Scholarships Open Doors for Student

November 28, 2023

Alex Moomaw found his path to cybersecurity at Eastern.

Moomaw, a 25-year-old from Omak, Washington, is one quarter away from completing a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a little over a year from finishing his bachelor’s in cybersecurity operations.

After graduating, he will enter a high-demand profession that protects key sectors, including health care, government and banking, from cyberattacks.

Moomaw has loved computers since he was a teenager. Because there was no computer lab at his high school, he and his father, Daniel Moomaw, improvised.

Alex Moomaw, pictured on the left, and teammates Lewis Thomas, David Parker, Tristen Greene, and Robert Rutherford recently won the Spokane Cyber Cup, beating competitors from WSU, UW and other schools.

A hard-working student, Moomaw covers his living and educational expenses with a combination of seasonal jobs, internships, and scholarships.

“I wouldn’t be able to go to school without any sort of scholarship funding,” says Moomaw, who grew up in large, blended family that struggled to get by financially. He is the first in his family to attend college, an accomplishment that makes his parents and siblings extremely proud.

When Moomaw arrived at Eastern, two years ago, he had credits from taking classes at Wenatchee Valley College. Back then, he was focused on business courses with a goal of becoming a financial planner.

Then, he landed a paid position as an IT specialist working for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, where he is an enrolled member, and that got him thinking in a new direction. He applied at Eastern and chose to pursue computer science.

“I didn’t even know about software engineering jobs,” he recalls. “I just knew that I loved computers.”

Meeting Stu Steiner, PhD, director of the Cybersecurity Program and assistant professor of computer science, and joining the EWU Cyber Security Club, where he now serves as treasurer, helped him find his career path.

“I don’t want to say that they ‘morphed’ me into the person I am today, but they definitely guided me into finding out what I truly wanted to be – and that was involving some sort of security field,” he says.

Being part of the club, which provides opportunities to learn and network with industry professionals, helped Moomaw determine his ideal career is the intersection where software engineering and cybersecurity meet.

In April of 2023, Moomaw was part of EWU’s 10-person Cyber Defenders team. The team traveled to Tampa, Florida to compete against universities from throughout the county in the NCAE-C Cyber Games. They won the national title and arrived home to cheering friends and family – and members of the local media – waiting at the airport.

He is grateful for scholarship supporters who provide opportunities for students, and was honored to be chosen for the Steiner Family Endowed Scholarship, created by Stu Steiner and his wife, Shirlee.

For Moomaw, the scholarship fills financial gaps while also sending a positive message from the leader of the program. “I went and thanked him personally, because that’s awesome support.”

**Visit EWU/Give to learn how you can make a difference for students.