“Realities of a Ride-Along,” and Mental Health in Medicine

UIWSOM students take steps to mentally prepare for traumatic experiences in the medical profession

By: Kaitlyn Hennessey

“Put your notes away and double glove,” she was told. Uncertain of the circumstances, she followed the paramedic’s orders. The ambulance arrived at the scene with police officers all around, body bags laying on the ground, helicopters flying off…she stops. The sinking reality sets in, as she thinks to herself, “I am the least qualified person here.”

Kaylyn Snook, now a second-year student at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM), found herself in the aftermath of a mass casualty shooting. She wasn’t a certified EMT at the time. Like all of her classmates, Snook was completing her EMT ride-along, a required training for first-year students at UIWSOM in the EMT certification process.

The EMS unit she rode in was called to transport a victim of the shooting to a nearby hospital. It was an older female, she had four bullet wounds, two to her leg, one on each arm. Snook was told to check her vitals, pulses, and wounds. She performed these tasks in the routine way she’d learned, but this time it was different. This was not a case study, this was a real person in Snook’s care, someone who may not make it through the rest of the day.

Snook stopped to take a deep breath while sharing this story. She spoke from a student-led panel discussion at the UIWSOM campus. The event, “Realities of a Ride-Along,” took place on Thursday, September 20. On one side of a conference table sat Snook and three other second-year medical students – Shelby Valero, Michael Walston, and Rami Alattar. Each of these individuals shared a traumatic experience during their routine EMT ride-alongs.

Across the table from Snook and her colleagues, were first-year medical students about to embark on their own EMT ride-alongs. This discussion is the first annual event meant to prepare the first-years for what they might see during their first emergency medical experience.

Behind the four students on stage was a projected image of a buttercup plant, surrounded by a red circle with a backslash, universally symbolizing the word, “No.”

The old saying “Suck it up, buttercup,” was not welcome here. Dr. Hans Bruntmyer, a professor at UIWSOM, opened the event with a familiar quote to his students – “It’s okay not to be a buttercup.” He uses these words to remind his students the importance of personal mental health in dealing with traumatic situations in their patient’s lives.

It took time for Snook to feel the sorrow associated with her EMT experience. The perceived expectation to be tough, guided her response to this event.

“Vulnerability in the medical field is difficult but necessary,” Snook encouraged the first-years. She and the other students on stage shared ways in which they coped with the shocking events, and how first-years can mentally prepare.

Shelby Valero helped treat a patient that was ejected 150 feet from his vehicle – it was the first deceased body outside of the cadaver lab that she had witnessed, and it was a gruesome scene. She advised the first-years preparing for their ride-alongs with three suggestions. One, “Do whatever you need to do to quietly center yourself before entering a traumatic situation.” Secondly, “Always remind yourself that it is [the patient’s] emergency, not yours.” As medical professionals, staying efficient during the emergency means staying focused, but to deal with the trauma later, Valero finally suggested, “find a form of release.”

Release came for Valero when she decided to mourn the death of her patient. For others participating in the panel discussion, sharing their experience with close community opened the pathway towards healing.

“There is a culture that healers cannot be wounded,” Dr. Stacy Waterman, a counselor serving the UIWSOM campus, said. “We need to remove the stigma that healers don’t need help.”

As emergency physicians, and former military combat doctors and professors, Dr. Robert Allen and Dr. Bruntmyer have seen their fair share of trauma. Their goal is to prioritize mental health awareness at the medical student level by teaching them to share their experiences. The hope is that students will enter their practice knowing healthy ways to cope with difficult experiences. “Realities of a Ride-Along,” is the first in a three-part series focusing on mental health preparedness for challenging experiences that come with becoming a doctor.

The next event in the series will help prepare second-year students before they enter their rotations, focusing on the transition from the classroom to the real world. The final mental preparedness event will be right before the medical students graduate and will discuss what it is like to be responsible for their patient’s treatment.

“Know that you are human,” Dr. Bruntmyer said in his closing statements, reminding the students that he once forgot this, telling himself he was okay with the trauma he saw until apathy almost drove him out of practicing medicine. Bruntmyer stepped out of cultural pressures in the medical field, offering students permission to express their experiences and remember that “It’s okay to not be okay.”



