A Q&A about Meteorology at UIW

UIW’s School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering offers a specialization in Meteorology through the Operational Meteorology program and Broadcast Meteorology program. We spoke with Dr. Gerald Mulvey about this area of study at UIW.

UIW: What program tracks are offered in this degree program?

Dr. Mulvey: This program offers a Bachelor of Science in Operational Meteorology and a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Meteorology.

UIW: Can you explain what the meteorology program at UIW entails?

Dr. Mulvey: The Broadcast Meteorology program prepares students to learn about and interpret atmospheric phenomenon and meteorological data, gathered by surface and upper air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public presentation. The Broadcast Meteorology program is taught jointly between the Meteorology and Communication Arts departments. UIW has dedicated state-of-the-art weather broadcasting facilities using Weather Central software for skill development. Professional broadcast meteorologists teach the on-air broadcast program. The UIW graduate will obtain the educational training to qualify for the American Meteorological Society examination for a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist after completing 5 years in the broadcast field.

The Operational Meteorology program provides students with a comprehensive education research into the dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere, weather analysis, and weather forecasting. This science includes a study of the impact of air pollution on people and the environment, the threat of changing climate due to global warming, severe weather, and world climates. Capstone work is available in both field experimentation and meteorological analysis utilizing the fixed and deployable weather stations and nine Apple workstations in the Climate and Data Analysis Laboratory. The UIW graduate will obtain the educational training to qualify for the American Meteorological Society Certified Consulting Meteorologist examination after completing 5 years in industry.

UIW: What is the overall philosophy of this program?

Dr. Mulvey: The program’s philosophy is to help develop a student’s appreciation of the Earth’s atmosphere through education and understanding. Students in the program will learn to critically analyze and evaluate the interactions of the atmosphere with the oceans and biosphere, recognize the problems and issues of local and regional air pollution, the profound implications and long-term effects of global warming on the planet, the effects of severe weather and the long-term effects human impact on weather and climate. The program offers the student the knowledge and skills to investigate adverse human impact on weather and climate and recognize how to remediate or avoid these conditions to support the needs and requirements of all life on our planet. Both Operational Meteorology and Broadcast Meteorology are aimed at supportive learning of critical work place skills enabling students upon graduation to assume jobs in industry, civilian government or the military

The spirit of Christian service is promoted by providing the student the intellectual tools necessary for making sound scientific decisions and ethical judgments and thus become enlightened citizens in society. Experiences in research activities through course work, seminars, and internships also promote within each student self-realization and spiritual guidance acquired through independent work, volunteered endeavors, and cooperative learning.

UIW: What types of career opportunities are available for graduates of this program?

Dr. Mulvey: Meteorology is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for entering a wide variety of professional careers as well as graduate programs in weather modeling and forecasting, air pollution studies, broadcast meteorology, hydrology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications in meteorology, and education. Government, industry, and private research groups also provide entry-level positions for meteorologists. A student graduating from the Meteorology program may find employment with the private and public sectors as an applied or operational meteorologist. The military also provides opportunities with forecasting centers that include flight and airborne operations, ground support for the army, and naval meteorology. There are a number of private-sector companies that provide weather service to ocean shipping firms and port operators, electric and gas utilities, farmers, ranchers and highway departments. Employment with research laboratories includes studies in global climate change including remote sensing and GIS applications. A high-profile career in meteorology includes media weathercasting for television, radio and newspapers. Related careers in meteorology include marketing and sales of meteorological equipment made by companies involved in the design and manufacture of weather instruments. The geographical focus of jobs are in California, Texas, Colorado, Maryland and Massachusetts.

UIW: What type of person is best suited for this program?

Dr. Mulvey: Meteorology has career opportunities that range from fieldwork to observe, analysis work, forecasting and numerical modeling on the operational side and TV and radio weathercasting on the broadcast side.  In terms of the type of student best suited for these programs students selecting meteorology as a career should be interested in science and mathematics, numerical modeling and in forecasting what mother nature will do next.



A Q&A about the Financial Planning Concentration at UIW

The H-E-B School of Business & Administration at UIW offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with a concentration in Financial Planning. We spoke with Dr. Alicia Rodriguez de Rubio, finance coordinator, about this program at UIW.

UIW: Tell me more about the Financial Planning concentration in the Finance Program.

