UTSA Prepares Graduate Gonzalo Hernandez III to Fight Cyberattacks | UTSA today | UTSA
Before Hernandez arrived on campus, he enrolled in several dual-credit courses in high school, earning 37 college credits. After reviewing UTSA’s cybersecurity curriculum, he was intrigued by the quality of its planning and saw the opportunity to double major in cybersecurity and information systems. Although he was accepted to several universities in Texas, Hernandez chose UTSA because it felt like home.
“The best school to go to for cybersecurity is – hands down – UTSA,” he said.
UTSA is a leader in cybersecurity. It is one of the few colleges or universities in the nation—and the only HSI—to have three National Center of Academic Excellence designations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been an increase in phishing emails and websites. According to last digits, 812 million malware infections were reported in 2019 and more than 1.5 million phishing sites were created each month thereafter. These statistics motivate Hernandez’s passion to enter the cyber industry.
“I’m naturally drawn to protecting people.” Hernandez said. “It matches my credentials and fuels my desire to protect people from hackers and scammers.”
As society becomes more dependent on technology, he said, the need for cybersecurity increases. There is no indication that this trend will slow down.
Sensitive information, such as social security and banking details, are all stored in cloud storage services. Protecting all data from theft and damage makes cybersecurity essential.
“The reason people feel comfortable being on the internet is because of cybersecurity professionals,” he said.
Hernandez’ drive for success began at a young age. While other children played in the parks, he worked with his father at his auto parts business where he said he learned the true meaning of hard work and restlessness.
Hernandez said his grandfather was also a big influence in his life.
“My grandfather’s journey, picking cotton in the fields when I was 10, then later graduating and building his empire, had a huge impact on my life,” he said. .
Hernandez’s education at UTSA has already included experience in the workforce. While preparing for his degrees, he was hired as a contractor for MoneyGram last summer to scan emails for malicious behavior.
Now he is applying his second UTSA degree to a position as an information systems analyst for R1 RCM, an American revenue cycle management company serving hospitals, health systems and physician groups across the states. -United. Recently promoted to a full-time position, his role includes assessing risks and implementing security measures to protect corporate networks and computer systems.
“My information systems degree taught me the basics of this growing industry,” Hernandez said. “It will allow me to focus more on emerging technologies and security measures rather than constantly having to learn the simple concepts that help bring it all together.”
Throughout his time at UTSA, Hernandez says he developed fundamental skills that prepared him for the job market. Of the many courses he enrolled in, he said the most influential was Intrusion Detection and Incident Response taught by Professor Ian Thomas Burre.
“Everything I learned in this course coincides with my current job,” Hernandez said. “It had a huge impact. Professor Burress made sure to adapt this course to a work-integrated online learning environment.
As part of its strategic plan, UTSA aims for 75% of its undergraduate students to participate in some type of experiential learning upon graduation. These programs help students hone technical and soft skills that will be in demand by employers.
Hernandez’s passion and strong drive to learn more extends to outdoor pursuits as well. During spring break this year, he and some friends climbed Mount Elbert in Colorado, the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains.
After months of mental and physical preparation, he was determined to reach the 14,000 foot summit. When some of his friends couldn’t continue the hike, Hernandez, climbing on his hands and knees, was determined to reach the top.
It was the descent that proved to be the most dangerous. As night fell, he and his friends got trapped in the snow and Hernandez twisted his ankle.
“I had been without water for a long time because my water bottle had frozen. I thought I was going to slide down, but I went past the trail entry mark because I thought I had gone too high,” Hernandez recalled. “Then when I tried to put weight on my foot, I couldn’t.”
They had to keep descending to meet the rangers who rescued them by snowmobile.