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I-FOCUS-CS Scholars


 

Here are the I-FOCUS-CS scholarship recipients (sorted by lastname) and their stories:



Students who graduated


Richard Dreyer
Junior (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Graduated in Fall 2019

Major: Computer Science

I grew up with computers, I like building things, I didn't quite grasp physics enough to continue trying for Computer or Electrical Engineering, and there are still emerging ideas and technologies in the field of software and computer science, so there's still room for the discipline to grow rapidly. I'm especially interested in trying to solve certain problems using math skills as I believe that is more the core of Computer Science. In past work, I've been exposed to both industry and research and was given relative autonomy in both. Industry is less stressful while research is far more rewarding when things work and demoralizing when it doesn't. What I need is at least a Bachelor's from a recognized institution at a minimum to finally be able to work in these fields, but to me the more interesting areas (Penetration Testing, Database Architecture, Machine Learning, etcetera.) are only available at the Master's level, so I may very well continue my education if the opportunity presents itself. Originally from the Bay Area of California, the high cost of living there and the opportunities offered at San Antonio brought me here. With the I-FOCUS-CS Scholarship, this will help me afford education as well as make available opportunities outside of core academics to learn as much as possible about the current state of the art of the discipline of Computer Science.

Keegan Knisely
Junior (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Graduated in Fall 2019

Major: Computer Science

I decided to major in Computer Science because it would be the most advantageous to achieving my goals. I am interested in working for the United States government's defense network. To work for The US Department of Defense or the NSA would be my main goal. Any way I can help protect this country. I was previously in the United States Air Force and currently a student under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This scholarship will be helpful in keeping me from being required to get a full time job. As a married man with 2 kids, anything that can help financially and also increase the chances of success and the expedience of completion is always welcome. My previous experience with CS is the transfer classes I've taken and the courses I've completed here at UTSA. I've also learned much from my experiences in the Air Force.

Jennifer Nguyen
Junior (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Graduated in Spring 2020

Major: Computer Science

I was first introduced to this subject matter by a Female Teacher back in the year 2015. She told me that I was bright in problem-solving and I was passionate enough to be odd amongst the evens. Being a blank canvas at the time, I was unsure of what career to pursue much like my peers around me. However, the words she spoke at that time were very enlighting as they were confusing. It got me curious about the possibilities on the matters she taught. The terms "Computer Science" is a very broad umbrella for the uncountable and diverse fields I soon discovered. It has allowed me to continuously re-discover the mechanics of the worlds. It makes me question myself and the way I had subjectively thought about the smallest and most random thing. The studies of Computer Science was my gateway. I want to see how far I can go. I am currently trying to pursue a summer internship for the year 2019 to gain experience in the working field. In the Fall of 2018, I am prioritizing my academic first, however, I will be working on gaining an on-campus job that deals with my field of study if there are openings available. I am considering concentrating in Data Science.

Tiffany Tsai
Junior (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Graduated in Spring 2020

Major: Computer Science

Many factors contribute to why I am interested in designing and developing computer software. While I enjoy the logical challenges within computer science I also relish the creative work, which fits in with my love for Drama and my enjoyment of drawing. Computer Science impacts every part of our lives from banking to the way we play music; from animated films and video games to databases and its importance will only grow every year. I want to be part of computer science's progress into the future. To broaden my ability I would like to learn to develop advanced software to solve real-life problems. I have just started to learn C++ giving me more tools to use and a greater sense of control when creating software as well as a different approach to solving problems like when my friends ask me for help. I would like to learn other languages to aid my ability in designing software. Within university I hope to learn about designing and building software for computer systems, learning from the expertise of experts in the field. My ability to think consciously about the creative work and my teamwork skills will surely aid me in creating my own software in the future. Studying computer science will advance my skills and ability to build new innovative programs which I have begun to experience when programming in Python.


Students who are currently in good standing


David Akusu
Senior (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Stony Point High School. I remember taking a computer science elective and I was very confused at all the different programming concepts but I was also pleasantly intrigued. Fast forward to college at the University of Texas at San Antonio, I've taken various classes ranging from systems programming to game development to database systems and so forth. I've excelled during my college career for various reasons but prominently because I have a vast interest in technology which enables me to consistently ask questions. I'm currently a Cyber Security Intern at MITRE where I've worked on projects ranging from python development for web crawling tools to intensive web development for usability testing. I've also done research on usability testing. My future plans including building my professional catalog in industry, managing my own projects one day, and possibly creating my own startup. This scholarship will help me achieve my goals currently and in the future. It will motivate me to finish my senior year strong and start my career even stronger.

