Posted on October 11, 2022 by Rebekah Alegria

Only one of 326 students in the online cyber security program here in the Carlos Alvarez College of Business at UTSA, Jacob Luevanos first chose UTSA to experience life outside of his hometown but later appreciated UTSA’s flexible modality.

Jacob Luevanos When deciding upon his major, Luevanos considered what he was interested in outside of academics, his personal life and past courses to inspire his choice. “I had limited access to a personal computer when I was young, but I was fond of using technology,” said Luevanos, who is from Richmond, Texas. “I took graphic design and Microsoft applications courses which influenced my decision further. The option to participate in the online cyber security degree program gave me flexibility in my academic, personal and professional life.”

Though he is an online student here in the college, he still finds the time to be actively involved in student organizations. As a new student, Luevanos first joined the Computer Security Association, where he gained new insights and experiences from fellow students. Soon after, he became a member of the CompTIA Student Chapter to learn about various technology industries.

Wanting to add more to his academic repertoire, he applied and was accepted into UTSA’s Trio Student Support Services organization, which provides workshops tailored to first-generation students on crucial components of academic development and degree completion.

Building upon his student involvement, Luevanos completed an internship this summer with NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) Office of Audits. Working independently of NASA, they conduct audits, reviews and investigations of NASA programs and operations to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement and to assist the advancement of NASA management.

“Working with wonderful management analysts and auditors gave me the chance to learn and contribute to parts of the audit engagement for future audit reports published by the OIG,” said Luevanos about his experience.

Although the pandemic made online learning more accessible to students, it also posed the question: what are the benefits and drawbacks of online learning? While completing his internship with NASA over the summer, Luevanos was able to work and study for his degree simultaneously. “I would not have been able to complete my summer internship without the flexibility of the online program,” he said. “I appreciate how my professors are understanding as long as you are communicative, even with the asynchronous format already in place. I was able to apply what I learned in the classroom and apply it to my internship.”

But the successes of asynchronous learning also come with some drawbacks. While he appreciates the online format, Luevanos does miss some of the aspects of a traditional college experience. Thankfully, more university events have adapted to include both in-person and virtual learners. Through it all, he has been able to earn spots on both the Dean’s List and the President’s List, signifying his hard work and resilience not only to himself but to his family and many others.

Outside of school, he likes to exercise to relieve stress. Whether it’s weight lifting or getting some steps in, he believes it is important to keep your blood flowing, especially after long periods of studying. He also is an avid Googler and YouTube content consumer, gathering lots of helpful information, tips, entertainment and listening to podcasts on current events, cyber security and technology. Currently, he has been listening to The Daily podcasts from The New York Times and enjoys anime from time to time.

“Take advantage of the resources available to you in the Alvarez College of Business,” he said. “The staff are here to do everything they can to ensure that you succeed.”

With a bright future ahead, he aspires to apply what he has learned from his professional experiences to contribute to crucial processes in technological infrastructure, whether it be in the private or public sector.

For students considering online learning, he offered these words of advice. “Stay self-aware to find the program that accommodates your situation. I changed my modality from an in-person to an online cyber security degree program. It was one of the hardest choices of my life, but it was best for me. But in the end, pick the program that will assure your success as a student.”

— Rebekah Alegria