Securing the Future: Students Receive Cybersecurity Scholarships

Even though they started on different career tracks, four students at Forsyth Tech discovered a new passion for cybersecurity and were awarded Federal CyberCorps Scholarships for Service Grants in 2018. Dillon Lewis, Jovan Morgan, Chris Perris, and Sam Wilson will each receive a total of $61,000 for three years— one year at Forsyth Tech and two years to complete their bachelor’s degrees at either North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University or the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “These scholarships are a terrific way for students to complete their cybersecurity program and be assured a great job,” said Dr. Deanne Wesley, associate dean of the Davis iTEC and Cyber Security Center at Forsyth Tech. “Cybersecurity is an in-demand field with guaranteed jobs.” Throughout the year, especially during October (National Cybersecurity Awareness month), the four students have been engaged in activities promoting cybersecurity. As members of the CyberGeeks Club, they contributed to the cybersecurity virtual career fair. They also taught West Stokes County middle school students coding and hacking, demonstrated cybersecurity basics to the elementary students at Meadowlark Elementary, and participated in the Cybersecurity Symposium held at Forsyth Tech for several local high schools. The program offers numerous resources for students, including an annual job fair, a week-long summer training program, and internship opportunities. In return for their scholarship, the students will commit to working for a government agency for three years upon graduation.

Study Away: Broaden Your Horizons

Study Away students in Ireland

While study abroad programs offer the experience of studying in another country, Forsyth Tech established the Study Away program to offer students opportunities to travel and learn in the United States, as well as abroad. These trips can expand students’ perspectives while providing life-changing experiences. Students experienced a trip to Ireland and Argentina in 2018; and in 2019, trips to the same countries will be offered.



Last May, two leaders, five adult students, and 12 Forsyth Tech students traveled to Ireland to study social justice and equality. The class spent most of their time in the town of Bonduran and the surrounding area in County Donegal with trips to Sligo, Ballyshannon, Donegal Castle, Sliabh Liag Cliffs, and Trinity College in Dublin. Dr. Niamh Hamill led morning lectures that corresponded with the day’s activities and participants stepped out of their comfort zones and climbed walls, surfed in the Atlantic, and played Gaelic sports. However, the most impactful moments of the trip occurred at the Free Derry Museum in Derry City, Northern Ireland. There, the story of Bloody Sunday, an incident where 28 unarmed citizens were shot during a peaceful protest, was shared through artifacts, newsreels, and articles. Gabrielle Johnson, Forsyth Tech student, wrote about her experience, “Therefore, keep an open mind and step out of your comfort zone. Absorb the kindness that exists in humanity and bring it home to give back. You will never regret the time you have spent and will forever have the memories of the country and its people.” The 2019 Ireland Study Away trip will focus on Global Health, and is open to students, faculty, staff, or community members. If you are interested, contact Laura Brannon at



Eight students from Davidson County Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, and Forsyth Tech traveled to Villa Maria, in the Cordoba province of Argentina last June through a partnership grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. Part of being prepared for the global economy is being an informed and engaged global citizen. Study Away can be a vehicle for global competence, as students experienced the Argentine people and culture first-hand. Not only did students experience the beauty of Villa Maria, but they also traveled to the global city of Buenos Aires and even spent a day in Uruguay. “Our trip to Argentina was my first time out of the U.S. and I am glad it was,” said student Malia Valentine who took the trip. “I learned a lot about myself and got to connect with my group members as well as other international students from different countries. I left more educated about Argentine history, politics, and culture, which made me fall in love with the country. It also lit a strong desire to continue to learn about myself and others through traveling. I’ll never forget this trip!” The 2019 program will focus on sustainability and the environment, and they hope to add additional site visits, such as a farm that acts as a non-traditional high school. Students interested in Study Away programs should contact Laura Hortal, Chair of the Study Away Committee, for the latest information on upcoming trips at

The Future’s So Bright

The Forsyth Tech Foundation’s 2018-19 Annual Fundraising Campaign adopted the tagline, “The Future’s So Bright” to focus on both the accomplishments during Dr. Gary Green’s tenure as president, and on the promising future that lies ahead for our college. Today, Forsyth Tech can provide educational pathways that lead to meaningful, living-wage careers for our students, while meeting the needs of area businesses and industry in ways that promote new and exciting growth in our economy.

We are proud to support the work of our college by funding those things that make us not just good but extraordinary.  Foundation funds play a critical role in purchasing modern technology required in today’s rapidly changing work environment, and are essential in providing scholarship dollars that make college affordable.  The Foundation also helps our faculty and staff secure the continuing education needed to stay current, and supports dozens of important student activities and programs throughout the year.

The Foundation is grateful for the generous support we receive from the community and we pledge to invest your dollars wisely to help ensure brightest of futures for Forsyth Tech.

– Chris Leak

In Memoriam

Bert Lester Bennett

January 22, 1921 – July 16, 2018

A native of Winston-Salem, Mr. Bennett joined his family business, Quality Oil Company, in 1947. Under Mr. Bennett’s leadership, Quality Oil grew to be one of the largest branded oil jobbers in the U.S. In addition to his success in business, Mr. Bennett was committed to the Winston-Salem community and was a loyal friend and supporter of Forsyth Technical Community College. He also demonstrated his love for the state, devoting many hours to politics and meetings while serving the people of North Carolina. As a leader, Mr. Bennett lived with purpose, generosity, and character, and he will leave behind a legacy of integrity. When Mr. Bennett was asked about his greatest investment, he said, without a doubt, every single one of his eight children. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family.


Aurelia Gray Eller

June 29, 1932 – September 10, 2018

A lifelong resident of Winston-Salem, Ms. Eller had a favorite saying, “Live so that when you are gone, it will have mattered.” Undeniably, Ms. Eller lived her life in that manner and made a difference to many people. As an arts and civic leader, Ms. Eller had a keen ability to inspire and motivate others. She was a champion for diversity, inclusion, and fairness to everyone. Over the course of six decades, Ms. Eller held leadership positions in numerous organizations, including president of the Winston-Salem Arts Council, the Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Winston-Salem Junior League. She served on numerous boards, including Salem Academy and College, the Board of Visitors of Wake Forest University, the Board of Trustees of Winston-Salem State University, and the Forsyth Tech Foundation Board. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family.


Robert Lewis Strickland

March 3, 1931 – September 21, 2018

A longtime resident of Winston-Salem, Mr. Strickland was passionately interested in expanding accessibility to higher education. To show his commitment to the Winston-Salem community, he and his wife Betty donated $2.8 million to Forsyth Tech last year – the largest ever by an individual donor. At their request, the funds will support the development of the college’s Career Center, including an endowed position of Career Center director. The Center will be located in the Robert L. Strickland Center renamed for him. Mr. Strickland retired from Lowe’s Companies, Inc. in 1997 after 40 years of service, and his accomplishments and achievements were numerous. One of the highlights for him was serving in the N. C. House of Representative from 1962 -1964, where he was proud to support the 1962 session’s founding of the North Carolina Community College System. We send our deepest sympathies to his family.

Staff Spotlight

Jessica Long with a student

Jessica Long: A Commitment to Careers

Thanks to a generous $2.8 million gift from longtime Winston-Salem residents the late Robert Strickland and his wife Betty Strickland, the development of Forsyth Technical Community College’s Career Center is underway and includes the college’s first endowed position: director of the Career Center.
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