Graduate, Master of Defense and Strategic Studies
Cameron Garcia was born and raised in Houston, Texas and his professional goal is to be a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State.
To this end, he has a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Houston. He also has two internships with the Department of State to his credit: the first in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa in 2017, and the second in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City in 2019.
He enrolled in UTEP's Master of Defense and Strategic Studies program to help prepare him even better for his dream career. While a student, from September 2020 to May 2021, Cameron has served as a Virtual Student Federal Service intern with the Political/Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon.
Cameron is also a foreign languages enthusiast who recently won a scholarship with the Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship program. He will be taking intensive courses in Portuguese this summer.
Cameron lives in Houston and graduated in August 2021.
Why he enrolled in the program:
I enrolled in the DSS Program to prepare for a career in the Foreign Service; the course work has provided me with a profound knowledge of how security issues influence geopolitics, American foreign policy and diplomacy.
His experience with online learning:
The DSS Program has been my first experience with online coursework and it has been very positive. It has given me the opportunity to develop a profound understanding of geopolitics while also allowing me to pursue other passions of mine such as foreign language. It is my hope that I can use the knowledge from my DSS coursework to become an effective U.S. diplomat. My DSS coursework has played a prominent role in my Department of State internship applications as well as my personal narratives for my Critical Language Scholarship application.
On the support he received as an online student:
I firmly feel that I have had the support I needed to thrive in the DSS Program, as all of my professors have made themselves readily available to assist me with course content and my advisor, Dr. Ashby, has made the registration process very straightforward.
On winning a scholarship with the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship program and what this means for his career:
Starting on June 14, I will be starting the Critical Language Scholarship’s Intensive Portuguese Program. CLS is an intensive language program which seeks to increase the number of Americans who speak the languages of foreign countries critical to American geopolitical and economic interests. As Portuguese is the sixth most widely-spoken language in the world, fluency in Portuguese will allow me to serve as a U.S. diplomat in every corner of the world in lusophone nations such as Portugal, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Angola, Mozambique and East Timor.
On whether he would enroll in this program again if he had to do things over:
If I had to enroll in the DSS Program again I would certainly do so, as the DSS Program has engaged my passion for international affairs in addition to preparing me for a career as a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of State.
What he would say to prospective online students:
Regarding CLS, studying less commonly taught languages such as Portuguese can open doors to not only personal growth, but also professional opportunities. As for the DSS Program, the coursework and expertise of the UTEP faculty can propel your knowledge of geopolitical security to a level which will prepare you for successes in a variety of public and private sector careers in international affairs.