ECU’s Roberts receives national Truist cyber scholarship

With his oldest daughter in college, Darrell Roberts has more to focus on than just his own education. That’s why the East Carolina University senior was so appreciative to receive a national Truist Cyber Innovation scholarship.

Senior Darrell Roberts has received a national Truist Cyber Innovation scholarship. (Contributed photo)

“This scholarship allows me the chance to focus a little less on my educational budget and more on hers,” he said of his daughter, who is attending North Carolina A&T. “While I love my experience at ECU, as a parent we all want the best experiences for our children. This scholarship will allow me the ability to help her experience more.”

Roberts lives in Garner and works as a senior system administrator for PBS North Carolina. As a working adult, he found ECU’s online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology (BSIT) transfer program a perfect fit.

“For me, ECU was the only choice,” he said. “ECU found a way to make online education not only affordable, but also effective. I have spent years looking for a program that would help me to push my own boundaries in my field. When I discovered that ECU had created an amazing online program, I did an extensive deep dive until I found the one that just felt right for me. With my background in networking and security, the BSIT program became a perfect match.”

His concentration is in information and computer technology, but above that, he is part of the accelerated master’s program in network technology.

“By the time I finish here, I will have completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees one year apart,” he said.

Roberts believes the program will do nothing but enhance his career.

“ECU has a reputation for graduating quality students,” he said. “This means that my degree coupled with my experience will allow me the opportunity to transition into corporate IT management. That puts me in a position to lead, guide and help others.”

All of that is made easier through the $9,000 scholarship he learned of through an email from Dr. Page Varnell, a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Technology Systems.

“I was excited and grateful to be chosen (for the scholarship),” Roberts said. “When you apply for anything, all you can do is put your best foot forward and hope for the best. The interview process was fun and provided a lot of insight toward how Truist plans to develop its future cyber workforce.”

Roberts’ philosophy is, “We never get to where we are alone. There is always someone helping you reach your goals.” For him, that support includes fellow members of ECU’s Tau chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, a national honor fraternity.

“Watching all that they do for each other will forever be motivational,” he said.

He also credits faculty in the Department of Technology Systems, including Varnell, Dr. Tijjani (TJ) Mohammed, Dr. David Batts and Amy Frank, as well as advisor Allison Winters.

“They have been an integral part of my success and growth here at ECU,” he said. “Without their guidance and support, I would have had a far more challenging time getting to where I am today.”

Roberts said he would not trade his experience at ECU.

“The staff and the students are beyond amazing,” he said. “The staff goes above and beyond to ensure you have all the tools needed to succeed. And the students are always willing to assist. All you have to do is ask for help. Being in an environment with so much dedication just makes you want to work harder for yourself.”