University of New Brunswick Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship winners announced

May 13, 2024 | Toronto, ON & Fredericton, NB

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) is thrilled to announce the recipients of this year's prestigious Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship: Vaishnavi Shanmugam and Erika Thea Ajes.

The Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship, generously funded by Mastercard, provides each recipient $25,000 to support their academic journey in the Master of Applied Cybersecurity (MACSec) program and Research-Intensive Cyber Knowledge Studies (RICKS) program. This funding will help offset the costs associated with tuition, materials and other educational expenses.

“At Mastercard, our commitment to cybersecurity extends through all aspects of our business operations, including our partnerships and educational initiatives. By collaborating with the University of New Brunswick, we're advancing essential research and supporting the next generation of cybersecurity talent,” said Sasha Krstic, President, Mastercard, Canada. "Through scholarships for students like Vaishnavi and Erika, we are not just enhancing digital security but also nurturing the future leaders who will safeguard our digital world."

Shanmugam and Thea Ajes are enrolled in the MACSec program at UNB and are slated to graduate in August 2024. After graduation, they will join the RICKS cohort in September 2024 for hands-on cybersecurity training at the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC).

“I'm pleased to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of Vaishnavi and Erika," said Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, UNB President and Vice-Chancellor. "Their dedication, alongside the Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship, underscores education's crucial role in advancing cybersecurity. Congratulations to both recipients and thank you, Mastercard, for your generous support.”

Shanmugam has a keen interest in network security and architecture. She aims to leverage machine learning techniques to fortify digital ecosystems against emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

"Being a mom to a one-year-old daughter while navigating my studies is a challenging journey,” said Shanmugam. “UNB, CIC and Mastercard have recognized my hard work and awarded me this scholarship. This support extends beyond financial assistance; it has significantly reduced the burden of my education loan and given me the time to focus more on my studies.”

Thea Ajes is passionate about software security from a cyber perspective. Her goal is to develop software that is resilient against cyber-attacks, contributing to a safer digital landscape.

“I was amazed when I got the news, especially since it was my first time applying for a scholarship,” said Thea Ajes. “The news lifted a weight off my shoulders and  brought immense relief to my family back in the Philippines. I’m looking forward to the RICKS training program with CIC and Mastercard, and  I can’t fully express my gratitude and excitement for this opportunity.”

Media Contacts

Helena Wade, Mastercard
Kathleen McLaughlin, University of New Brunswick

University of New Brunswick

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) is Canada's oldest English-language university, and New Brunswick’s only national comprehensive university. Founded in 1785, the multi-campus institution has a rich history as well as a dynamic focus on research, innovation, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. UNB welcomes more than 10,000 students from 100 countries to its campuses.  With over 100 programs in 14 faculties, UNB helps students acquire the abilities needed to make an impact in their communities.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.