The Cyber Mentor Scholarship Application


About a month ago when I was just beginning this journey I discovered an opportunity. The Cyber Mentor and his company TCM security were offering a scholarship to help out individuals aspiring to get into the cybersecurity field. I was a little bit late when discovering the opportunity, I came across the video promoting this with only a day left until the deadline. However, I still wanted to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I wasn't chosen for the scholarship, but it was a good experience answering these questions about myself. 

I figured I would post my responses to the scholarship questions here, and it would be interesting to revisit my answers later and see how much they have changed. 

Tell us about yourself.

Hello Heath and TCM Security Crew,

My name is Eric. Foremost, I would like to thank you for creating this opportunity. It is exceptional that you take the time to give back to the community and help others reach their goals.

I am enlisted in the U.S. Navy and I’ve been serving our country for 15 years. Being a veteran yourself, I’m sure you know that it has its ups and downs. Parts of it have been great. I’ve been all over the world, gained an incredible amount of knowledge, and met some lifelong friends. However, deploying for 7-8 months at a time is much harder now that I have a family versus when it was in my younger years with only having to worry about myself.

My contract will be complete on August 31st of 2021. Then I plan on transitioning to the civilian world. Some people would think I am crazy to leave the military with only 4 years left. I could collect a check for the rest of my life. Personally, it’s just not my passion anymore. I’m ready for something else. I’ve been ready. If I were to stay in the military, I would spend the majority of those next 4 years on a ship in the middle of the ocean. At this point in my life, I’m just not willing to trade years of time away from my family for any amount of money. I can always make money but I can never get time back.

Describe your IT background if any.

I don’t have any traditional IT training. However, I've spent seven of my enlisted years as an Electronic Warfare Operator. Which boils down to spending hundreds of hours in an aircraft over the ocean hunting submarines. During those missions, my responsibilities were to operate the radar, passively analyze electronic transmissions from surface and air contacts, and also operate the electro-optical/infrared imaging cameras.

Nevertheless, I have always had a passion for computers and a curiosity for new technologies. My curiosity led me to discover Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in 2013. I learned how to mine, set up a node, and how to do extensive online research. I didn't get Bitcoin rich. I know you were thinking it; however, I do have vast knowledge about how blockchains work, cryptography, consensus algorithms, block explorers, and transaction hashes, etc.

Describe your Ethical Hacking Knowledge if any.

Ethical Hacking is new to me. Although, I have decided that Ethical Hacking is the niche of cybersecurity that I want to pursue. On the first of August, I set a goal for myself to learn as much as I can in this next year until my Navy contract is complete. I have always been very autodidactic. I am passionate about learning all that I can about topics that intrigue me. I am working my way through the "Practical Ethical Hacking," course on Udemy. On top of that, I am enrolled in the learning paths that are offered on I have found this to be a great hands-on resource.

Do you have any certifications? If so, please list them below or write "N/A".

I don't have any certifications yet; however, I am utilizing a website called Federal Virtual Training Environment for CompTIA training and exam prep. FedVTE is a free government cybersecurity resource that active military and veterans are able to access. Currently, I am studying for my CompTIA A+ and then plan on starting Network+ after that.

What motivates you?

My motivation is my family, especially my youngest Son. He has autism. I want to give him the best life possible. His life is already a little more difficult than it is for most. If I can make life a little bit easier on him then I will spend every waking hour of my existence to make that happen.

I’ve stayed in the Navy for the last several years because it was the safe play. I’ve had solid job security. I have the reassurance of a steady paycheck, full healthcare benefits, and even our home is provided by the Navy. I know that is so much to walk away from. It is even down-right scary; however, I will not let my family down. I will take care of them, provide for them, and most importantly, not have to leave them behind while I’m on military deployments for months at a time.

That is my motivation.

Please describe a difficult challenge that you had to overcome and how you did so.

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) school was one of the hardest physical and mental challenges that I have ever faced. It took place two weeks before Christmas in the mountains of northern Maine, evading capture and applying survival skills with only a pack on my back. Having to go days without food or sleep and then getting captured and beaten at my weakest point. It is designed to psychologically break a person.

I have experienced nothing like it before. I don’t think I would ever do it again. I'd like to say that it was the best yet worst training experience that I have ever encountered. I succeeded by maintaining a positive mental attitude and claiming small victories along the way. It also helped that I went through this training with an amazing group of people. When things got tough we were always there to pick each other up.

How would this scholarship benefit you?

Personally, the most valuable commodity of this package is the guidance and developmental mentorship. What prompted me to fill out this application is the encouragement and support of a trusted subject matter expert in the industry. Everything else in this package is an added dividend.

What sets you apart from everyone else?

I like to think that my past experiences set me apart from the masses. I've been through numerous challenges in my life. I chose to adapt and overcome circumstances that I could have let defeat me. I am not perfect; nor do I strive to be. My source code is compiled of accomplishments, life lessons, and the ability to recognize when I am wrong. However, I make it a priority to be a better person in the end.

Is there anything else we should know.

I recently started a blog. I will be tracking my journey through my dedicated year of cybersecurity and ethical hacking education. I partially started the blog to hold myself accountable for sticking to my goal. I also thought it may help one day when I am applying for a job in the field. You can check it out here .

Thank you for your consideration.




Popular Posts