Christian Bargraser
Sophomore (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I have been taking programming classes since I was in the tenth grade in High School. I was first introduced to Java when I took a Computer Science class my tenth-grade year. I really enjoyed programming and decided to take AP Computer Science my eleventh-grade year. Towards the end of the school year, I took the AP Computer Science exam from College Board and got a 4. In order to further my understanding of Java, I took Pre-AP Computer Science 2 my twelfth-grade year and learned more advanced topics such as game development, threads, and user events. Around this time, I decided that I wanted to major in Computer Science. My studies have continued here at UTSA where I have taken Intro to Programming 1 and Intro to Programming 2. I am currently in Data Structures, where I am learning how to use data structures and efficiently manage memory. I know that I have barely scratched the surface of the vast world of Computer Science and look forward to taking upper division courses. These courses will teach me the advanced skills and concepts required for specialized jobs. When I first came to UTSA, I aspired to become a Software Developer for a company such as Google or Oracle. However, I am very interested in Cyber Security and I think that I may end up pursuing a career in the field. My dream is to someday work as a Cyber Security Analyst for the FBI or NSA. The upper division courses I'll take in the upcoming years will prepare me for such a job. Prior to being awarded the I-FOCUS-CS Scholarship, I did not know how I was going to pay for the remainder of college. This scholarship has given me the reassurance that I will be able to complete college. The I-FOCUS-CS scholarship has given me the opportunity to attain a higher education and to someday make important contributions to the worlds of Computer Science and Cyber Security.

Zach Carson
Junior (Class of Fall 2020)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I enjoy solving problems. Out of all the fields of study, computer science is the only one where I'm free to explore. There is vert little restrictions to what I can do. Another reason I am interested in computer science is how much of an impact I can make on the world with it. Technology is deeply rooted in our society and it is constantly evolving. The smallest innovation in the Computer science field can drastically change the dynamics of our world and it is something I want to be a part of. Learningis essential to being able to inovate for the future. Either academic research or entrepreneurship. When I graduate from utsa I want to be in a position where I am able to research and develop new techniques and technology that can make a lasting impact In the world.

Derek Cox
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Byron P. Steele II High School in 2018. I will be studying Computer Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the I-FOCUS-CS scholarship will help me attain my dream. My introduction into Computer Science was at a summer coding camp and technology has always been an important part of my life. Software has always interested me the most out of tech because of its ability to make any hardware better and its ability to be adapted to ones intent. I love problem solving and creating things that can help people and Computer Science is the perfect path to fulfill my interests. Various technologies like algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and cyber security are exciting to me and I would love to work with them. My future career goals after graduation are to commission in the U.S. Air Force or work with the Department of Defense as a software engineer, cyber security engineer, or any computer science jobs that the country needs at the time. After about 20 years of service to my country, I would love to join a company like Google or a startup as a software engineer to work on beneficial projects like Artificial Intelligence or new algorithms to help the world. Computer Science will allow me to carryout my passion of technology to help the world and the I-FOCUS-CS scholarship will help me accomplish it. I am very grateful for this opportunity and excited to be able to achieve my dream.

Brent Delia
Senior (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I initially self-taught myself programming in junior high to make games. I started taking CS courses in high school, where I took interest in problem solving and was heavily involved with UIL competitions. Learning everything I did about programming just felt so natural, like it was geared for me. This was when I wanted to major in CS and further took my education to UTSA where I transferred to in Fall 2019. At UTSA, I am very involved with ACM and I'm currently the director for ICPC, an ACM subgroup where we focus on problem solving and compete against other universities across the region, state, and world. As of now, my goal with CS is to learn as much as I can, and to make an impact in the technological industry. What I love about CS is how much you can make with it; it's hard to choose what exactly I want to do with it because I love everything about CS and all the types of applications you can make with it. I'm very grateful for I-FOCUS because this will help me fulfill my journey to learn and grow as a computer scientist.

