Commander Dan F. Shanower Scholarship

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Grace Damato is a 2021 graduate of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Virginia, finishing with a 4.375 GPA and recognition as a National Merit Scholar. In addition, she lettered in varsity cross country and track and field. A member of the National Honor Society, Grace participated for four years in Junior ROTC and intends to pursue a commission in the U.S. Navy through the Reserve Officer Training Program at Florida State University. She plans on studying bioengineering or biochemistry, which she intends to apply through service as a surface warfare officer. Notably, she was recognized for her JROTC service with the American Legion ROTC Scholastic Medal, and an award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Sponsor: Commander David Damato, USN, Information Warfare Training Group


Evan O'Connor

Evan O’Connor, a graduate of the DoD High School in Naples, Italy, is a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Nursing. He is a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps with a four-year commitment to the Nursing Corps. His ambition is a career in medical intelligence, possibly at National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). To support his intelligence ambitions, Evan has studied Mandarin for seven years and is earning a minor in East Asian Languagesand Civilizations with a concentration in Chinese. He is using the 2020 CDR Dan F. Shanower Scholarship award to attend a language immersion program at Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan this summer and intends to return next summer using his 2021 scholarship funds.  

*This is Evan’s second consecutive year to win this scholarship.

Sponsor: Commander Sean O’Connor, USN, National Defense University


Evan O'Connor

Evan O’Connor, a graduate of DoD High School in Naples, Italy, is now a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in nursing with a language studies minor to exploit his six years of Mandarin training already completed. He is a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps with a four-year commitment to the Nursing Corps. Ethan is equally interested in international relations and intelligence. After reading Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, Ethan was inspired to volunteer for the Good Judgement Project, a program funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to foster more accountable and accurate forecasts which engaged him in diverse medical, economic, and geopolitical topics. As he considers his future, Ethan met with a CIA case officer to learn how his medical skills could be employed in an intelligence career discovering that Nurse Practitioners with military experience are utilized by the CIA for a variety of support and other activities. He hopes this scholarship will assist him financing a summer immersion program in Taiwan for language and culture. Evan is the recipient of the 2020 Commander Dan F. Shanower Scholarship.
Sponsor: Commander Sean O’Connor at the National Defense University.


Catherine Woodward, a senior at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, is a National Security and Foreign Affairs major with a Spanish minor. She is an associate at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology participating in the National Security Education Program: Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence and she was eventually selected to be a Hume Scholar working on a team project with CACI. Selected for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Honors Intern Program as a Workforce trainee in 2018, she worked at the Operational Technology Division Technical Intelligence Unit at Quantico in the summer and then at the Roanoke Resident Agency during the school year. She has authored an intelligence product and supported field operations. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Security Studies, enter the Intelligence Community and join the U.S. Naval Reserve.


Kathleen Sharman is a 2018 graduate of the UN International School of Hanoi, Viet Nam and has applied to the University of Virginia, Princeton University, and the College of William and Mary intending to pursue a liberal arts major with an Asia/Chinese studies minor. The restrictions and censorship in China and Viet Nam she witnessed growing up in these countries framed her perception of human rights issues; she intends to learn more about this dynamic part of the world in college and in her future career. She was an active supporter of orphanages in China and Vietnam and led a 20-person service group assisting individuals disabled from Dioxin (Agent Orange) re-integrate into Vietnamese society.


Victoria Nelson, sponsored by SCPO James H. Nelson of NIWA Ft. Meade, lives in Elkridge MD. She’ll be starting her second year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with a major in Geography and Environmental Systems. Her plans are to become a metereologist, researching methods to improve warning times for tornadoes.


Emily K. Ortwein, sponsored by CAPT Michael Ortwein at EUCOM, lives in Stuttgard, Germany. She has not chosen a specific university to attend but will major in East Asian Studies and Chinese, with the goal of a career in naval intelligence.



Gabrielle Allred, will be attending Johns Hopkins University majoring in Biomedical Engineering. 
Sponsor: CDR Lee Allred (Ret), last serving at SPAWAR Space Field Activity, Chantilly, VA.


Laura Elliott (Sesow winner 2011 and 2012)
Sponsor: CAPT Mark Elliott, J2/Joint Staff



Ireland Maguire, continuing her studies at Utah State University, majoring in Public Health, with the goal of becoming a pediatrician 
Sponsor: CWO2 Gene Maguire, USN, NR ONI 0287, Salt Lake City


William R. Poppert 
SponsorCDR William R. Poppert stationed at Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic



Kara E. Garrott, who will be attending the University of South Carolina with a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Spanish. 
Sponsor: CAPT Bruce D. Garrott, USNR, US Central Command, Reserve Unit NR JICCENT 0174, MacDill AFB


Michael C. Protacio, who will be attending Yale University with a major in music and a minor in international relations.
Sponsor: CAPT Barbara J. Protacio, USNR, serving with the Office of Naval Intelligence Navy Reserve Unit 0566, Suitland, MD


Thomas A. Orr, entering his senior year at Central Washington University 
Sponsor: CDR Thomas R. Orr, USN, serving at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at Naval Air Station, Fallon, NV


Matthew T. Peters, attending McDaniels College (MD)

James R. Everett IV, attending Old Dominion University 
Sponsor: CAPT James R. Everett, III, who is Commanding Officer, Center for Naval Intelligence, Dam Neck, VA