June 8, 2021
The Virginia Sheriffs' Institute (VSI) scholarship program provides an opportunity for young people across Virginia to pursue an education in criminal justice. The scholarship is limited to students attending Virginia colleges and universities. The annual application period generally runs from January through April. Scholarships are available only to students who reside in jurisdictions where sheriffs participate in fundraising efforts, which includes Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid. Applicants must include a personal essay and a letter of recommendation from their County sheriff.
"I am inspired by their diverse interests and enthusiastic commitment to public service," said Sheriff Stacey Kincaid. "I also commend them on their strong work ethic and academic achievements."
2021 VSI Scholarship Winners
Selam Dubale is a third year student at George Mason University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Law and Society after earning an Associate degree in Criminal Justice from Northern Virginia Community College. Selam is a first-generation college student and is proficient in Amharic, a language of Ethiopia. She is active in her church choir, plays soccer for the Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America and has worked part-time in customer service. She is a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society and has been on the Dean’s List for two semesters. Selam is interested in a career in criminal justice because of a tragic incident in which her 16-year-old-brother was involved in Ethiopia. She wants to root out corruption in the criminal justice system.
Blanca Frederick Sigaran is a third year student at George Mason University, double majoring in Criminology and Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology. She is proficient in Spanish. Pre-Covid, Blanca volunteered at the Artemis House domestic violence shelter and yearly at Arlington Cemetery during Christmas time. As part of her criminal justice class, she was able to explore the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and the Coffeewood Correctional Center. She also completed a Teen Police Academy. While attending college, she works as a full-time nanny. After graduating she would like to become a special victim’s detective or serve as an advocate for victims, specifically women and children who have been abused.
Hamza Arshad is a senior at George Mason University majoring in Criminology, Law and Society with a concentration in Homeland Security and Justice. He is minoring in Information Technology with a focus on digital forensics. He was able to transfer 27 credits from high school, which will allow him to graduate a semester early. He has been on the Dean’s List every semester. Hamza grew up in Pakistan where criminal justice is not an established field, but he has found that in the U.S., criminal justice is a very fulfilling and honorable profession. Hamza is involved in several extracurricular activities including Lambda Alpha Epsilon, a criminal justice fraternity, and Future Business Leaders of America. He has volunteered or interned on several political campaigns and works in customer service for Micro Center.
Savannah Mason is a sophomore at James Madison University majoring in Justice Studies with a concentration in Crime and Criminology. She is minoring in Spanish and Criminal Justice. She is involved in many organizations, including Phi Mu Greek Sorority, where she is the Sisterhood Development Chair. She also is a member of the Student Government Association and the Justice Studies Society. She volunteers at a local Harrisonburg shelter, writes letters to Virginia health care workers and also works as a childcare provider. She intends to pursue a career in criminal justice because she loves helping people and wants to make a hands-on difference in the community.
Daniel T. Nephew is a sophomore at George Mason University, majoring in Criminology, Law and Society with a concentration in Homeland Security and a minor in Intelligence Analysis and Forensic Psychology. He is an Army ROTC Cadet and a member of the Color Guard/Drill Team, where he has earned numerous awards and recognition. He works for the GMU Police Department as a physical security officer. His interest in criminal justice stems from his high school years living abroad in Brazil, where he observed shortcomings in its law enforcement and justice system. His time there heightened his passion for a career in criminal justice. He also learned to speak Portuguese and Spanish fluently. Daniel’s career goal is to become an FBI agent.
Samantha Messina is a second year student at George Mason University, studying Criminology with a concentration in Homeland Security and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA. She is a Pathways Program Intern for the U.S. Department of Justice – Office of the Inspector General where she assembles and identifies data for use in the management and direction of programs. Her dream is to become a criminal investigator or intelligence analyst for a state or federal agency. Immediately after college, she would like to work for either the Department of Homeland Security or Justice.
Dannyela Rivera Jiron is a junior at George Mason University, majoring in Criminology, Law and Society with a minor in Forensic Psychology. She earned an Associate degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Northern Virginia Community College. She currently works as a paralegal for an area law firm and is fluent in Spanish. She has volunteered as a Domestic Violence Liaison with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and participated in the 10-week Fairfax County Community Police Academy. With her church, she has participated in mission trips to Columbia where they distribute food, clothing, hygiene items and toys to families in need. She intends to pursue a career as a police officer so she can help people and keep our community safe.