5 Dorm Hacks That Will Make You Never Want to Leave Your Room

It may still be hot out there, but summer is quickly coming to an end. While we’ve enjoyed the sunshine, time off, summer travel and days by the pool, nothing beats the start of a new school year. Interesting classes, new friends, football games and more are giving us so much to look forward to as we head into another fall semester, but if you’re an incoming freshman (or transfer student) you’re probably experiencing some nerves too, especially when it comes to dorm life. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite tips for making the most of on-campus living!


  1. All about that space, ‘bout that space.
    Let’s face it – dorm living can get cramped pretty quickly if you’re not careful. Thankfully, there are some great space-saving hacks to help your room stay free of clutter. Most dorm rooms come with height adjustable beds. Raise your bed enough to open up storage space underneath– you can fit an entire dresser under there if you want! When shopping for dorm essentials, be sure to look into multi-functional furniture as well. Looking for extra seating? An ottoman with hidden storage is the perfect chair substitute and provides extra storage space.
  2. Command hooks and strips will have you hooked.
    Pardon the pun; we couldn’t help it. All jokes aside, command hooks and strips are life changers in a dorm room. Obviously, it’s against dorm rules to hammer nails into the walls, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hang decorations with these handy adhesives! Pro tip: Make your bed a private oasis with a homemade bed canopy. Simply run a string through some curtains and hang them by Command hooks placed on the ceiling around your bed.
  3. Don’t forget the snacks!
    You’re going to be busy between classes, exams, student organizations and more. Make sure to keep a supply of your favorite snacks to get you through those times. On days when you’re running too late to class to stop for breakfast, you’ll be glad you brought along that pack of granola bars! Pro tip: Use a door-hanging shoe organizer to store your snack items without taking up space!
  4. Skip the frames.
    You’ll probably want to print photos of your family, pets, high school friends and more, but in a dorm, there just isn’t enough space for all those frames. We say skip the photo frames and go for something a little more creative! Some of our favorite photo display ideas include hanging photos on a string of yarn with clothespins or pinning them to a decorative cork board.
    UIW dorm
  5. Make a small space feel bigger.
    We all know dorm rooms aren’t huge, but sometimes it’s more about how big it looks and feels than how big it actually is. Skip the overhead lights and bring in a few lamps instead to draw the eye around the room. Bringing in a full-length mirror? Place it across from the window to reflect light and make the room feel more spacious. Use rugs to create the illusion of different areas in the room – one rug for the study area under your desk, one for the resting area by your bed, etc. It’s all about being creative!

Move-in day is just around the corner (August 23 and 24) and we can’t wait to see you – we’ll be there to help you with all your move-in needs!

For more information on residence life and move-in day, give the Office of Campus Engagement and Residence Life a call at (210) 829-6034!


10 Things to Do the Summer Before College

You did it! High school is now officially behind you, and it’s time to start looking ahead…but where do you  begin? Here’s a list to help you make the most of your time during the summer between high school and college.

  1. Take inventory of your closet. College has so much to offer – tailgating, job fairs, volunteer opportunities and more! Make sure you have something for every occasion. Donate clothes you don’t wear anymoreand make room in your closet for new items that show off your school pride!
  2. Spend time with your family. Even if you’re not moving away for school, things won’t be the same. College is the time when you begin building your own life, so be sure to make time for extra conversations with mom and dad, and fun afternoons with your siblings.RCJ_4698
  3. Get to know the area surrounding campus. Whether or not you’re moving to a new city for college, chances are you won’t be spending as much time in the area you’re used to. Take some time to explore the best coffee shops, restaurants, and fun things to do near your new school (even if you have to do so online)!
  4. Keep a journal. It may not always feel like it, but this summer is a huge turning point in your life. You’ve graduated high school and you’re moving on to bigger things. Keeping a journal during this time will not only help you work through your feelings about all of this change, but one day, it will be nice to look back on who you were and see how far you’ve come!
  5. Hit the gym! If the gym isn’t for you, start implementing some kind of fitness routine in your daily schedule. Something as simple as a daily walk can make a world of difference in how you feel. When the hustle and bustle of college life hits you, you’ll be glad that exercise is already something that’s part of your routine, not just another thing you need to add on.
  6. Hang out with your high school crew one last time. Everyone is going their separate ways come August, so have one final get together where you reminisce, take lots of photos, and get a little too weepy.
  7. Thank your teachers. Everyone has at least one teacher who has made an enormous impact on their life. Reach out to that teacher and let them know they inspired you and made a difference!
  8. Get organized! Between classes, student organizations, and campus events, you’re going to be busy! Figure out a system of keeping track of things that works best for you now – don’t wait until you’re overloaded.
  9. Reach out to new classmates and roommates! Don’t be shy – summer is a great time to start building these relationships so that come August, you’ll already have a support system and a few good friends on campus.
  10. Relax! Watch your favorite movies, get a haircut, go for a swim, sleep in and do whatever helps you feel your best. You’ve earned a little bit of down time before the rest of your life begins!

