Thursday, May 23, 2024

From UTSA to D.C.: Grad Conrad Finos is prepared for State Dept. career

From UTSA to D.C.: Grad Conrad Finos is prepared for State Dept. career

MAY 10, 2024 — Conrad MacLennan Finos’ UTSA journey has been one of profound growth, built on a desire to make a global impact in society. An Austin native, he will graduate with his B.B.A. in Cyber Security this May from the Carlos Alvarez College of Business at UTSA. After he graduates in May, he will participate in an international internship in Panama as a representative of the U.S. Department of State. Then he’ll join the agency full-time in Washington, D.C. this fall as a diplomatic information specialist.  

It is a career that Finos views as a perfect amalgamation of his skills and interests.

From a young age, the UTSA undergraduate was captivated by cybersecurity, sparked by an interaction with a cyber professional who introduced him to the industry. The discussion enlightened him about the pivotal role cybersecurity professionals play in safeguarding information in an era marked by rapid technological advancements.

“Our society’s shift toward technology means an increased risk of data theft, and it’s up to individuals like me to manage these threats.”

“Our society’s shift toward technology means an increased risk of data theft, and it’s up to individuals like me to manage these threats,” Finos said.

The graduate’s choice to attend UTSA was a calculated one, influenced by the university’s top-ranked cybersecurity program and the strategic opportunities it offered close to home.

“UTSA was just far enough from Austin to push my boundaries,” he said.

As member of the UTSA Honors College, Finos made the most of his time at UTSA, pushing himself academically and getting involved in several on-campus organizations that shaped his leadership and community service ethos. He was active in the Student Government Association, the UTSA Volunteer Organization Involving Community, Education and Service and the Omega Delta Phi Fraternity. This participation helped him forge significant connections and contribute to the university community meaningfully.

A standout experience was his trip to Japan with the Honors College, which broadened his cultural horizons and deepened his respect for global traditions.

“I was blown away by how efficiently they live in Japan and their heightened affinity to nature. I will never forget the lavish meals and how cramped the spaces were being a six-foot, two-inch tall Texan,” Finos reflected. Trilingual in English, Spanish and Japanese, he was able to exercise his language skills overseas, furthering his appreciation for cultural exploration.

Finos’ practical experience in cybersecurity began in the summer of 2023 with an impactful internship with the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., as part of a Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship. Here, Finos experienced the working environment of a government institution powered by the strength of relationships with other countries, all while learning about the policies and procedures that the Department of State runs. This role provided him with invaluable insights into the operations of international relations and the importance of cybersecurity within governmental frameworks.

“It was an incredible opportunity to learn about the intricacies of diplomacy and the critical role technology plays,” he said.

Reflecting on his academic experience, Finos said he most values the relationships he built at UTSA.

“The connections I’ve made here are my greatest achievement,” he said.

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Beyond his career with the State Department, Finos aspires to further his education and eventually venture into the private sector to explore innovations in virtual and augmented reality.

As Finos sets his sights on the future, his evolution has come full circle, from an inquisitive young student to a cybersecurity expert ready to influence the world.

To current and future UTSA students, Finos offers advice rooted in his own experiences.

“Utilize the resources available to you, from academic help to mental health support,” he said. “Balancing your well-being with academic and professional pursuits is key to not just surviving but thriving in college.”

Rebekah Alegria

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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