Rodriguez de Rubio: The Financial Planning concentration prepares students for careers in financial planning and related fields.  The program is registered with the CFP® Board. The students who successfully complete it will fulfill the education requirement that is needed to take the CFP® exam.

UIW: What types of special programs are available to students in this program that can help further their experience?

Rodriguez de Rubio: Students in the program are in close contact with industry professionals through the partnership that we have with the Financial Planning Association (FPA) of San Antonio and South Texas as well as our Financial Planning Advisory Board Members. The FPA provides guest speakers and networking opportunities for the students. We host an annual FPA symposium on Campus and the students are invited to participate.

Selected students can participate in the Student Managed Fund class, which allows them the opportunity to manage and invest a portion of the UIW endowment. The Student Managed Fund class was offered for the first time this semester (Fall 2016). Students who take the Investment Planning class can apply to participate and are approved by the faculty. Those participating can research investments using our Bloomberg terminal. They develop an investment policy statement and select investments based on their research findings. The recommendations are presented to an investment committee for approval. Once approved, the funds are invested. The students get real-life experience in investment planning and managing.

UIW: How is this concentration beneficial?

Rodriguez de Rubio: Financial planning is a career in demand due to the large number of people reaching retirement age. The CFP® certification is recognized as the most desired designation in the field. Employers are looking to hire graduates who have met the education requirement and are ready to take the CFP® examination. Research has shown that the CFP® certification offers the potential for higher income.

UIW: What types of career opportunities are available for a graduate of this program?

Rodriguez de Rubio: Wealth management, fee only financial planning firms, insurance, investment analyst.

UIW: What type of person is best suited for this program?

Rodriguez de Rubio: People who like to solve problems and have good communication skills. If you are interested in helping people meet their financial goals, then this is the career for you.

A Q&A about the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at UIW

The Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions at UIW offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to nursing students. We spoke with Dr. Diana Beckmann-Mendez, BSN-DNP track coordinator/FNP concentration leader, about this program at UIW.

UIW: Tell me more about the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Beckmann-Mendez: The DNP is a terminal professional degree in nursing practice, an alternative to the research focused doctoral degree. The curriculum for the DNP degree builds on traditional master’s programs by providing education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership.

The DNP program at the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions began in 2011 with the MSN to DNP track.  Initially, the program was for students who already had a master’s degree in nursing and were recognized by the State of Texas as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN).  (APRNs are registered nurses educated at either a masters or doctoral level and in a specific role/patient population. APRNs are prepared by education and certification to assess, diagnose/treat patient problems, order tests, and prescribe medications. Types of APRNs include Nurse Practitioners (NP), as well as Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)).

In 2014, the school opened the BSN to DNP track within the DNP program that prepares registered nurses who have a bachelor’s degree and are seeking to advance their education by earning a doctorate in nursing.  Moreover, this track prepares students to become APRNs who are then eligible to sit for the board certification exam depending on their concentration (Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner).

The outcomes of both tracks within the DNP program are to develop expert practitioners to improve patient outcomes and health.

UIW: Can you explain more about the two fields of study in the DNP program?

Beckmann-Mendez: As was described above, there are two different tracks within the DNP program.  However, within the BSN to DNP track, students can choose which concentration they would like to prepares themselves in for their future role as an APRN.  The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse with specialized educational and clinical training in family practice. FNPs are trained to work with both children and adults, most often in the context of a family practice or clinical setting. FNPs work with patients on maintaining health and wellness over the long term with a particular focus on preventative care. Many FNPs serve as the patient’s primary care provider since their scope of practice is very broad and they can treat patients of all ages.

Similar to the FNP, the other concentration that students may choose is that of a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).  PMHNPs are advanced practice registered nurses who are trained to provide a wide range of mental health services to patients an their families in a variety of settings. PMHNPs work with patients with patients across the lifespan who have mental health issues requiring treatment.

UIW: How can this program be beneficial to current nurses?

Beckmann-Mendez: Completing a doctoral degree in nursing will help nurses advance their career on the clinical side.  Different from the PhD in nursing that focuses on research, the DNP degree will prepare the student for a leadership role in nursing while maintaining an emphasis on clinical practice.  There is a growing need for highly-trained nurses and enrolling in a DNP program will make the student more marketable to future employers.  Furthermore, with advanced education, nurses prepared at a doctoral level can positive impact their local community, improve patient care/treatment, and affect patients’ healthcare outcomes.

UIW: What type of person is best suited for this program?

