Born and raised in Brazil, Regiane Vazquez embarked on an unexpected adventure more than 16 years ago, moving first to Puerto Rico and, shortly after, to the mainland United States with her husband, who is in the Air Force. Knowing little English, Vazquez found herself living in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with her husband and infant son.
With that change came all the challenges of a new marriage, new country, new language, and new culture. Along the way, she has seized opportunity.
“Preparing to be part of the workforce in another country with a different language has challenged me to discover new horizons,” she explained.
Vazquez’s educational journey began at Prince George’s Community College, where she enrolled in English for Speakers of other Languages (ESL) courses. “I knew the basic words, but with people speaking so fast, this was a challenge for me,” she said.
She then completed an associate degree in cybersecurity.
“Every time I tried to turn on the computer, everybody would tell me I needed to be careful of viruses and other threats,” Vazquez said. “In turn I said, ‘No, I want to be able to use the computer. I want to really know how to fight back against threats.’ From this experience, I discovered what I wanted to study.”
An associate degree wasn’t enough. Vazquez was eager to continue her educational journey. In 2019, she happened to pass by UMGC’s campus—and she made a decision.
“I remember driving by and seeing the UMGC campus and imaging myself studying and pursuing my degree at UMGC,” Vazquez said. Since her enrollment at UMGC four years ago, Vazquez has become multilingual in numerous languages including: English, German, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
“I had always wanted to learn German and decided to try it,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez has excelled at UMGC. Her two favorite classes were Switching, Routing, and Wireless Essentials and Ethical Hacking. She also was an online cybersecurity engineer intern for the company SAP SE, a multinational developer of business enterprise systems, applications, and products.
Vazquez is focused on the future and that means applying for job positions in cybersecurity and digital forensics. She is also interested in pursuing a Master of Science in Cloud Computing Systems in the near future.
Getting a bachelor’s degree was an important goal, one that she says demonstrated the value of hard work and perseverance to her teenage son and young daughter.
“I'm so thankful for UMGC's commitment to prepare us for a career important to our future,” Vazquez said.