Garcia Named Director of Institute for Cybersecurity at Southeast


Dr. Mario Garcia

Dr. Mario Garcia, associate dean for Academics in the College of Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), has been named director of the Institute for Cybersecurity at Southeast Missouri State University.

Southeast’s new Institute for Cybersecurity was created by the Southeast Board of Regents in September and will launch with the spring 2020 semester to further research, education and service activities in this growing high-need field of study. In addition to his position as director, Garcia will serve as professor of cybersecurity in the Department of Computer Science in Southeast’s Harrison College of Business and Computing. He will begin his new duties Jan. 1. In his capacity as Director of the Institute for Cybersecurity, he will report to Southeast Provost Mike Godard. His office will be located in the University’s new Cyber Range in Dempster Hall.

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Garcia will be joining Southeast as our inaugural Director of the Institute for Cybersecurity. His leadership experience along with his technical and analytical knowledge will allow Southeast to take the next steps as a state and national leader in the area of cybersecurity,” Godard said.

Garcia has served since 1999 at TAMU-CC and has taught in higher education since 1980. Since 1993, he has held faculty positions in computer science at Texas A&M University, Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM), Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and National System of Technological Institutes in Mexico, before joining TAMU-CC. He has also been an instructor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working with students from across the country in the Cyber Defenders Summer Program.

His research has focused on applications of artificial intelligence to cybersecurity, and he is engaged in research in web security, creating protections against the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 vulnerabilities.

Garcia holds a doctoral degree in computer science with a major in artificial intelligence from Texas A&M University. He has done postdoctoral work in information assurance at the University of Maryland University College. He holds a Master of Science in computer science with a major in artificial intelligence from ITESM, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the Instituto Technologico de la Laguna, a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the Instituto Technologico de Saltillo; and certificates in information assurance from Purdue University and Carnegie Mellon University.

In his new position, Garcia will lead the Institute for Cybersecurity which is a National Security Agency (NSA)/ U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Garcia will also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in cybersecurity and computer science

Garcia said that during his recent visit to Southeast he “found an interesting combination of computer science junior and senior faculty who are willing to do whatever it takes to help students succeed.” In a meeting with Southeast’s cybersecurity students, he said, “I felt their enthusiasm and desire to learn.

“I am looking forward to a long and productive career at Southeast Missouri State University,” he continued. “I hope that my effort will contribute to achieving the mission, vision and goals of the University.”