Posted on April 2, 2021 by Wendy Frost

As someone who was previously homeschooled, Sophia Irizarry is looking forward to being able to experience campus life next fall.

Sophia Irizarry A cadet in UTSA’s Air Force ROTC, she is a cyber security major who hopes to work for the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations when she graduates.

Favorite class
My favorite class is Programming Languages I with Scripting, which I am currently taking. I love that this course is continually challenging me to think like a programmer and solve problems independently and critically.

Favorite professor
My favorite professor is Dr. Rita Mitra because she is very intentional in supporting students both in and out of the classroom. Thank you, Dr. Mitra!

How has COVID affected your studies or you personally this semester?
Having been homeschooled for the previous 10 years, I am very accustomed to studying independently and taking online college courses. However, upon graduation from high school, I had been looking forward to experiencing life on campus and the college classroom environment. I still long for the opportunity to meet new people, and I make it a priority to study on campus as often as I am able!

What have you learned most from your program of study thus far?
In the past few months, I have truly grown to appreciate the importance of learning. I realized that I do not “need” to learn in my classes, but that I “get” to learn. And the more I embrace my classes, the more I realize that so many of the concepts and principles of each line of study, whether it be sciences or foundations in business, overlap and complement each other. I get to have a well-rounded education, and each class I take offers information that I can apply in life.

Any organizations or activities that you’ve been involved with in the COB or at UTSA?
I am a cadet in UTSA’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 842 (Best in Blue!), where I am also a member of the Honor Guard. This program has developed me so much as a student and as a leader, and it has given me the opportunity to meet so many phenomenal people. Being a student and cadet can be challenging at times, but the skills I develop in managing my time and priorities are well worth the effort.

What are you watching, reading or listening to right now?
Currently, I am watching the show “The Blacklist” and reading That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. I am a cinephile and love to analyze films for their nuances and special effects. Additionally, I listen to podcasts on topics ranging from psychology to car maintenance.

Professional work experience or internships that you’ve participated in?
As a junior in high school, I had the privilege of being selected to attend the Summer Seminars at both the United States Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy. These seminars inspired me to pursue a career in the armed forces, and the experience pushed me to be a leader among my peers. In addition, they heightened my interest in cybersecurity. I learned how to carve files from a hard drive and participated in a supervised cyber attack on the Air Force Academy’s CyberCity.

What are your future career plans?
I plan to graduate from UTSA in 2024 with a degree in cyber security and minors in digital forensics and psychology. Upon graduation, I hope to be commissioned as an officer in the Air Force and serve in the Office of Special Investigations or another career field.

— Wendy Frost