Transfer support, great courses help UHCL alum launch career at Lockheed Martin
Helga Schmidt knew that if she wanted to improve her employment options, she had to complete her education. After receiving her associate’s degree from a community college in California, she and her husband and two small children moved to Houston, where she found her opportunity at University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Schmidt, who grew up in Germany and moved to the U.S. in 2014, was adjusting to a new culture and trying to learn English while working on her associate’s in California.
“I first thought I wanted my degree in computer science, but decided that information technology would be a better fit for me,” she said. “My transfer experience to UH-Clear Lake started out with a lot of difficulty, but luckily, I found (Director of Transfer Advising and Student Transitions) Kristi Rickman. She was dedicated to helping me get most of my credits accepted.”
Having taken three years to complete her associate’s, Schmidt said that she was happy for the transfer support she received because she wanted to move forward quickly with her bachelor’s degree.
“I had already taken three years and I did not want to take more time than I needed to finish my degree,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to repeat courses I had taken. I wanted to graduate and start working as soon as possible.”
She said that because she had already done courses in website development in community college, as well as completed an internship as a front-end web developer, she already felt invested in the field of information technology.
“That’s why I decided on an Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Applied Science with Specialization in Information Technology at UHCL,” she said. “I also have a minor in cybersecurity. I am already deep in the field of IT, so this is in the realm of where I feel comfortable.”
Working for two years at Mori Associates, a NASA contractor, while attending UHCL helped with work experience and gaining leadership skills.
“I joined a lot of student orgs and I’m so happy I did that,” she said. “It increased my language ability, and I learned teamwork and time management. These ‘soft skills’ aren’t really taught in class and they are very important. And when I was Senator Representative for the College of Science and Engineering in Student Government, I learned so much and it made me want to further develop myself.”
She said her courses with (Lecturer in Cyber Security) Josh Baker in cyber security were very important, as well as her computer forensics classes. “I also learned a lot in (Senior Lecturer/System Administrator of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems) Krishani Abeysekera’s networking class. That helped me understand networks and how to troubleshoot them,” she said.
Schmidt said UHCL gave her the education she needed and taught her the fundamentals upon on which she will build her career. After graduating in December 2022, she found the job she hoped for as a cyber system security engineer at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth. “This is the job I wanted, and I think it’s a great start,” she said. “In a few years, I hope I’m a few levels above this position.”
For more information about UHCL’s Bachelor of Applied Science with Specialization in Information Technology, go online.