Colin Durham
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from the STEM Academy at Lee High School in 2018. I was a programmer on my school's FIRST Robotics team that same year. The previous summer, I had an internship as an IT for Bexar County. I am interested in studying Computer Science because computers have been my life. I know that these boxes of plastic and silicon have defined the present and will shape the future, and I want to be part of that body at the helm. They have helped us extend and defy our limits for over a century, and I am excited to see and discover what they will allow us to accomplish in the future. I want to learn all I can so I know what there is still to achieve. I want to get both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Computer Science. Once that's said and done, I'll delve into software engineering or something else software-related. I would love to help turn new ideas and solutions into reality. That may sound like something that's difficult, and it often is, but it's not done by one person alone. I don't have to have a high-level job in order to help. Every position has its own unique purpose, and I'm itching to take whatever position I'm needed in to help bring about changes for the better.

Kathryn Dyches
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Floresville High School in 2018. I've taken computer science classes throughout high school, as well as supplementary courses on Codecademy in my free time. I've always enjoyed learning about programming, ever since I was a child scouring the internet for the secrets behind my favorite video games. The endless possibilities of technology fascinate me, and I think I have the potential to contribute innovative new ideas to the field of computer science through research opportunities at UTSA. My ultimate dream would be to develop software for Microsoft or Google, hopefully inspiring others to follow their dreams along the way. The I-FOCUS-CS scholarship will help me take the first steps into my bright future.

Alexandra Garcia
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Refugio High School in 2018.I became intrigued with computer science when I began to question how a computer functions. We are constantly surrounded by technology, although not many people could tell me how technology is put together and how code makes technology perform different tasks. Soon after I found Computer Science and knew that was the major I wanted to pursue. Since we did not have an actual class in high school to learn about computer science, I took it upon myself to learn during my free time. I participated in the University Interscholastic League(U.I.L) computer science team to increase and challenge my knowledge of computer science. I placed 6th my Junior year and 4th my Senior year. I am aiming to get my Bachelors degree or a higher degree in computer science. I hope to one day create programs and be confident in my skills. I would want to have a job where I am happy at and support my family. I would love to become a software engineer or be in cyber security. This scholarship has not only given me the financial support to accomplish my dreams, but also the emotional support. I did not think I was capable of pursuing a major in computer science or even attending a university. Although, the support I have inspires me greatly to believe in myself and make any dream possible.

Kassie Garcia
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Earl Warren High School in San Antonio, Texas in 2018. During my senior year I took Computer Science Pre-AP, as well as participated in U.I.L. CS Academic events. When it comes to computer science, I am keen on coding arithmetic, the feeling of making everything from scratch, and the diversity of directions computer science has to offer. Personally, I view coding as an art form. There's so much room for creative expression within computer science, and I definitely plan on taking a creative path within the CS field. My goal is not only to mix the arts and coding together, but to develop helpful programs catered to those that don't get enough attention when it comes to the STEM programs/inventions (women, minorities). I am very grateful to have I-FOCUS-CS supporting me of this journey, and cannot wait to see where the help of this scholarship will lead me.

Victoria Garcia
Senior (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

During my senior year of Communications Arts High School, we were given a senior project of finding a mentor in our future career. As a last resort, I chose computer science. Back then I was hardly familiar with computers or programming. After working with my mentor and building a website, I knew that this was my future career. I loved the process of building an idea from scratch, all the way to watching it become a useful product. As a student in computer science, it has challenged me in more ways than I imagined. I've gained important skills that will further me in my future career. After being exposed to the industry through four internships, I am looking forward to graduating to join the industry. Through my experience, I am most interested in Cloud Computing. I find Cloud Computing so fascinating as major technology companies, continue to rely heavily on it. Computer Science has a wide range of fields that will fill my passion for software engineering that could possibly change the world. With the I-FOCUS-Scholarship it will allow me to continue my education and reach my future goals.

