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DFIR Summit & Training 2018

Austin, TX | Thu, Jun 7 - Thu, Jun 14, 2018
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Ken Johnson DFIR Scholarship

Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson, husband of Jessica Towle Johnson, and father of two beautiful young children, Savannah and Brady, was tragically taken from this life on April 4, 2016 at the age of 38.

Ken was an amazing husband and father. He was married to his best friend on February 19, 2000. His love for his family was his driving force behind all of his accomplishments and successes. One of his and his family's proudest moments was when he received his master's degree from Iowa State University in 2013.

Ken's passion for digital forensics led him to self-study Windows 8 internals and publish leading research on the topic. Even though Ken was relatively unknown in the Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) community at the time, he submitted to a Call For Presentations (CFP) and was accepted to present his findings at the 2012 SANS DFIR Summit.

Ken's networking at the DFIR Summit led to a career at KPMG, LLP, where he was a vital part of the response team for many high-profile computer forensic and incident response engagements. Ken enjoyed working with his team, and in the process became friends with many of his colleagues.

Over time, Ken's network expanded to the greater DFIR community, where he enjoyed sharing and receiving knowledge amongst the industry. He attended and spoke at many conferences across the country and helped organize BSides Iowa at Iowa State. Ken also blogged about his journey through his profession; one of Ken's most personal blog posts discusses decisions he made in his life to step out of his comfort zone and follow his dream in DFIR, all while thanking those closest to him for their support.

In memory of Ken Johnson, the SANS Institute and KPMG LLP created a scholarship that was introduced at the SANS DFIR Summit in June 2016 and will be awarded annually in early June.

Scholarship recipients

About the Ken Johnson Scholarship

The objective of the scholarship is to foster the value of DFIR professional development and to encourage and mentor a dedicated student showing genuine promise in the DFIR field. This scholarship will provide:

  • Two SANS DFIR classes in any format (contributed by SANS and KPMG LLP)
  • One complimentary entry to the SANS DFIR Summit in the year the scholarship is awarded
  • Mentoring from two DFIR coaches (Matt Bromiley and David Nides)
  • Consideration for an internship

Scholarship Submission Guidelines

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Undergraduate (junior or senior year) or graduate students enrolled full-time in a degree program at an accredited college or university in the U.S. (Full-time is defined as twelve credit hours per semester for undergraduate students and nine credit hours for graduate students.)
  • Preference will be given to students enrolled in computer science, engineering, or other technology-related degree programs, but students earning degrees in other fields of study are encouraged to apply.
  • You may be a citizen of any country (U.S. citizenship is not required).

Application Submission:

  • Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis; one scholarship will be awarded annually at the DFIR Summit in June.
  • Resumes are required with applications.

Students are required to write a paper (not to exceed five pages, not including resumes) responding to the following questions:

  1. Why are you passionate about DFIR?
  2. What is a DFIR-related project you're particularly proud of and relates to your future goals?

Complete scholarship submissions should be emailed to KenJohnsonScholarship@sans.org by May 18, 2018.