Viva Fiesta!

It’s that time of year again. Something in the air is different, there’s excitement in the streets and vibrant colors and delicious scents captivate our senses. For most, Christmas may come to mind when reading those first two sentences. For San Antonians, we know there’s only one thing this could mean – Fiesta is here!

Like Incarnate Word, the history of Fiesta dates back to the late 1800s. Fiesta San Antonio’s humble beginning in 1891 was a one-parade event created to honor the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. It has since evolved into what we know and love today – a celebration of all things San Antonio!

UIW students and employees know that this 10 day celebration shouldn’t go to waste. We celebrate our very own Fiesta kick-off every year with VIVA UIW on Dubuis Lawn, complete with food, live music, games, giveaways, paletas, dancing and more.




The fun never stops there. The Cutting Edge Fiesta Fashion Show is a fan-favorite year after year. UIW’s “Cutting Edge” Fashion Show displays the latest fashion created and presented by UIW Fashion design students. The collections include garments students have illustrated, designed and constructed in a year-long fashion capstone course. Each collection is centered on an individual theme ranging from a season, a color or market segment. From sound and lighting to staging and contracting professional models, UIW students experience every aspect of planning a professional runway show at this annual Fiesta event.




And of course, who could forget about Alamo Heights Night at UIW? The University of the Incarnate Word is always proud to host the Alamo Heights Rotary Club for Alamo Heights Night.  We love inviting members of the Alamo Heights and San Antonio communities onto our campus to experience the beauty we get to enjoy every day!


Looks like fun, doesn’t it? The best part about all of this is that Fiesta 2018 has just begun! With a history as rich as UIW’s own, we definitely think Fiesta is one party worth celebrating. So, Viva Fiesta, Viva UIW and Viva San Antonio!

Three Days, Three Words: He is Risen!”

By Dr. Glenn Ambrose, Professor of Religious Studies

Three days in the life of Christ have shaped Christian worship more than any other. The time frame beginning with the Last Supper and ending with the discovery of the empty tomb have given rise to rich liturgical traditions.  In the 20th century, the nomenclature of the “Paschal Triduum” came to be widely used to designate the liturgies of these three feast days that celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But the traditions associated with Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil have ancient roots.

her-1In the fourth century, the Church began to systematically mark the events of Jesus’ last week of pre-resurrected life.   This established a Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday and its celebration of Jesus’ fateful entry into Jerusalem.  The Church of Jerusalem played a key role in the development of these traditions.  No doubt the grounds where Jesus walked and where he suffered and died provoked Christians there to commemorate the events of these three days in special manner.

Dr. Glenn Ambrose shares his reflection on three of the most important days in Christianity.

Holy Thursday recalls the last night that Jesus ate with his disciples.  While this liturgy marks the first Eucharist and ends with Eucharistic adoration, it is more recently known for the tradition of foot washing. Foot washing is a unique aspect of the account of the Last Supper in the Gospel of John, but this was only inserted in the Mass for Holy Thursday in 1955 by Pope Pius XII.  Pope Francis notably raised its profile when he washed the feet of two women and Muslims early in his papacy.

In the fourth century, the church in Jerusalem memorialized the death of Jesus with a whole day of prayer and a procession from the place Jesus was flagellated to Golgotha where he was crucified. Along the way at different stations passion narratives, prayers and psalms were read.   Today in San Antonio, an internationally renowned passion play is staged in the heart of the city. Known for its realism it provides an opportunity to solemnly walk with Jesus, accompanying him through his sufferings as he journeys with us in ours.

The Triduum comes to a close with what St. Augustine called the “mother of all vigils” – the Paschal Vigil.  Marking the end of Lent and the beginning of a new Easter season, the community of faithful with its newly baptized members recommits itself to follow the way of Christ. Although not commonly practiced today, this lengthy liturgy that recounts not just the day of the Resurrection of the Lord, but also the entirety of salvation history, is ideally started late enough in the evening so as to end at the dawn of a new day. But whether this service ends at 10:00PM or 4:00AM, we are all both challenged and invited by the empty tomb to become the eyes, hears and hands of God’s incarnated love.