Beckmann-Mendez: This program is best suited for highly motivated and dedicated nurses who would like to advance their careers.  The BSN to DNP program is an extremely rigorous program offered on a full-time basis only and takes 3 years to complete.

A Q&A about Cyber Security at UIW

UIW’s School of Media & Design offers a specialization in Cyber Security Systems through the Computer Information Systems program. We sat down with the coordinator, Phil Youngblood, to talk more about this area of study at UIW.

UIW: Why is cyber security an important field right now?

Youngblood: Cyber security has always been an important field, however, it’s been more in the news lately because we’re more connected. October was Cyber Security Awareness Month, and there was a national campaign to “Stop.Think.Connect.” Items connected to a network that you can reach with a device, whether it’s a closed circuit television, a baby monitor, refrigerator, a car, whatever, it goes out over the network. We don’t control the network. With the internet, everything you do could be going who knows where, literally one little part could be going to San Francisco or to London, because it all goes pretty much at the speed of light, and it all goes out, little pieces of it and then comes back together, so there’s no control over where it goes. Those devices are not as secure. In the future, with all the wireless technology and such, we need to have people who understand networks, hardware, software, websites and all of the vulnerabilities there are because one tiny percent, like a percentage of a percent, are people who don’t play by the rules and can cause harm.

UIW: Can you explain the cyber security systems specialization of the CIS program here at UIW?

Youngblood: There are two degrees available in the program: a B.S. in Cyber Security Systems and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems (CIS). When we created this program, I looked at all the stuff the NSA said, what Homeland Security said, all the bigger programs around the United States, and what I found was that there were a couple of ways of looking at it.

What universities generally do is look at it from a business standpoint, protecting business data, customer information, supplier information, employee information, etc. Businesses are looking for education, policies and controls. So CIS is about understanding the hardware, software, networks, how it all connects and works. The students need to know how to secure networks. On top of that, cyber security is that extra layer. You take a lot of the stuff that you already need to know for the CIS degree, and you learn how to secure networks, and systems, you learn how to build a secure design with encryption. Building layers of defense to control access. The bottom line of cyber security is controlled access, who you want to have access to the equipment and the data.

This has been an interest in San Antonio for quite some time. San Antonio has the highest concentration of cyber security experts outside of Washington, D.C. because of the confluence of military, business, high tech and all of the universities coming together.  Our CIS and Cyber Security Systems degrees are overlapping and supplementary programs. We take the tech approach with a little bit of business on the side. We want to provide our students with information that makes them as smart as the people that are hacking into places. And not just hacking in, but if our students go to work in a company, they can suggest what password to use, help make the place more secure, help to guard against vulnerability.

UIW: What kind of individual is well suited for this program?

Youngblood: It is a science degree, so it needs to be someone who is analytical, likes details, is trustworthy and cares about the company they’re in. That’s why they go to UIW. We have certain values, integrity, trustworthiness and responsibility.

UIW: Why should someone choose this program over similar programs at other universities?

Youngblood: There are some fine programs out there, but if you look, we are the only main campus, dedicated B.S. in cyber security systems in San Antonio. Other programs may have online programs but not a dedicated main campus program. We are also trying to help and support students left hanging by the closure of ITT Tech integrate into our program and be able to complete their studies. We have a proven successful program, we have the facilities, we have the experts and we have the only main campus program. The other programs are all concentrations of degrees. We worked with and talked with the NSA and Homeland Security to really understand what they were looking for and what needs to be done.

UIW: What types of courses can one expect?

Youngblood: In addition to the courses in a very robust IT degree, you also have courses that deal in three areas: 1) secure design, what can you do to make systems more impervious to unauthorized access in addition to understanding how to secure a network, 2) cryptography, understanding where data resides on the cloud, and 3) risk management, securing the organization itself, understanding the risk and vulnerabilities and applying the resources to one or the other.

UIW: What types of careers can one obtain with this degree?

Youngblood: You can get any kind of IT job. Everything from medical centers, military, to anybody that does anything with networking like Rackspace, oil companies, H-E-B, etc. But the cyber security degree has added value because safeguarding your computers, data and equipment is an integral and routine part of IT because we are so connected.

We have to understand where our data is going and where we are vulnerable. You can replace equipment, but you can’t replace information. From a business standpoint, if you lose the data, you could inadvertently give access and information to someone you don’t want to have it and suddenly the business and its reputation are damaged.