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Alum says his computer science degrees gave him all the tools he needed to be successful in his career

Written by: Lauren Sawyer

Find ways to put yourself to good use in this very special academic community. In this way, you ensure success for all new incoming students. 

John Paul Garcia
John Paul Garcia, a successful UHCL alumnus and founder of 'Office Productivity Solutions.'

When John Paul Garcia finished high school, he had a full academic scholarship to University of Houston (UH) to study engineering. But in 1994, he paused his education and entered the workforce. Garcia intended to finish school, but with his growing family and a long work commute, the timing was very compressed for the Houston native. Although things turned out differently than he expected, he knew he wanted to finish what he started.

 Once Garcia proceeded with his quest to complete his degree, he decided to attend the University of Houston- Clear Lake (UHCL). Not only did he acquire one degree, but he acquired two. Garcia received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2016, and a Master of Science in Computer Science in 2018.  

“UH-Clear Lake was a natural decision for me,” Garcia said. “In 1995, I promised myself I would finish my education no matter what life threw at me. I am nothing if not persistent.”  

When Garcia started school at UHCL in 2013, he had already built a cybersecurity career bringing technology solutions to large companies in Houston. But he said he still had to keep his promise to himself. According to Garcia, UHCL offered a rigorous curriculum that aided his professional development and gave him the confidence to tackle any challenge in the computing sector.

“Computer Science is a field of study that is applicable in most professional settings,” said Garcia. “I've started a single person consultancy called ‘Office Productivity Solutions’ where I help companies get the most from their current and future technology investments securely and sustainably. UHCL equipped me with a skillset that has allowed me to pursue these objectives.” 

During his collegiate journey, Garcia said he experienced some minor setbacks.  

“There were some family health issues. Fortunately, UHCL served as a support system, enabling me to work through issues I had in my personal life. No question about it, the staff at UHCL are outstanding,” said Garcia.

While attending UHCL, Garcia recalled two faculty members who influenced him the most.  

“Dr. Sharon Hall and I coincidentally have a common friend, and she was a wonderful mentor in forming my plans,” said Garcia. “Dr. Al- Mubaid was also always willing to help when it came to focusing on my career plans and completing the curriculum.” 

Garcia currently runs his cybersecurity business, enjoys exercising and playing chess. The avid runner has completed over 20 marathons and loves all things cybersecurity.        

 “I’ve always loved puzzles, so cybersecurity ‘fills the bill.’ It requires a lot of out-of-the- box thinking and reverse engineering of systems and attack vectors,” Garcia said. “I love the idea of protecting businesses and systems; that’s what cybersecurity is all about.” 

Garcia developed a passion for cybersecurity at a young age and built his first computer at 15. Over the years, he has completed risk assessments, deployed secure wireless networks, enabled remote access using encrypted security keys, and even migrated data across the public internet using VPNs. He credits UHCL for helping prepare him for this work, and wants students to know that UHCL is always in their corner and to take advantage of all the resources available to complete their studies.

 He added that UH has a nationally broadcasted radio segment, “The Engines of Our Ingenuity,” that continues to inspire him to develop great solutions, and is worth a listen for students needing creative stimulation. 

For more information about UHCL’s Computer Science program, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/computer-science-bs