Jarrett Homan
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Vandegrift High School in 2018. I am interested in Computer Science because I see the potential for computers to do so much more than they currently are. I believe that once we are able to have a computer think, behave, and act in a manner similar to humans, a whole new set of problems and solutions will emerge. I want to be apart of the technological revolution, and make my mark while we are still in the early stages of computing technology. I first started programming when I was 11 years old. Minecraft was the new hit game at the time, and I wanted to modify it to make the game more enjoyable. YouTube tutorial videos helped me grasp the basics of the Java programming language, and with it, I began to make Minecraft mods (modifications). This scholarship will help me achieve my goals by allowing me to fully devote my time to my studies, while not having to worry about how I would pay for them. It has greatly reduced my financial burden, and I am grateful for that.

Katie Kalthoff
Junior (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I am from Pearsall, Texas and graduated from Pearsall High School in 2018. I was initially introduced to programming and computer science through the Pre-freshman Engineering Program. In my 4th year of PREP, I was introduced to python and wrote my first program on a Raspberry Pi. I loved that programming was both challenging and enjoyable. I also appreciated that creativity and problem solving were a big part of computer science. From then on I knew that computer science would be a field that I would truly enjoy. During the past two years at UTSA, I have learned over 5 programming languages and have developed a foundation in computer science that can be applied to many different career paths. However, I am most interested in the cyber security and networking fields of computer science. I am currently pursuing the cyber operations track for my CS degree here at UTSA, and hope to become a Network Security Engineer or a Cyber Security Analyst after graduating. Outside of UTSA, I am an intern for the Department of Defense during the summers and plan to continue my career with the DoD after graduation. Another goal I have is to work towards my master's degree in CS. The I-FOCUS-CS scholarship program will help me achieve all of my academic and career goals. This program has given me the ability to focus solely on my academics and has also given me a great group of students and mentors to work with. I am so grateful to be a part of the program, and I am excited to see what my future has in store for me.

Gabriel Kao
Senior (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

After getting a degree in Marketing and experiencing the field first-hand, it was abundantly clear that A) marketing wasn't for me, and B) that Data Science played a strong role in the success of marketers and the company alike. This was the genesis of my interest in Computer Science. Soon I'll be graduating with my degree with a concentration in DS and I'm currently interviewing for opportunities in Austin (pandemic-be-willing)! One key to success has been being able to stay laser-focused on fast-tracking my education, and I'm grateful to the I-FOCUS program for taking a bit of the financial burden off of my shoulders and allowing me to hone in on what's important.

Brian King
Junior (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I chose the computer science field because I had a yearning to build things and with a computer, I would have all the tools I would need at my fingertips. I never had any prior experience with computers, and only had ever used them in the most basic sense to perform job functions. I had no idea how complex and challenging the systems and field were and now I am hooked. My favorite thing about computer science is how much I still don know and programming. I love learning and no matter what I am working on there is still things that make me want to research further and understand more. As a non-traditional and first-generation student, I am so grateful for the I-FOCUS-CS scholarship and how it has enabled me to continue my studies in computer science. During my current studies I have concentrated in software engineering and love all aspects of engineering process. My goals are to further pursue my education after obtaining my undergraduate degree, work on personal projects and build software in industry.

"
Elijah Lozano
Senior (Class of Spring 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

My whole life I have had a fascination with technology and computers. I remember my family getting our first desktop PC back in 2005 or so. I didn't know why I thought it was so cool but I knew I wanted to be on and it and explore everything it could do. Fast-forward to my second year at Lakeview college, I was a Finance major-to-be and in a business applications class. My professor was highly passionate about technology and went into a brief history of computers. He was the first person who taught me that computers only understood binary, 1s and 0s. I found myself captivated and inspired by his excitement and optimism about computers. One day, as class went on and my professor would have his moments of excitement talking about technology, I questioned myself: ""Why am I not studying this?"" My interest was clearly so strong that that's all I wanted to learn about. So, that day I went to the main office and changed my major to Computer Science. I haven't looked back. CS truly has become my destiny's calling, it's what I know I'm meant to do. I knew I wanted to be a programmer as soon as I read a description of what one does. I am grateful for Professor Helinsky's influence on me and my love for CS has only grown stronger as I have progressed. Transferring to UTSA was difficult, because we learned C++ and Java in my programming fundamentals classes at Lakeview. Data Structures was taught in C, a language quite frightening to someone who only is used to high-level, beginner programming. I ended up having to drop DS to take Programming II at UTSA so learn C. And learn C I did. With a passionate determination, I became very comfortable with pointers by practicing and focusing with all of my will. I came back to DS and aced the course. From then on, I got great satisfaction in learning the more complex data structures with their accompanying algorithms. I was on my way to becoming really good! Something I have always wanted. I didn't just want to be good, I wanted to be great. And that is something I still strive for to this day. Presently I am in my final year at UTSA, about to graduate with my B.S. in CS and Software Engineering. My future plans include working locally in the San Antonio tech industry to get industry experience and progress as a software engineer. Later, I will move to Austin, Texas to work for a few companies before doing everything in my power to become a Software Engineer at Apple, where I hope to ultimately progress to Senior level at the pinnacle of my career. Some things I may do are become a professor after I retire from industry to teach the next generation of CS students, and hopefully inspire kids the way my professor inspired me. I also want to personally mentor CS students while I am in the industry. I care deeply about supporting people who are going after their dreams. This scholarship has helped me tremendously. Not having to worry about expenses to support my education is paramount. It made my stress level so much lower and helped me to stay optimistic during this incredibly difficult time we have all had with COVID-19. I am grateful for this opportunity and encourage every prospective CS student to apply and participate!