Praised be the Incarnate Word.

Lent Invites Us to Join Jesus in the Desert

By Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa, professor emeritus

Lent invites us to join Jesus in the desert.

But what about that good old Catholic school refrain: “What should I give up for Lent?”?  Is it on its way out?

In some way, that would be good because it was simplistic.  After all, giving up ice cream, sodas, or Girl Scout Cookies does not automatically make us better persons.  In fact, few of those Lenten denials turned into permanent good habits.  And to be honest, no one really suffered from those “sacrifices.”

But wait!  Giving up something was a good reminder that Lent is a special season.

Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa reflects on the sacrifice of Lent and “walking in the desert.”

We need reminders that we need spend time in the “desert.”  Lent is supposed to pull us away from our daily routines and draw us into the mysteries of the life of God in us and among us.

Being in the desert involves solitude, being alone, away from distractions.

In today’s terms, it might mean shutting down the cell phone, the tablet, or the laptop, getting away from constantly being in touch with others, and getting ourselves away from the world of entertainment.

I sometimes check my phone in the car on my way to work or home, sometimes while running an errand, or while waiting for the traffic light to change.  Now, technically I am not driving, but it’s still pretty silly that I need to be aware, at all times, of any emails or earth-shaking newsbreaks.  This is reflective of the habit of cluttering up my life.

I have, however, developed a habit of some quiet, “desert” moments during the day.  But they are brief and, to be honest, they are only a couple – as in two.

Will giving up my favorite something – having a delicious fish dinner on Lenten Fridays is no sacrifice! – change my life?  It should at least push me into a few more minutes of being alone with myself and with my God.

UIW Blog Lent is a Journey

Lent is a Journey

By Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa, professor emeritus

Lent is a journey to Holy Week.

It is a season of anticipation of the celebration of the central mystery of our faith: Christ’s death and resurrection. In some way, Lent is like the Gospels, all of which are, according to some scholars, long introductions to the core story of the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord.

So, Lent is a season of traveling along a long road. In our time, it may appear too long.

Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa reflects on the importance of the long Lenten wait.

We go quickly from one sports season to another, from one popular celebration to another, and indeed from one news cycle to another. In the past, Lent always seemed very long to me. Nowadays it seems even longer.

Yet, we are told, the ending – Holy Week – is worth waiting for.

Jesus’s journey of his death and resurrection entailed working his way through his ministry of teaching and healing. And he began that stretch of the journey by going into the desert.

In the desert he prayed and fasted – and he waited, something we have trouble doing today.  Lent seems long precisely because for us – or at least, for me – waiting is burdensome.

Waiting in Lent is difficult, in part, because we already know the ending. But this waiting is not about twiddling our thumbs in anticipation of something to happen. This waiting is about reflection and prayer.

Lent is, of course, also about doing something: changing life habits and helping others, particularly those in need. But even that involves reflection and prayer. We cannot change our lives and our relationships with others unless we change our relationship to our true, inner self and to God.

And reflection and prayer means taking some moments away from the hustle and bustle of everyday obligations and distractions. This entails listening to the Spirit of God.

One homilist at the beginning of Lent called attention to why Jesus went into the desert. One of the gospels, he reminded us, says the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert. Another says the Spirit led Jesus into the desert. And a third says Jesus, filled with the Spirit, went into the desert.

We have received the Spirit of God at baptism and that same Spirit drives us, leads us, and inspires us to take some time each day in the desert of silence and reflection. Without time to ponder on our relationship with God, the celebration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday will surely fly right past us.

Six Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Cardinal You Love

Breathe it in, everyone – it’s the first day of February, and love is definitely in the air! If your heart stopped for a second because you suddenly realized that means you only have 13 days left to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! Take a look at some amazing gifts that are sure to show the Cardinal in your life how much you appreciate them.

  1. A UIW Pride T-shirt
    Anyone who loves a UIW student, alumni, or employee, knows that they love comfortable shirts that also show off their UIW pride!

    VDay Blog 1

    This t-shirt is the perfect one to help you celebrate your love this year. A cupid-struck heart on UIW red? Count us in!

