Cesar Tapia

Cesar was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the city of Mount Vernon, New York at the age of four. His parents moved the entire family out of Peru as Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement brought terrorism to their home country from the early 80s until the mid-90s.

He began his undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at Manhattan College (MC) in Riverdale, NY. Throughout his studies he had the pleasure of working at the Jasper Educational Technology Office as one of their Information Technology (IT) technicians. While working as technician, he matured into an accomplished trouble shooter and problem solver for both hardware and software related issues. His studies coupled with the work experience really meshed the theory being taught in class with real world application of that knowledge.

After graduation in 2008 Cesar was fortunate enough to indulge his fascination in gadgets by working at the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He worked in the Optical Disc Drives art unit as a Patent Examiner.  The experience here gave Cesar an understanding of how intricate the process of patenting a novel invention is, along with an education on interpreting legal language and applicable federal statutes.  Although a great education in Intellectual Property (IP), the USPTO did not offer the type of fascinating work that Cesar was ultimately looking for.

Ove the next few years as a professional, Cesar further expanded his skill set by including the private, non-profit sectors to his list of accomplishments.  His work with the United Stated Green Building Council (USGBC) San Diego Chapter and Grid Alternatives re-calibrated his focus on the alternative energy industry and sustainability. Looking to further his education in the renewable energy sector, Cesar jumped on the opportunity to return to his almamater Manhattan College to pursue a his Master’s Degree with a focus on Utility Scale Power Systems in 2014.

Prior to attending Manhattan College for his Master’s Degree Cesar was able to leverage his relationships with the Dean of Engineering and his former boss at Jasper Educational Technology, to land a full time position as a Helpdesk Supervisor for the Information Technology Services (ITS) Office.

His fulltime position hurled Cesar back in the Information Technology (IT) field in a managerial position with the added benefits of a salary and tuition remission benefits. As a supervisor Cesar further expanded his tool belt by managing a team of 25-30 student shift workers in charge of level 1 and 2 support. Aside from the new managerial experience Cesar also gained an education of how an IT department in Academia functions. Collaboration with System Admins, Networking Technicians and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) were not uncommon when campus wide infrastructure issues arose. Of the campus wide issues, cyber-crimes such as phishing scams, ransomware and firewall intrusions became a bit of an epidemic. Being on the front lines of these issues gave Cesar an understanding of the devastation that can plague a network with vulnerabilities. Cesar and his staff aided in the mitigation of these types of attacks by quickly identifying them and collaborating with the other IT Groups with a speedy solution. The number of victims sky rockets exponentially the longer you sit on one of these issues.

Realizing graduation was on the horizon Cesar began looking to what the future had to hold. After a few discussions with his career counselor she pointed him in the direction of the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI) website. Amongst the list of co-ops and internships being offered, the “Cyber Security Information Technology Security Support for the Kennedy Space Center Command and Control System” internship position caught his attention. After applying and providing necessary documentation Cesar was delighted to get a call from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to setup a phone interview. Not long after expressing his interest, knowledge and experience with Information Technology (IT) and Cyber Crimes Cesar was offered the Cyber Security Spring 2017 internship position Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

Cesar’s current role at NASA has him providing assistance with testing cyber security software and development of IT security capabilities, used to protect the next launch control system at (KSC).