In 2012, Alec Foster was a sophomore communications major at New York University with a fledgling public service career, a love of digital diplomacy and the desire to find an outlet for his passion. “I was a follower of new age diplomats that really made public service attractive at the time,” he tells me. “I wanted to defend what I love about the internet, and thought working in national cybersecurity was the best way to do so.”

It was around this time that Foster learned about the Aspire scholarship. The program places 29% of its graduates at the NSA.

Foster eagerly signed up. “When you’re offered full tuition to NYU and a $20,000 stipend, how could you say no? My family was so proud, I didn’t want to let them down or need help paying for college,” he said.

It quickly became clear to Foster that his fellow students considered the NSA the pinnacle of government cyber-employment opportunities, and that he should too. “When I was at the annual jobs fair, all the participants were vying to jobs at the NSA,” he remembers.

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