Breaking Boundaries: UIW Student Receives Cybersecurity Scholarship

January 19, 2024

Photo: Juliana Garza celebrates her sister's graduation from the University of the Incarnate Word

Juliana Garza, a junior Cybersecurity Systems student at UIW, was recently honored with the “Cybersecurity & The Latinx Community Scholarship,” a financial award presented to only five students across the country each semester. The scholarship aims to financially support undergraduate Latinx students seeking an education and prospective career in the field of cybersecurity. Garza says that she hopes to break boundaries to help make the cybersecurity industry more diverse and inclusive, a goal that her recent scholarship award will help her achieve.  

“This scholarship opportunity is a fantastic fit for my ambitions since it gives me a chance to acknowledge and celebrate my Latinx identity while making a meaningful contribution to the field of cybersecurity,” she shared.  

Garza’s immense passion for technology is one of the influential factors that inspired her to study cybersecurity. She shared that growing up in a time when technology was advancing at an incredible rate piqued her interest in the workings of computer networks, computer systems and the digital world. Now a young adult, Garza enjoys that UIW has given her access to a well-rounded curriculum, which guarantees her and other cybersecurity students a comprehensive education, enabling them to become proficient in all aspects of cybersecurity.  

“Whether it's incident response, ethical hacking, or creating safe software, being able to use what I learn in the classroom to tackle real-world issues gives me a feeling of purpose and significance,” she explained.  

Garza appreciates that the University also values networking and collaboration in the cybersecurity industry, providing opportunities for its students to meet professionals who can help them advance their careers. “The institution arranges for chances for students to interact with relevant organizations, attend cybersecurity conferences, and network with experts in the field. In addition to broadening students' horizons, these networking events provide access to possible internship and job prospects.”  

At UIW, Garza has also found a community of peers who support one another on their shared journey toward careers in cybersecurity. She is a member of the of the student organization, Women in Cybersecurity (WiCS), which she finds enhances her educational journey and gives her the opportunity to support the advancement of inclusivity and diversity in the cybersecurity community.   

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Garza plans to conduct additional outside research to learn about the different techniques and technologies used in the field of digital forensics. She hopes to one day be employed by a government agency handling cybercrime or enter a role where she can use her puzzle-solving skills in a digital setting.   

While she is excited for that day in the future, she isn’t taking the present for granted – she’s taking time to appreciate her latest achievement and soak in all she can learn as a student. Upon getting the news that she had been selected as a scholarship recipient, she felt relief and gratitude that this scholarship will help to reduce some of the financial pressures for her family.  

“This scholarship is accompanied by a great sense of pride in addition to relief,” she expressed. “It's a testament to my efforts, a confirmation of my dedication to academic success, and a vote of confidence in my ability to have a positive influence in the cybersecurity industry.”