ARL awards IST graduate student Walker Graduate Assistantship

person in cap and gown in front of sports stadium

Hope Stylios is the recipient of a Walker Graduate Assistantship from the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State. 

Credit: Jena Soult

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State has awarded a Walker Graduate Assistantship to Hope Stylios, a graduate student majoring in cybersecurity analytics and operations in the College of Information Systems and Technology (IST).

As an integrated undergraduate-graduate student, Stylios earned her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations, with a focus on law and policy, on May 4. She expects to graduate with her master’s degree in May 2025. The one-year fellowship will enable Stylios to complete her graduate degree while continuing her research at ARL, where she has completed multiple internships.

All College of IST students must complete at least one internship to graduate. Stylios interned as a cybersecurity analyst at ARL in summer 2022; a cyber risk and financial advisory summer scholar at Deloitte in summer 2023; and a research and development engineering intern at ARL in fall 2023 and spring 2024.

Stylios has received multiple scholarships at University Park and at Penn State Brandywine, where she completed the first two years of her undergraduate studies. At Brandywine, she was undecided about her major but had an interest in international relations and a desire to travel. Her first IST course helped her to begin charting her path forward in cybersecurity. 

“I began to learn about the technology that I use every day,” she said. “Then, I took cyber classes that taught me about data privacy and enabled me to envision a career in which I work to protect consumer data. Our personal information is out there, and not enough is being done to ensure it remains private and secure.”

I discovered that there are so many ways to be engaged at University Park.

—Hope Stylios , graduate student in the College of IST

Stylios moved from Brandywine to University Park — where she “fell in love with Westgate Building” — to finish her undergraduate degree and explore her options.

“I transitioned to University Park to grow my independence, to step out of my comfort zone academically and personally,” she said. “And I discovered that there are so many ways to be engaged at University Park.”

Stylios has been actively involved in IST student organizations, including the Penn State Association of Women in Computing, the IST Undergraduate Student Council and the Change of Campus Advisory Board. She was the president of the inaugural cohort of the Order of the Sword and Shield National Honor Society Penn State Chapter. And she was the sole undergraduate student to serve on the search committee to select the College of IST’s new dean.

Beyond Penn State and cybersecurity, Stylios likes to give back to her community. She volunteers with her neighborhood's civics association, doing park cleanups and planning events. She enjoys football games, concerts and exploring the different events and experiences that Penn State and State College have to offer. 

“I am so happy to be a member of this college and community,” Stylios said. “Here, I have grown my confidence, made amazing friends and laid the foundation, hopefully, for a career in government, implementing data privacy protection at any level.”