber Morgan, master of arts candidate, nonproliferation and terrorism studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  8. Allison Murray, Ph.D. candidate, mechanical engineering, Purdue University
  9. Kathryn Nickelson, master of arts candidate, national security and diplomacy, Texas A&M University
  10. Ashley Nicolas, third-year law student, Georgetown University
  11. Daniela Ondraskova, master of public policy candidate, University of Chicago
  12. Elena Osoro Camacena, master of engineering candidate, nuclear engineering, University of California, Berkeley
  13. Elani Owen, master of arts candidate, international policy, Stanford University
  14. Elizabeth Salesky, master of science candidate, computer science and language technology, Carnegie Mellon University
  15. J. Claire Wilhelm, master of arts candidate, international science and technology policy, George Washington University
  16. B. Winter, master of public policy candidate, University of Chicago

The 2019-20 HORIZONS Scholarship class will open for applications in early 2019. For more information, visit WomenInDefense.net. To speak with a WID representative or a scholarship awardee, contact Evamarie Socha, NDIA communications director, esocha@ndia.org


The National Defense Industrial Association is the trusted leader in defense and national security associations. As a 501(c)(3) corporate and individual membership association, NDIA engages thoughtful and innovative leaders to exchange ideas, information and capabilities that lead to the development of the best policies, practices, products and technologies to ensure the safety and security of our nation. For more information, visit www.ndia.org


Women In Defense supports the advancement and recognition of women in national security. WID provides women a business environment for professional growth through strategic networking, education and career development. WID cultivates leadership skills and relationships, mentoring and education through national and regional events. For more information, visit www.womenindefense.net

Topics: Leadership, Personnel

About NDIA

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit NDIA.org

About WID

Women In Defense (WID), a National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Affiliate, engages, cultivates and advances women in all aspects of national security. Incorporated in 1985, Women In Defense provides members a business environment for professional growth through strategic networking, education, and career development. This national alliance is comprised of women and men from industry and defense organizations of every size; all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces; Government agencies, academia, think tanks, associations, and professional services.