2023 Tillman Scholar

Dane Sebring

Virginia Tech
M.S., Computer Engineering

“The Army taught me how to empower soldiers from any background to address the most difficult challenges in emerging technology. I plan to take those lessons to the quantum realm.”

Dane spent his childhood enveloped in a culture of military service as his uncle and both parents served in the Air Force. When Dane joined the Army, he assumed his experience would mirror the traditional career trajectories he’d observed in his youth. Instead, he found a home in the organized chaos that only the Special Operations community could provide. 

In 2012, Dane successfully assessed for an information technology position in a highly selective special operations organization; this set him on a path to cyberspace operations in 2016 and eventually engineering in 2020. During his tenure in the unit, teammates from all backgrounds taught him to use basic tools to solve complex problems in crowded cities and untamed borderlands throughout Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Those experiences shaped his worldview, and he made it his mission to find others like him. 

When he assumed leadership of an engineering team in 2021, he recognized an opportunity to pursue talent outside the boundaries of traditional recruiting methodologies. Today, his program combines soldiers of any background into a single cross-discipline team focused on mastering emergent technology. Dane began graduate school at Virginia Tech in 2023. He chose to focus in quantum engineering, a cutting-edge field unmarred by social archetypes that left classical computing guarded and inaccessible in its infancy. The crossroads of physics and technology has always fascinated Dane; he plans to direct that enthusiasm towards reinforcing an ongoing sea change in STEM culture by seeking out and embracing a new generation of engineers.