Northeastern State University student Michael Gonzalez was named Student of the Year by the National Cybersecurity Student Association at the 2022 3CS Conference in May.
“It is an honor to be named 2022 CyberWatch Student of the Year,” said Gonzalez.
He said receiving this recognition is a sign of the commitment, dedication, and responsibility that he is developing in his professional training and grateful for the support he receives from his wife and family.
As part of being named the Student of the Year, Director of Academics at EC Council presented Gonzalez with a scholarship award to help pay for the following career-level certificates: Network Defense Essentials, Ethical Hacking Essentials, Digital Forensics Essentials and Certified Cybersecurity Technician.
At 50 years old, Gonzalez said he is grateful for the support from his family to pursue his first bachelor’s degree. He added that he struggled as a student in high school, battling drugs and alcohol use that led to him spending part of his senior year in an inpatient rehabilitation center.
Gonzalez said he does not recall when he started showing an interest in pursuing a higher education degree, but decided to do so with the goal of providing a better future for his wife and family. He is also the first in his family to go to college – a proudly-worn badge.
“I have a younger nephew that looks at me and says that I am an inspiration to him,” said Gonzalez.
In 2020, Gonzalez earned his associate degree in enterprise development from Tulsa Community College, before continuing his studies at NSU, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security with a minor in Spanish.
Aware of the need to enhance cybersecurity students ’educational and professional development through networking, collaboration, and hands-on activities, Gonzalez started the NSU chapter of the National Cybersecurity Student Association with the help of Dr. Rene Moquin.
Gonzalez hopes to develop a small lab where cybersecurity students can get hands-on practice to enhance the skills learned. In addition, Gonzalez desires to create partnerships with local cybersecurity companies to provide mentoring services and networking possibilities. He also serves as president of the National Society of Leadership and Success at NSU.
The National Cybersecurity Student Association is the nation’s largest association of cybersecurity students. The group is committed to helping its student members achieve success in the cybersecurity sector.
To learn more about the association, visit cyberstudents.org.