"
Garrett Lyssy
Junior (Class of Fall 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Falls City High School in 2018. It wasn't until my junior year of high school that I realized my love for computers. I had just built my first pc and realized that I wanted to continue learning more about computers. I knew I wanted to major in something that dealt with computers and CS fit that perfectly. I had not had experience in CS prior to college, but I love everything about CS. This scholarship progresses me towards my life long goal of working for the FBI. With this scholarship, I can focus solely on school and not have to take a part-time job in order to afford college. I look forward to what the future holds for me and graduating with a BS in Computer Science from UTSA.

Jason McCollough
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School in Spring 2018. During my time there, I have taken Computer Science 1 and Computer Science 2 (one semester). I have also taken Auto Cad as well as built and animated projects in Blender. I am interested in studying Computer Science because technology is so omnipresent in today's society. All the changes and new discoveries fascinate me daily. I want to learn more about the evolving world of technology in finer detail through a computer science major. During my time at UTSA, I want to secure internships at tech companies and even work for one sometime after graduating. In addition, I have a great interest in Artificial Intelligence so maybe I will involve myself in an AI project in the future. Being a recipient of the I-Focus-CS Scholarship will allow me to unleash my full potential in programming and studies without having to worry about funding.

Edward Monsibaiz
Junior (Class of Fall 2021)
Entered in Fall 2019, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

When I was young, I enjoyed creating a lot of different things; Drawings, comics, animations, music and board games. When I was 13, I wanted to create a video game for me and my friends to play. I ended up creating a video game with high level programming skills and found so much enjoyment in creating my own video game program. Years pass by and I almost forgot my passion for creating programs until I reached 19 years old at college. I took a computer science course to find out if this was the major I wanted to enroll in and was immediately immersed in coding. I knew this was my passion and decided to major in Computer Science with a concentration in Software Engineering and Cyber Security. I love CS because it is like an art form. There is no right or wrong way to code, but there are ways to improve your code, and if you are creative enough, you can find new and innovated solutions to real-world problems. It is also engaging to find out how the inner connections of a computer work, or how a web server can be hosted which has always been a mysterious for as long as I could remember. I thrive on teamwork driven projects and plan to one day join a software development team in software programs or web servers. Thanks to this scholarship, I will achieve my goal in one day becoming a software developer. If it weren for this scholarship, I would have dropped out of college as I had no means of supporting myself through rent and college because I unfortunately grew up in poverty and struggled keeping myself afloat with a paycheck to paycheck job. Now I able to focus on what I really enjoy, in studying computers and the science behind it. I am very grateful for the opportunity I-FOCUS-CS has provided for me.

Jose Morales
Junior (Class of Fall 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from United High School in Laredo, Texas, in 2017. During the last two years of high school, my mind was set on studying Mechanical Engineering since my strength was towards mathematics. During my senior year in High School, I was introduced to coding by an intro to web design course and realized technology had always been my passion. After further research, I changed paths towards Computer Science because of its diversity and problem-solving nature. So far, these three years at UTSA have taught me the real complexity and dedication the CS career path requires, and has satisfied my hunger to learn and innovate, unlike any other field. Currently, I am pursuing a cybersecurity concentration to learn how to protect computer networks and private data. With the help of the I-FOCUS-CS scholarship, I'll be able to focus more time on school and academic events, helping benefit my future career. Upon graduation, I plan to gain experience to one day work with our national government and protect the U.S. from future cyber threats. I much appreciate the help from I-FOCUS-CS!

