Associate Degree in Cybersecurity Gives Hope to Family Man and is Opportunity for UST to Create Gateway B.A.s

By: Sandra Soliz
| Published 03/02/2021

Kyle Hubbard
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CONROE, TX -- A decade after suffering a career-ending injury during basic training for the U.S. Marines, Conroe native Kyle Hubbard works as a skilled auto parts manager. But the 34-year-old husband and father to a “beautiful” toddler son with autism felt a gnawing desire to be more.

Hubbard said, “Years ago when I got into auto parts, I just needed a job. I’m good with people and good at what I do, but I felt like I needed to settle for what I had because I was fearful of trying something new after losing the Marines.”

Drawn to coding and programming, he heard about the new Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Cybersecurity degree through the USTMAX Center, the University’s new micro-campus in Conroe.

Attractive Incentive for First Semester

“The first semester is free, and it’s 100% online,” he said. “When I get off from work at 10 p.m., I go kiss my son and wife and go into my office with a cup of coffee. It’s challenging, and I feel blessed that I got the opportunity. I want to do something important, be part of something important, something that helps somebody else.”

Hubbard is hopeful that he can turn the two-year program into a B.A. UST is working on that prospect as well.

Plans for Gateway to B.A. in Global Cybersecurity

UST Dean for Associates of Applied Sciences, Dr. Nicole McZeal Walters, said, “Our AAS program had incredible success with fall 2020 enrollment. This success presents the University with a golden opportunity to create gateway bachelor’s degree options for our AAS students to continue for an additional two years after completion of the AAS.”

Work is ongoing to seek UST approvals for a B.A. in Global Cybersecurity to launch as early as fall 2021 in both in-person and online formats. The new program will be led by a long-time instructor in cybersecurity affairs, Director Eric Botts, in the Department of International Studies & Modern Languages.

Also in Development: A Pathway to a B.A. in CLS and an AAS in Cybersecurity

Additionally, UST is developing a dedicated and accelerated pathway for students to receive a B.A. in Criminology, Law and Society (CLS) as well as their AAS in Cybersecurity.

Dr. Michael Kane, director of the CLS Program said, “Providing multiple degrees utilizing the most transparent and efficient pathway should enhance our graduates’ employment outcomes. The demand for intelligent, highly qualified individuals to address the problems of this century remains strong. This bold proposal is another step toward addressing the needs of the criminal justice system with information technology expertise.”

For Hubbard, the opportunity is overwhelming. “Thank you, UST, for giving me and my family hope again. When I walk on that campus and feel I’m part of something, I’m going to be overwhelmed emotionally and very happy. I’m conquering my fear of stepping out there by stepping into my dream to make a difference.”

For more information about the AAS in Cybersecurity, go here.

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