Being the first in my family to earn their bachelor’s degree, I wanted to go even further and level up again. The need to continue my knowledge kept me at UTSA to pursue the MSIT program. The Kudla Fellowship allowed me, through completing graduate school, to develop more technical skills as well as my professional and interpersonal skills. The experience gained through the Kudla Fellowship has allowed me to gain new knowledge outside of class in areas such as machine learning and honeypot configurations and develop my skills in different operating systems. Being a part of the Kudla Fellowship and working with Dr. Beebe and my fellow co-workers has allowed me the opportunities to network with different individuals and organizations and expand my knowledge in several areas of cyber security.

How did the Kudla Fellowship support you in your career goals?
One of my favorite parts of being a Kudla Fellow was the wide variety of people and organizations I  interacted with and learned from with their many different backgrounds in information technology and cyber security.

From hardware reverse engineering to incident response, the exposure to different niches of cyber security has helped shape where I want to focus my career in the future. One aspect that has been rewarding in learning about the industry has been the mentorship program. I was given the opportunity to work with a mentor who is in a leadership position in the cyber field, and I got to spend time shadowing different teams in his cyber operations department.

What was your research experience as a fellow like? Did you learn or apply anything that you later used on the job?
I have been on a number of projects and assignments that spanned from utilizing machine learning through Python to assist with digital forensics, testing Python malware analysis tools and honeypot deployment to learn about IoT malware. Each area had their own obstacles and requirements that required me to expand my knowledge, learn new skills and look at problems in new ways.

Of the projects that I have been a part of, one the most exciting was setting up a honeypot network. I enjoyed the different aspects of learning how honeypots work, the networking behind honeypots and the malware that can affect them. This new subject area led to rabbit hole dives that resulted in new ideas and possibilities on how to setup the project honeypots.