Elizabeth Nguyen
Senior (Class of Summer 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I have been in love with programming since the eighth grade ever since I started programming Lego robots for the robotics club at my junior high. In high school I enrolled myself into a Game Development and the AP Computer Science class, so that I could learn more about becoming a developer and what fields I can explore pursuing a computer science major. I became a computer science major because I want to impact the world and help improve the lives of others through code. As a software developer for the point of sell company, InfoTouch, for the past two and a half years I have learned a lot on databases, coding procedures, software development life cycle, and the process for creating new modules. I fall more in love with technology, programming, and project management as I continue working for my degree and gaining experience at InfoTouch. The I-Focus scholarship helps me by alleviating financial strain, so that I can continue learning and refining my skills.

Seyma Oz
Junior (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

From my childhood, math and science classes were always my favorite classes and I always enjoyed solving problems and building things on my own. So, even though I have not taken any CS classes before starting college, I decided to major in Computer Science, since it would be the best fit for me. I am interested in developing AI systems, because I think it will be a big part of our lives. Also, I am tutoring some of the Computer Science courses under the I-FOCUS-CS with the happiness of helping people. For the future, my plan is to continue my education by getting a master degree. And after that, I would like to work in the industry. The I-FOCUS-CS scholarship will make a significant contribution to my continuing education and my future by allowing me to focus on my classes and not stressing about my financial situation.

Alana Quinones Garcia
Freshman (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2018, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I do not have a lot of experience in the Computer Science field because I only recently discovered my passion for the subject. However, once I discovered said passion, I took the only possible action I could at the time which was to enroll in an Introduction to Computer Science class during my senior year of high school. Moreover, I have experience in other STEM fields because I have taken college level dual-credit Biology, Chemistry, and Calculus classes. I am interested in studying Computer Science not only because am I intrigued by the development of popular applications and the software that I use on a daily basis but also because I want to learn how how to develop said applications and said software. Overall, studying Computer Science would allow me to satisfy my innate curiosity regarding the subject while also allowing me to make significant technological contributions to the world around me. In the future, I hope to become a program developer or a software engineer who constructs applications that help better the world around me. Additionally, I hope to become a prevalent female voice in the Computer Science field in order to show other women that they can pursue their goals in a male-dominated field. The I-FOCUS-CS scholarship will help me reach the aforementioned goals because it will alleviate some of the stress I have regarding my financial situation and allow me to focus more on the ways that I can better my studies and my future career.

Gilbert Ramirez
Senior (Class of Fall 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I am from California and I have been interested in computer systems since middle school. It started when I got my first virus on my home computer thanks to doing things I probably should not have. I was afraid of the scolding I would receive, so I ended up searching for tutorials and thanks to malwarebytes, my issue was resolved. Ever since then if anyone had a problem with their computer I would offer them my assistance and it would usually go well. I attribute my interest in CS thanks to my curiosity. Ever since I was small, I remember always being observant and wondered what the insides of things looked like and I remember people would make fun of my saying that I was in my imaginary world, but I really was just in thought. Although I have always been somewhat good with computers I never really got into real CS material until my college years started since my high school did not offer any classes on the subject. But I always knew that my future lied towards the CS path. But I built great foundations for CS through helping my father at his mechanic shop in high school. When I began helping him, everything was foreign to me. But as time went on, I began delivering more into the systems and understanding. What seemed like a complex system a few days ago, is now simple to understand. I believe that experience shaped me into who I am and gave me the courage that I can learn anything as long as I am persistent. In the future I will be a Cyber Security expert and hope to inspire those who may feel that they are not smartenough to be in the field. A glimmer of hope to those that believe that they are just averageand I will show them that if they work hard they may become whatever they want.

