Fidelia Hernandez Guzman
Women in STEM
Student pursues BAS in Cybersecurity and Forensics
Searching for a way to support her family, Fidelia Hernandez Guzman moved to the United States from Oaxaca, Mexico seven years ago in search of better education, better job opportunities and a better life.
“I faced many challenges, but hopefully my story will help others,” Hernandez Guzman said.
She immediately began taking classes to learn English and decided to pursue her college degree. After considering health care, the Seattle resident became interested in cybersecurity as a career and enrolled in Highline’s Cybersecurity and Forensics program.
In summer 2019, Hernandez Guzman interned with the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), a research center that uses advanced computing to answer the world’s most complex questions.
Hernandez Guzman’s internship was within TACC’s Cyberinfrastructure Research 4 Social Change program in summer 2019. During it, she studied the Waller Creek District, an Austin landmark and urban waterway that helps reduce the risk of flooding in downtown Austin. She contributed to the Waller Creek virtual reality experience, which allows stakeholders to simultaneously view many geographical layers of water quality data.
“Fidelia is an extremely dedicated student,” said Anne Bowen, a research scientist in TACC’s Visualization Technologies Group. “She helped determine the key factors that would help the general public better understand the ecological importance of Waller Creek. Her efforts added a personal dimension to the data analysis that connected the viewer to the scientist in virtual reality.”
Hernandez Guzman recently graduated from Highline with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity and Forensics. She currently works as a program specialist in TRiO, a federally-funded program within Highline College that provides low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities support to help them persist towards graduation.
She’s also currently employed by Pacific Publishing Inc. in Bellevue as a software engineer.
“I learned that I’m capable of doing more than I thought I could,” Hernandez Guzman said. “I was exposed to different tools and programs that allowed me to analyze real data. It was an amazing experience to use these things in the real world.”
Next, she plans to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. in cybersecurity and engineering. The University of Texas Austin is one of the top schools on her list.
“I also want to send a positive message to women who feel they can’t pursue higher education because of barriers they may be facing,” she said.