Andres Perez is preparing for a career in cybersecurity through a combination of the iSchool's MS in information management (MS/IM) program and the Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program (ICSSP), a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program funded by the National Science Foundation. Perez applied for the ICSSP—which provides full tuition, a stipend, and development opportunities for students who want to specialize in cybersecurity and privacy—to "grow as a professional and contribute to a greater mission."
Why did you decide to pursue an IM degree?
After working in IT for a number of years, I realized that data had become a valuable asset that can impact individuals and organizations in many different ways. From socioeconomics and human behavior to technology and security, among many others, I wanted to deepen my understanding of how various factors interact to influence the data we have come to rely on in our daily lives.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
The MS/IM program at the iSchool makes it possible for me to customize a curriculum that caters to my interests and supports my career goals. Combined with the academic reputation of the University of Illinois, I am confident that my education at the iSchool will help transform me into the professional I hope to become in the future.
What particular IM topics interest you the most?
My interests focus primarily on the policy and HCI [human-computer interaction] aspects of information assurance, particularly how users and organizations respond to data policies and the influencing factors that shape the policies themselves.
What do you do outside of class?
I love to travel. Before recent global events, I used to make at least three trips abroad a year. Experiencing other cities and cultures firsthand will always be exciting to me. Whether it's been group travel with friends or backpacking solo, it has certainly been fun to get my money's worth out of my passports.
What career plans or goals do you have?
I plan to start a long career navigating the conflicts that straddle information technologies, data policies, and the human user. Given the many factors that create information, working in this growing field will allow me to continue learning from experts of all backgrounds and disciplines; hopefully, I will also travel a lot throughout the process.