Ian Solis
Junior (Class of Spring 2022)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Americas High School in 2018. Here, I discovered my passion for engineering, science, mathematics, and programming, all of which have led me to succeed in my professional endeavors. Since my childhood, I have had a deep admiration for technology and a burning curiosity to explore my abilities within STEM. From Fall 2018 to Fall 2019, I attended the University of Texas at El Paso while being employed by the university makerspace. It was in this space where I honed my technical skills and prepared myself for opportunities ahead. After a year at UTEP, I decided to leave my nest and made my way to the University of Texas at San Antonio, continuing my pursuit of a B.S. in Computer Science. In my time at UTSA, I have had the opportunity to work alongside very talented individuals, both in class and in my jobs as a mathematics tutor and makerspace lab assistant. Although the direction by career is heading in may be uncertain, I continue to explore the many facets of computer science, such as robotics, graphics programming, and machine learning. Through the I-FOCUS-CS program, I can pursue a career in programming with security and confidence.

Tiffany Tran
Junior (Class of Fall 2021)
Entered in Fall 2020, Currently in Good Standing

Major: Computer Science

Technology is fascinating to me. Working on projects to make the world more automated and efficient is pretty exciting. There is a lot of things you can do with the ability to program and that is what excites me about Computer Science. I actually was super intimidated by computers and programming before entering college. I had felt like I was not smart enough even though I had taken Computer Programming I and II in high school. I really didn't learn anything, which led me to entering college NOT as a CS major. I ended up realizing the major I went for was not meant for me. So by going with what interested me (technology), following the flow, I ended up in my first computer programming course at my community college. Ended up loving it and staying in CS since then. After graduating with my Bachelor's degree I plan on getting a job as a programmer and slowly working towards getting my Master's. This scholarship has allowed me to focus on school and not worry about taking an extra job to pay for tuition. This program also allows me to utilizes tutors and helpers that I wouldn't have gotten if I was not a recipient.


Students who left the program


Loreal Cowdery
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Spring 2019, Changed Major

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Brennan High School in 2018. I've had some experience in the STEM fields. In high school, I prepared myself by taking advanced math and science courses such as Pre-Calculus Pre-AP, Chemistry Pre-AP, and Physics. Before that, I recall working on Lego robotics at school and working with several computer programs. I am interested in studying Computer Science because I want to immerse myself in a challenging but promising environment. I want to gain important skills that will take me far in life, and this path offers several emerging careers that are competitive in a way that will make me work harder to earn a spot. I want to have valuable experiences that will impact not only me, but others as well. By studying Computer Science, I can reach these heights with more intellect and great confidence. My future career goals are to become a software developer, possibly a video game designer because I admire the creativity and skills required to create something that is truly influential. I plan on finding internships that will provide me with great experience and to define my abilities even after school. I want to earn a Bachelor's Degree, but in the future, I may strive to earn a Master's Degree.

Marissa Rodriguez
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Spring 2020, Changed Major

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Travis Early College High School in 2018. Throughout middle school I was enrolled in technology centered classes where I was able to create blog posts, learn about computer hardware, and plan, film, and edit my own videos. In high school I took a basic IT class during my 2017 Fall semester at San Antonio College. Ever since I was younger I have always had a passion for learning and exploring anything that involves technology, primarily computers. I am always amazed at how far modern technology has come and I am excited to see how it will further develop in the future. Studying computer science will give me the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge on a subject that I have naturally come to appreciate not only for its functional purposes but also for its intricate yet artistic manner with a wide range of abilities to digitally store and create new things. I hope that in the future, after completing my degree, that I will be able to contribute to society by using my knowledge of computer science to create things that will serve a purpose to many people. After attending UTSA, and turning one of my life long passions into my future career, I would like to find a job that allows me to either live in another country or travel the world. Some career options that I have considered thus far include working for the federal government as an information system security specialist who manages global affairs, since I am also planning to minor in international studies. I would also love to work with big companies such as Google, Youtube, Twitter, and Apple as a data and information security manager or being part of a software engineering team. There are many plans and expectations that I hold for my future and I am fully aware that I have the potential to do great things with my life, starting with achieving a higher education through the amazing opportunity that this scholarship has given me.