    V Day Blog 2


  1. A UIW-framed portrait
    Our campus is a beautiful one, meaning there are plenty of great photo opportunities around. Ask your Valentine to pause for a photo with you! Print it out, and place it in this UIW frame for a thoughtful gift that is sure to make him/her swoon.

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    Pro Tip: Include a heartfelt letter that details why you chose this special gift, including the reason behind choosing your specific photo location and the role UIW has played in bringing you together!


  1. This special snuggle buddy
    Okay, we know this one is pretty cliché, but it’s also adorable.


    Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a teddy bear. Add a bouquet of roses, a card, and perhaps dinner for two, and you’ve got date night covered!


  1. A UIW Wine Glass
    Picture this – dinner you made yourself, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a glass of wine in your sweetheart’s new favorite glass. Sounds like a great date to us!

    VDay Blog 6
    Pro Tip: Add a personal touch by adding your own message or artwork to the other side of the wine glass. Acrylic enamel paint is best for painting on glass!


  1. This cozy blanket
    Spring may be near, but there are still some chilly days ahead this year. Keep your Valentine warm and cozy with this incredibly soft blanket.

    VDay Blog 7

    As a bonus, you’ll get to use it for movie nights and picnics for years to come!


  1. Something punny
    Who doesn’t love a good pun? The possibilities are endless with this UIW tie!

    VDay Blog 8

    May we recommend:

    1. Tied to you
    2. Never too tied up for you
    3. There’s no tie when it comes to you.

The best part about these gifts is that they’re all available now at the Cardinal Shoppe in the Student Engagement Center. No matter who you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with this year, remember to share the love this and every month.

An Interview with the Dean of UIW’s Feik School of Pharmacy on National Pharmacist Day

To most people, it may come as a surprise that today, January 12, is National Pharmacist Day. To commemorate the occasion, we sat down with UIW’s very own Dr. David Maize R.Ph., Ph. D., Dean of the Feik School of Pharmacy (FSOP) and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Learn more about him and the University of the Incarnate Word’s Feik School of Pharmacy below!

UIW: Did you know that there was such a thing as Pharmacist Day?

Dr. Maize: I was quite surprised that there was a Pharmacist Day. Someone from our main campus called and said “Friday is Pharmacist Day,” and it caught me by surprise. I actually went to all the classrooms and I said, “Do you know what Friday is?”, and everyone replied, “It’s Friday, we have tests!” I said, “Well, it’s National Pharmacist Day, and I’m sorry we’re not celebrating it, but next year I’ll have it on my calendar and we will celebrate National Pharmacist Day!” However, there is a National Pharmacist Month, which we do know about, in October. We always have activities during that time, where we go out into the community to showcase the the things that pharmacists can do.

UIW: Great! Well we’ll have to come back in October then! To start things off, help us learn a little bit about you. Why did you first decide to go to pharmacy school?

Dr. Maize: Well, interesting story…I loved chemistry. I wanted to be a high school chemistry teacher. My family has a history of teachers; my father was a teacher, my sister’s a teacher, my aunts and uncles are teachers. However, when I said I wanted to be a high school chemistry teacher, my parents said no. They said they didn’t think it was a good career for me. So I looked around at what I could do. I didn’t know if I wanted to be stuck in a laboratory, because I like to talk to people, and it just happened to be at the time that chemistry and talking to people were perfectly combined in the field of pharmacy. So that’s why I chose to go into pharmacy!

Students of the FSOP work on a class project.

UIW: Since then, how have the profession and industry changed? What’s different about the climate of the industry when you entered it versus what the students who are graduating from here will be entering?

Dr. Maize: When I went into pharmacy, and that was a very long time ago, we did use computers. Pharmacy first started out using typewriters, and then we moved to computers, but at that time, health insurance wasn’t a really big deal, and people paid out of pocket for their prescriptions. Now, 95% of all prescriptions are paid by insurances, so we use computers to contact the insurance company to make sure that things are paid. Back when I started, it was very much counting the pills, putting them into a bottle, and handing them to the patient. We don’t count and pour anymore, technicians do that. Our job as pharmacists is more about counseling the patient and making sure that of course, the prescriptions are paid for and the patients get them in a timely manner. That is progressing to the period, very rapidly, that you may not even see a pharmacist behind the counter anymore; the pharmacist may be in your doctor’s clinic managing your medications. Or they’ll be the one that is testing your blood sugar, or they’ll be giving your vaccinations. Pharmacists now give more vaccinations than any of the other health professions that we have. So, we’re changing – we started with product, with the pill, and we’re moving to the service where the pharmacist is going to be a very integral part of the health care team.

