In this feature ATE Central continues our "I Am ATE" series, which showcases an ATE PI, staff member, industry partner, or other ATE stakeholder. We are excited to help spread the word about the wonderful people who are at the core of the ATE community and the innovative work everyone is doing.
Name: Diego Tibaquirá
Institution: Miami Dade College
Project Name: Cybersecurity Opportunities and Methods that Promote Access and Student Success (COMPASS)
ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?
Tibaquirá: We saw a need to increase and help balance the diversity of students entering the cybersecurity workforce. We wanted to increase the number of underrepresented minorities by helping them get into our programs and, once in the programs, stay and complete degrees. We realized that, through ATE, we could furnish the funds to help us create, invigorate, support and deliver great programs for our students and at the same time help us provide assistance to those of our students who would not otherwise be able to attend and participate. We saw a need (in our students and workforce) and we saw an opportunity (in ATE). We moved forward to help and maximize on both.
ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your project/center.
Tibaquirá: The program aims to (1) improve the understanding and evidence base regarding learning approaches and their impact on retention and completion of underrepresented students; (2) improve industry engagement through involvement with curriculum development; (3) increase the knowledge base on the effects of competency-based summer camps that result in industry certification and continuation into a cybersecurity-related degree program; (4) increase recruitment, retention, and completion of underrepresented students in cybersecurity programs; (5) increase the number of students who complete a College Credit Certificate and/or an AS in cybersecurity who are employed in industry; and (6) create dual enrollment pathways that retain cybersecurity majors from high school to two-year colleges.
ATE Central: What makes the work of your project/center unique?
Tibaquirá: We are trying to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the field of cybersecurity and bring more diversity to the workforce. ATE Central: Do you have any advice for new ATE grantees?
Tibaquirá: Have a plan and infrastructure in place to at least guide you through the process. Try to get support from your institutions to help you achieve your goals.
ATE Central: What's the best part about your work with ATE?
Tibaquirá: The opportunities it brings to all students, faculty, staff and the institution. You are NOT alone in this process; ATE provides a network of resources to get help from. Networking is another plus. ATE Central: Tell us about your favorite hobby.
Tibaquirá: Spending time with my three daughters and my wife. Running (I have completed 2 ultramarathons (59-plus miles and 32.5 miles), 10 full marathons, 20 half marathons, and multiple triathlons.
ATE Central: Is there something that people might be surprised to learn about you, or something else you'd like to share?
Tibaquirá: I grew up in Da Bronx, New York and I’m a BIG Yankees fan. I’m a former United States Marine and after the Marines I worked for the Department of Defense in Washington DC.