Outstanding intel students win AFCEA scholarship

Mercyhurst College is known for its four-year private professional training program for intelligence and research analysts that prepares students with the education to pursue their career.

With a 90 percent placement rate and high recognition, the Department of Intelligence Studies distinguishes and qualifies students for a broader future.

For sophomore JoEllen Marsh and second-year graduate student Sandra Larson, the program has also opened doors to great scholarship opportunities.

Marsh and Larson have been selected winners, in both the undergraduate and graduate categories, for the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) scholarships.

The AFCEA granted two undergraduate and three graduate scholarships to students who are pursuing academic degrees in global security, intelligence studies or foreign languages.

Marsh received a $2,250 undergraduate scholarship and Larson received a $5,000 graduate scholarship.

“I was surprised. I didn’t think that I was going to get it,” Larson said.

Marsh, who found out she had been rewarded the scholarship through a friend’s rejection letter, said that it was definitely exciting to hear the good news.

Qualifications for the scholarship included being a sophomore or junior or full-time graduate student, U.S. citizens, and have an overall minimum 3.0 GPA. Demonstration of academic excellence, leadership and financial need were the primary factors in the selection process.

“Going to a small school makes it so leadership positions are possible for sophomores, and even freshmen if you’re willing to work hard enough. That gave me a lot of leadership experience early on, for which I’m extremely grateful,” Marsh said.

Both girls are distinguished students and apply themselves to their studies.

Marsh holds a 4.0 GPA and participates in many activities. She is the editor-in-chief of the Merciad, a member of the National Security Club and participates in Concert Choir, Ultimate Frisbee Intramural Club and the Green Team.

This past summer, Marsh work on an Intelligence Studies contract that gave her working experience to strengthen her application for the scholarship.

Larson, who will graduate in May with her applied intelligence master’s degree, holds a 3.9 GPA and has worked as an intelligence analyst since November.

Besides work and classes, Larson is a church youth group leader and a full-time mom.

Marsh is focused on the future. She is applying for a Boren scholarship to go to the Middle East her junior year in hopes of learning the Arabic language while she is there.

“I’ve had a lot of classmates congratulate me. The best part is that I can use (the scholarship) to help pay for this school year,” Marsh said.