SANS Technology Institute Celebrates Assante Scholar Award Winners

Annual award recognizes outstanding students in the field of industrial control systems (ICS) security.

Bethesda, MD, June 18, 2024 – The SANS Technology Institute (, the nation’s premier college for cybersecurity, has announced this year’s recipients of the Assante Scholar Award. This award is given to outstanding students in the field of industrial control systems (ICS) security. It is named in honor of the late Mike Assante, a pioneer in the ICS security field. The awards were presented by Tim Conway, the Technical Director of the ICS and SCADA programs at SANS, in a ceremony during the 2024 SANS ICS Security Summit in Orlando.

The 2023 winners of the Assante Scholar Awards are Ryan Van Den Heuvel of Idaho Falls, Idaho, who earned a graduate certificate in Industrial Control Systems Security from, and Jonathan Wismer of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, who earned an undergraduate certificate in Applied Cybersecurity and a graduate certificate in Industrial Control Systems Security from

“Winning the Assante Scholar Award is humbling,” said Ryan Van Den Heuvel, an ICS/OT Cyber Security Researcher at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).  “Although I never had the opportunity to know Mike, as an INL employee, I have many co-workers who knew Mike professionally and personally, and his legacy at INL is substantial.  I consider myself privileged to be able to learn from his peers, continue down the path he started, and work and solve the same types of problems he did then today.  To win an award in his honor is icing on the cake.”

“Receiving the Assante Scholar award is an honor that carries with it a solemn commitment to uphold the ideals and work championed by Mike, whose dedication and innovation continue to serve as a guiding light for cyber security professionals around the world,” said Jonathan Wismer, a public servant with the Government of Canada for more than 13 years, currently working for the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.  “As a humbled and grateful recipient, I owe heartfelt thanks to my family, colleagues, and Veterans Affairs Canada, who have supported me in this endeavor. I am also reminded of the enduring power of collaboration across borders and recognize that unity knows no bounds in cybersecurity and international friendships.”

“Mike Assante believed that extraordinary practitioners with a deep understanding of cybersecurity and the networks, systems, and applications they are defending would be the best defense against hostile nations seeking to attack our power systems,” said Ed Skoudis, SANS Technology Institute President. “Jonathan and Ryan exemplify the exceptional talent we need to make the world a safer place.”

About Mike Assante

Mike Assante was the founder of the Industrial Control Systems Security (ICS) curriculum, ICS and SCADA Lead, and Director of Industrials and Infrastructure at the SANS Institute. A pioneer in the field of industrial control system cybersecurity, Mike made a long list of remarkable contributions to the advancement of critical infrastructure system design, threat intelligence, detection, mitigation, and incident response capabilities within the ICS community. Mr. Assante passed away in 2019, and in recognition of his legacy, the SANS Technology Institute established the Assante Scholar Award, which is eligible to undergraduate and graduate students. 

About the SANS Technology Institute

The SANS Technology Institute (, America's premier college for cybersecurity, delivers distinguished career-focused undergraduate and graduate programs characterized by a world-class faculty of highly skilled information security practitioners, hands-on cybersecurity courses updated for real-world relevance, and industry-recognized GIAC certifications earned within each program. Designated by the NSA as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense, offers innovative online and in-person course delivery options, including 100% online options for all its programs. Master's degree students at conduct leading-edge cybersecurity research, enhancing the state of the art in information security practices. The college also houses the Internet Storm Center, the world's leading global cyber threat detection network, where bachelor's degree students gain hands-on experience as Apprentice Handlers.

In the field of industrial control systems security, the SANS Technology Institute offers a master’s degree with an optional Special Focus Area in Industrial Control System Security, a graduate certificate in ICSS, and elective options in industrial control systems security in its bachelor’s degree and undergraduate certificate programs.

The SANS Technology Institute is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For more information, visit