Andres Roldan
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Spring 2019, Changed Major

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from the School of Science & Technology in 2018. Yes, I do have prior experience with STEM fields because of the school that I attended from seventh to twelfth grade. At my high school, we were given the opportunity to focus more on STEM subjects like maths and sciences. We would also do STEAM festivals annually, where we would be able to present projects about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and/or Math. I'm interested in studying Computer Science because of a program I took part in during my last two years of high school. The program is called Alamo Academies, where I was allowed to take classes that focused more on Information Technology. After taking their computer programming class, I really want to continue learning more about it. I believe that the best way to do that would be to major in Computer Science while I went to college. My future career goal is to earn my bachelor's degree in Computer Science so that I can further my career in IT. Another one of my goals is to get a financially stable job so that I can show my parents that all their hard work really did pay off.

Israel Valdez
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Summer 2019, Changed Major

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Seguin High School in 2016, and even though it's been a bit since high school, I'm finally ready to get going on my way to a degree in CS. I took Computer Science AP in high school, and fell in love with Computer Science. Computer Science is a form of logic and problem solving that I greatly enjoyed the moment I began taking part in it. I would like to become a software developer of some kind, actually hoping that the software I develop could be video games, particularly I'd love to have my own indie studio one day. I am very grateful for this scholarship as it is a large part of how I was able to come to school this year, and I am glad that with it I'll be able to focus on my classes, and not have to be stressing over the cost of my education. I am very glad that my dreams are coming to fruition through UTSA, the computer science department, and this scholarship which will allow me to gain the knowledge I need to get the degree I need.

Corbin Adams
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Fall 2019, Changed School

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Victoria West High School in 2017. In my freshman year of high school (2013-2014), I participated in a internship at the University of Houston at Victoria that used Lego Mindstorm to explore fundamentals of code. We used both visual based and text base code to program and solve problems involving the Lego robots. Before attending UTSA, I tutored Computer Science (along with Mathematics) at Victoria College. I was first interested in Computer Science when I took a beginners course in high school as a foreign language credit. I continued to pursue computer science after this because I both enjoyed creating code and I discovered I had a natural affinity for it. I enjoy the fact that creating code is exactly that: a creation, something that can be unique, and something a creator can pour their heart into. I have also been interested in computer science because of its broad applications, it can be applied and be useful almost anywhere. After graduating with what I plan to be Bachelors Degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics, depending on my financial situation, I plan to either go straight into the workforce as a software engineer, or stay in school and study Physics/Aerospace Engineering. This is because my long-term goal is to work at a privatized space industry, possibly SpaceX or Boeing, as a Software Engineer.

Desiree Gonzalez
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Spring 2019, Changed School

Major: Computer Science

I graduated from Weslaco High School in 2018. I have taken Computer Science Pre-Ap, AP Calculus AB, BIM I (Business Information Management), BIM II, DIM (Digital Interactive Media), and Accounting, courses that my school offered me. I also took part in after school clubs such as Business Professionals of America, UIL Accounting and was awarded honorable mention from NCWIT aspirations in computing (national center for women and information technology). I am interested in studying Computer Science, because I enjoy solving problems and hope to create something that will help make a difference in the world. I hope to reach many goals in my near future, but my top two goals is obtaining a career I am passionate about and making a difference in my community through technology.

Jesus Pena
Freshman (Class of )
Entered in Fall 2018, Left in Spring 2019, Changed School

Major: Computer Science

My interest in computers was sparked when I first got my hands on one. In elementary school, we were allowed to use the desktops only to take online tests and complete assignments on an education application. But while being an avid reader for as long I could write, these book tests were mind numbingly boring especially when you're a child who knows fully well that these computers are capable of other wonders - like video games ! Unfortunately, being caught playing games would constitute a phone call to home and a proper scolding, but my intrigue in computers had thus begun from an early age. Now an adult, my goals are to continue nurturing my interest and specialize in the cyber-security aspect of computer science. A field of enormous depth and one that is highly rewarding. But because I was fortunate enough to receive the CS-FOCUS award, dedication to the material and time spent practicing the latest penetration methods will be easier to come by. When I graduate, being employed by a company like Tesla or Nvidia to do their security networking would be fantastic. Not only because of their place in the tech community, but also because of their mission statement and achievements so far. However, I realize that it will be entirely dependent on my diligence and continued passion with computers and their potential.