UIW: How are students here being prepared for that shift to being more front facing and service oriented with the patient?

Dr. Maize: It’s in the coursework. Back when I was in pharmacy school, we used to have two classes on dispensing medications. We now have six weeks on dispensing medications. The rest of the time is spent teaching communications skills, the skills needed to provide services. We have an immunization class, we have a class that is called MTM, which is Medication Therapy Management, where we look at patient’s profiles and make sure they are taking the right medications, at the right dose, that there’s no duplication, and that they’re safe, and if any of those are not met we will contact the doctor to have therapy changed. Ten years from now, the pharmacist will probably be able to change that therapy without the doctor’s approval. So that’s how pharmacy is growing.

A UIW FSOP student takes notes during a class lecture

UIW: What can first year students coming into this program, expect?

Dr. Maize: Well, first year students have to realize that pharmacy is a two to six year program. That means you complete a minimum of two years of undergraduate school and then you apply to pharmacy school, and you go to pharmacy school for four years. There is a big transition from undergraduate school, thinking that on your third year, you’re a junior in college, but you’re actually now in a doctorate program, and at the end, you’re going to be called “Doctor.” The rigor and the pace moves dramatically quickly, so a student has to be prepared to shift gears away from the undergraduate way they studied, to “I am now in graduate school and I have to study like a graduate student.”

UIW: What would you recommend are some things that they can start doing now to prepare for that?

Dr. Maize:  They really need to look at their study skills and see that they are appropriate for graduate level. One of the biggest things is time management. They have to start to learn how to time manage. And you can ask any one of our pharmacy students here in the school, they have a calendar with every single thing written on that calendar, and they almost have their complete day planned. We believe in a school-home life balance, so you have school work but we also want you to build into your daily schedule time for your family, time to exercise, time to meditate, time to go to religious services, whatever you want to do, because you can’t just study pharmacy, you have to be a whole person. But the studying is important and it is sometimes seven days a week.

Dr. Maize joins FSOP students in class, offering some words of wisdom

UIW: What would you say sets the FSOP apart from ther schools?

Dr. Maize: There are two things that set this school apart from the other Texas schools, and some of the schools in the nation. The number one thing that sets us apart, is that we are faith-based and mission-driven. There is no other faith-based pharmacy school in Texas. Now, we are Catholic, but that doesn’t mean you have to be Catholic to come to the Feik School of Pharmacy. The Sisters have instilled in us that the important thing is as long as you grow in your own faith, no matter what it is—Christian, Muslim, Judaism—as long as you grow in your own faith, that is their goal. So, we’re very proud of that. And we have a mission that has five tenets – education, truth, faith, service and innovation. All of our students know that and we practice that in the preparation of the pharmacists, but we also take that out to our lives, and try to live those five tenets. So, we have a very strong, mission-driven graduate, that will go out and be a great pharmacist and a great citizen.

UIW: Well, thank you very much for your time, Dr. Maize. Before we wrap things up, though, we did read a fun fact about you – that you love the performing arts. How did that come to be? When did you first get the performing arts bug?

Dr. Maize: Well, the performance arts bug came from my mother. I lived in an incredibly small town in Pennsylvania and we were about two hours outside of Pittsburgh with very little chance of seeing performing art. We had this little playhouse and she would take us to plays there. Sometimes we would go into the city and see the great performances of the orchestras and operas and things they had in the city, so I’ve always loved that. And then I went to school in Pittsburgh, so I took advantage of the performing arts. My favorite of the performing arts is opera, so when I came down here, during the first few weeks, I was driving and I saw a banner that there was an opera being presented and I said “AH! This is fantastic!” I went to the opera, and immediately asked how I could assist in the opera. Within a year, I was a board member of the San Antonio Opera. So that was really a highlight of something that I did. I also then went and joined the Art Fund which was an organization that tried to raise money for all of the performing arts, so I have a big interest in the arts. I am a scientist, and science thrills me, but so do the arts. I think you should have a balance of both, in science and in art.

We couldn’t agree more, Dr. Maize!

The Feik School of Pharmacy will be accepting applications now through February 1, 2018. For more information on UIW’s Feik School of Pharmacy, visit uiw.edu/pharmacy

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.