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Meet Tesfa Greaves

Fellow collaborates with US Department of Homeland Security on cybersecurity

Technology has always played a major role in Tesfa Greaves’ life, from fixing the family computer when he was a child to beginning his academic career as a computer science major at Lehman College.  Shortly after beginning college, he expressed difficulty in puzzling out who he was and who he wanted to be, as well as difficulty with the content in classes such as math. He wanted to better understand who he was and what he wanted to do in his career.


Tesfa Greaves took a childhood passion for technology and joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in their mission to protect the U.S. from online threats. (Photo Credit: Tesfa Greaves)

Fast forward five years later, Greaves returned to academia. This time, he earned his bachelor of science degrees in both computer information systems and computer science, as well as a bachelor of art in mathematics. It inspired him to never give up. Since then, his greatest motivation is to know everything there is to know about computers and technology and to help others achieve the same.

“Even though this goal may literally be unachievable, it drives me to do more every single day,” said Greaves. “I hope to teach others about the potentially positive future technology may bring.”

He has continued his education by pursuing a master’s degree in digital forensics and cybersecurity from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he sought a fellowship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Greaves was offered a fellowship for the DHS Homeland Security Professional Opportunities for Student Workforce to Experience Research (HS-POWER) program managed for DHS by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). ORISE is managed for DOE by Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Upon receiving this appointment, he notes that he felt like one of the luckiest people in the world.

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate Office of University Programs sponsors the HS-POWER Program for undergraduate and graduate students. HS-POWER is open to students majoring in a broad spectrum of homeland security related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines as well as DHS mission-relevant research areas.

Greaves was placed with his US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) mentors: supervisory special agents Brent Morral and Carl Stiffler. He soon aligned with Stiffler’s efforts in the “Pathway to Success” project. This project allowed Greaves to receive hands-on experience in digital forensics and cybersecurity and to chart out his future. Upon finishing his appointment, Greaves took his project into the classroom to share his experience with peers and university faculty, so they also could benefit from what he learned.

Greaves and other DHS fellows also were invited to the Border Enforcement Security Taskforce to collaborate on real-world learning missions. During this collaboration, Greaves experienced the process of searching shipping containers jointly with Pennsylvania and Delaware state police and the Coast Guard. He felt privileged to gain experience in so many different competencies.

Finally, Greaves had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the online Black Market, called the Darknet. The Darknet is a space where criminals use online anonymity to buy and sell illegal goods, which makes understanding and monitoring it imperative to national security.

Greaves said he gained more confidence in his skills and is proud that his mentors were impressed with his growth. Greaves also noted that he feels prepared for graduation, thanks to HS-POWER. “The practical knowledge learned will carry over for the rest of my life,” said Greaves.

He is now implementing his newfound practical knowledge by working as a technical support advisor, distributing learning technology throughout New York City.  

Greaves has been surrounded by technology since he was a child. And, though he was faced with many challenges as he sought to complete his bachelor’s degrees, he never settled for less and always returned to his studies more determined than ever.

Greaves recommends HS-POWER and offered advice to applicants: “Never settle; never give up.”

To learn more about the HS-POWER program and how you can take advantage of this amazing opportunity, please visit: Want to receive alerts when applications open for this and other internship opportunities with Federal Agencies? Visit to create your profile or download the ORISE GO mobile app. Visit the ORISE GO page for more info on how to download the app to your mobile device.

The DHS HS-POWER Program is funded by DHS and administered through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). ORISE is managed for DOE by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.