OCI Graduate Research Assistant Key to Solving Cybersecurity Concerns

Aura Teasley, a Graduate Research Assistant with UTSA’s Open Cloud Institute, has been highlighted by UTSA Today as being part of the solution to cyber security issues due to her work with OCI and internships with the Air Force Civilian Service in Maryland and Oklahoma and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Read an excerpt of the full story below.


Working under the guidance of executive director and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Jeff Prevost, Teasley and other graduate students conduct independent research projects and work collaboratively to assess challenges and achievements in their processes.


“My favorite part about research is working with students to uncover breakthroughs others have not explored before,” Teasley added. “I encourage students to pursue research because it allows you to take classroom concepts and find practical applications. You gain knowledge about topics not covered by your curriculum.”


Teasley’s decision to study electrical engineering was driven by her determination to create innovative solutions to real-world issues including cybersecurity blind spots. Studying electrical engineering was the right fit to accomplish that. It opened the door for Teasley to learn cybersecurity concepts. Today, she aspires to build secure devices that can withstand cyber-attacks and manipulation.


To prepare for her career, Teasley is using existing cyberthreat information to identify gaps in defense with funding from Sandia National Laboratories.


“Aura impressed me with her performance as an undergraduate. Since then, she has volunteered and excelled in my lab as a research assistant, successfully leading a grant program with Sandia National Labs,” Prevost said. “Her ability to quickly learn new concepts is truly gifted.”


Ultimately, Teasley hopes to work for the federal government and “add to the pool of professionals dedicated to keeping the nation safe.” Self-described as shy, her internships, research projects and on-campus involvement increased her confidence and prepared her to excel in the workforce after she completes her doctoral program.


“I’m grateful for the mentorship from my faculty advisor, Dr. Prevost. He is largely to thank for the opportunities I’ve received,” Teasley explained. “The biggest lessons I’ve learned from him are to take control in the lab and be fearless. The resiliency and critical thinking skills I’ve gained have helped me become comfortable with research.”