$103,000 to 10 finalists chosen as Women In Defense Scholars


ARLINGTON, VA – Ten women studying for careers in national security have been selected as Women In Defense Scholars for the 2021-22 academic year, sharing $103,000 in funds among them, the Arlington, Virginia-based affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association announces today.

The finalists are among 87 eligible female students who submitted bids to become WID Scholars, formerly called the Horizons Scholarship program. The funding they receive helps them pursue education on the path to a career in defense or national security.

The WID Scholars are as follows:

Viviana Angelini will pursue a master's degree at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, with a focus on security policy and conflict resolution. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, a certificate in security studies and minors in Russian and international politics. Angelini has researched North Korea’s nuclear targeting strategy and served in multiple internships in the House of Representatives and the Defense Northeaster Department.

Naomie Baptiste is a master of business administration degree candidate at Howard University. She holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Florida State University. She is a program manager at Lockheed Martin Corp., where she works on projects related to global security, innovation and aerospace for the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

Tam Brewster, a mission assurance engineer at Ball Aerospace, has seven years of experience in the defense and semiconductor sector. She has deep expertise in failure analysis at the process and manufacturing levels to direct risk-mitigating mission assurance efforts for the defense industry. Brewster holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of California Irvine and is pursuing her master of science degree in industrial engineering and engineering leadership from Northeastern University.

Michaela Coplen is a doctoral candidate in international relations at the Oxford University, where she received a master’s degree in philosophy in 2020. Her research spans a breadth of issues in conflict and peacebuilding with a specific focus on international negotiations. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in international studies from Vassar College, where she was a Ford Scholar and a Tanenbaum Fellow; she is also a 2018 Marshall Scholar.

Elizabeth Doughty is an incoming doctoral student in exercise science at the University at Buffalo. During a fellowship at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Doughty focused on characterizing elite female warfighters and the physiological impact of heavy-load carriage on performance. She earned her master’s degree in exercise and sport science from Merrimack College, and her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Roni Fraser is a doctoral student in sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, where she specializes in disasters, environmental sociology and health. Fraser has a master’s degree in sociology from Delaware and a bachelor of science degree in emergency administration and planning from the University of North Texas. She has professional experience from multiple federal agencies and is an active disaster response volunteer with Team Rubicon.

Allison Owen is a master of arts candidate for nonproliferation and terrorism studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, as well as for international affairs with a concentration in weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation, nuclear policy and global security at Moscow State Institute of International Relations University. She has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas and worked at the Energy Department’s Kansas City National Security Campus.

Madison Reed is a first-year doctoral student in chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In May, she graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts’ Lowell Plastics Engineering program, where she did research for the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Her doctoral research will focus on the design of efficient, biobased fuels and waste-to-energy conversions.

Lauren Risany is a rising senior year at Purdue University, where she studies aeronautical and astronautical engineering with a concentration in autonomy and control. She is a year-round intern at Sandia National Laboratories and currently develops real-time trajectory optimization strategies for hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.

Nesrine Taha, national program manager of an international military construction program at the Army Corps of Engineers, is in her last year of her doctoral studies at the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Supported by the Women In Defense, her doctoral research is at the intersection of artificial intelligence and cyber-resilience and involves using AI to ensure smart military bases are protected from cyber intrusions.

Applications for the 2022-23 class of WID Scholars will open in late January 2022. Previous WID Scholars may apply. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be female students who will be enrolled at an accredited university or college, full or part time, for the fall semester
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student; undergraduates must have at least junior-level status (60 credits)
  • Demonstrate interest in pursuing a career related to national security or defense
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Have a minimum 3.25 grade point average

For media queries, please contact Evamarie Socha at esocha@NDIA.org

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.