UTSA School of Data Science
UTSA School of Data Science

As the first of its kind in the state of Texas, the school will further solidify San Antonio’s status as the largest information security hub outside of Washington, D.C.

UTSA and MITRE Corp. partner on workforce development, experiential learning and joint research programs

In 2019, MITRE Corp. partnered with UTSA’s National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) and has since worked collaboratively with School of Data Sciences faculty, staff and students on several research, experiential learning, and workforce development opportunities.

Generation AI: Introducing artificial intelligence to all UTSA students

Working with MITRE, UTSA is introducing artificial intelligence principles and practices to students across all academic disciplines. The goal of  Generation AI Nexus, or Gen AI, is to help all students, regardless of their major, understand AI and how to use it as an effective tool. Our participating faculty use an instructional design methodology designed my MITRE to develop more than 10 lesson modules and access a central repository where they can also browse and download lessons and data sets from other classes across the country.

More than 1,200 students have participated in Gen AI lessons to date, with another 1,000 expected to take part in the Spring 2021 semester. Faculty from the following disciplines have incorporated AI, big data analytics and data visualization lessons into their courses since Spring 2020:

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Student output generated by Brian Curry
3D data visualization output generated by Hincpaie’s students that shows earthquake clustering

Gen AI Spotlight

Geological sciences lecturer Jaime Hincapie took his Fundamentals of GIS class on an expedition to use machine learning techniques to process and analyze a data set of 6,000 earthquakes in northwestern Colombia over the past 50 years to search for earthquake clusters. With little to no experience in computer programming or statistical analysis, Hincapie’s students learned how to use accessible, free AI software to process a large amount of information and ultimately understand that geological data is three dimensional.

Jaime Hincapie

The Gen AI program at UTSA has given me the opportunity to share with my students some tools that might give them an edge when joining the workforce. Data is digital, coming in enormous amounts, very fast, and in a wide range of scales, sources and formats. By having them run simple analyses, they were able to gain insight about the data itself, its structure, accuracy, and, more importantly, how to process it with a practical goal or a decision-making target in mind. Statistics now makes more sense to them, and they learned that they can add value to their work by implementing a few simple tools available as open source and in industry-wide software.

Jaime Hincapie
UTSA lecturer, geological sciences

This AI session has shown me that statistics is useful. No more coin-tossing or rolling dice. I wanted to see where I could apply it, and now I can really read into my data.

Brian Curry
UTSA student

Visualizing the data in 3D is awesome!! I couldn't do that before with other well established programs. It's much easier to understand what's going on. Very cool!! And the stats is no more a blur because I can see how the data is behaving. It jumps at you!!

Amanda Towry
UTSA student

To get involved in Gen AI, contact Patricia Geppert.

Paid Internships: UTSA students working for MITRE

As a result of the partnership, MITRE developed a summer internship program and began recruiting UTSA students for what has become a prestigious, highly sought-after and rewarding opportunity. In Summer 2019, MITRE hired two UTSA interns, one of which was David Akusu, who ended up continuing as a year-long intern. The other summer intern, Michael King, was offered a full-time position with MITRE after he graduated from UTSA in December.

Internship Spotlight

Michael King

Michael King

BBA Cyber Security ‘19
Position: Associate Cyber Infrastructure Engineer at MITRE Corp.

MITRE challenged me to learn skills and technologies far beyond the scope of my academic curriculum. Being tasked with solving problems related to containerization and cloud architecture, I was necessarily required to traverse unfamiliar territory and engage in continuous self-teaching. MITRE's encouragement to remain vigilant and keep abreast of changing industry trends has allowed me to build a strong foundation for my career.

David Akusu

David Akusu

Computer Science, Class of 2021
Position: MITRE Intern

I have benefited immensely from this opportunity. There’s so much out there that you can’t get in a traditional class, and the experience of working with industry professionals is invaluable. Partnerships like this set the stage for UTSA students to better understand the industry, network and get involved in many research opportunities and apply what they’ve learned in class to technical assignments.

Cheyenne Sanchez

Cheyenne Sanchez

Computer Science, Class of 2020
Position: MITRE Intern

The community at MITRE is absolutely inspiring and introduced me to boundless opportunities as a student. From learning about emerging technologies to connecting with top-tier professionals in technical fields, working with MITRE was so much more than I could have asked for. I have been able to reinforce and implement the skills and knowledge that I have obtained throughout my education to solve problems. The association between UTSA and MITRE presents both entities a bright future and limitless possibilities.

Hands-On Experience: Developing platform frameworks

UTSA students from the Honors College, College of Engineering and College of Sciences will be gaining hands-on experience assisting the Defense Health Agency (DHA) with the integration of their Service Now customer, IT and employee workflow platform. Our students will be writing portal script to customize the platform specific to the DHA’s needs.  

Additionally, our students will work closely with School of Data Science faculty to develop a platform framework – essentially a web-based knowledge management system – that holds information and makes it accessible and searchable. Similar to any large customer relationship management system, the platform will be used by the NSCC to store and recall cyber-related data.


Continuing Education: Developing data science online boot camp

Associate Dean of University College and Interim Academic Director of the School of Data Science (SDS) Jianwei Niu and SDS faculty from College of Business, College of Engineering, and College of Sciences are creating two short courses in data science and data engineering. In Fall 2020, the courses were offered as an online boot camp to MITRE employees and the UTSA team evaluated the effectiveness of the curriculum. Ultimately, the goal is to make the courses publicly accessible as part of UTSA’s continuing education portfolio.


Other Notable Collaborations

  • UTSA and MITRE leveraged the national cyber security INSuRE program to establish a user acceptance testing framework for agile software development.

  • The Cyber Threat Defender K-12 program developed by UTSA’s Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) was adopted by and being used by MITRE as a national STEM initiative. Read more about this program on UTSA Today.

For more information about UTSA’s partnership with MITRE, contact Patricia Geppert and Jianwei Niu.