MAY 17, 2022 — Combining his passion for business and technology, Tonnie Okhiria graduated this May with dual B.B.A. degrees in information systems and cyber security from the Carlos Alvarez College of Business at UTSA.
A San Antonio native, Okhiria chose to attend UTSA because it was close to home, and he was attracted to the university’s cybersecurity program.
Okhiria thrived due to his participation in a variety of student organizations and activities. As a member of the Business Honors Program, he enjoyed smaller honors business classes and interactions with faculty members like Jerry Keating, Rita Mitra and Ron Sweet from the departments of management science and statistics, information systems and cyber security and finance, respectively.
“Through the Business Honors Program, I was surrounded by like-minded, driven students,” said Okhiria, who was named a Distinguished Business Student based on his academic achievement, leadership skills and participation in the college’s experiential programs. “That connection with my peers was instrumental for me.”
Serving on the advisory board for the Business Honors Program, he developed new ideas and initiatives to benefit fellow business honors students and served on the planning committee for the college’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium.
“Our advisor Susan Colorado was instrumental in helping me branch out,” said Okhiria.
Okhiria was active with Cyber Jedis and served on the President’s Student Advistory Coucil. Cyber Jedis is a student organization that provides a collaborative space for students to enhance their knowledge in cybersecurity. College deans nominate one student each year to serve on the President’s Student Advisory Council, where they meet with President Taylor Eighmy to learn about UTSA initiatives and advocate for their peers.
As part of its mission to create an environment where students from all backgrounds can excel, UTSA also encourages students to participate in experiential learning opportunities such as internships, which help students gain the hard and soft skills that are in demand by employers.
Although the pandemic interfered with some of Okhiria’s plans, he was able to complete two internships while at UTSA. The first was a virtual experience with the Federal Aviation Administration, and the second was an in-person job with Valero as an information services intern.
“My internship experiences taught me to be agile and adaptable to various situations,” said Okhiria. “I learned how to interact in a corporate environment and the importance of internal networking. Ultimately, it helped me discover my love of project management.”
Okhiria plans to work in the field of technical program management, leading complex projects and collaborating with engineering teams to bring new products and features to market.
Okhiria credits the faculty, staff and the resources provided at UTSA with helping him succeed.
“I was able to get a better understanding of what I wanted to accomplish in life as well as feel supported to strive for those seemingly unattainable goals,” he said.
Wanting to give back to his fellow Roadrunners, Okhiria offered these tips for professional success.
“First, start early in your academic career, don’t wait until your junior year to begin networking and learning about your career path,” he said. “Be bold, take initiative and don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams.”
UTSA is a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity. It is one of few colleges or universities in the nation – and the only HSI – to have three National Centers of Academic Excellence designations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency.
The university is home to five cybersecurity research centers and institutes— the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the National Security Collaboration Center, the Institute for Cyber Security, the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security and the Cyber Center for Security and Analytics.
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