Mavericks Personified: Jose Gonzalez
In defense of his country
As hundreds of thousands of marchers rallied in Dallas, Fort Worth and across the nation for immigration rights last spring, Jose Gonzalez felt a strong sense of gratitude to the country he now calls home.
Born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, he not only has achieved the American dream but works daily to help protect America by building software systems for the Department of Homeland Security.
As a software engineer for L-3 Communications, Gonzalez works on human interface software to enhance intelligence in military and national security missions.
“I am helping create programs that provide better intelligence and reconnaissance information to better protect our soldiers,” he said, adding that his father, who migrated here from Mexico and fought in the Gulf War, works for the Department of Homeland Security. “Now it’s my turn to protect this great country.”
Gonzalez graduated magna cum laude from UT Arlington in 2003 with an honor’s degree in computer science and engineering. He credits several professors who pushed him to better understand his course work and define his career goals.
“I didn’t even own a computer until I attended college. My professors kept me focused, and my family and friends gave me encouragement,” he said. “Their support helped me achieve my dream of becoming an engineering professional.”
Gonzalez, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. at UT Arlington, says his parents emphasized the importance of education. Both earned college degrees in Mexico.
“I wanted to follow in their footsteps. My dad is an inspiration to me. He wanted a better life for us and we moved to Dallas.”
A high school counselor recommended the University’s College of Engineering.
“I remember hearing about the college and its reputation for developing top graduates in computer science,” Gonzalez said. “UTA gave me confidence in my career, so when I graduated I had no worries about getting a good job.”
Gonzalez, who has always been curious about how things work, said he’d like to see more Hispanics and minorities pursue engineering and science careers.
“If you want a career that is challenging, rewarding and pays well, then you won’t be disappointed in engineering or computer science,” he said. “I won’t tell you it’s easy, but it’s an exciting field that keeps you on the edge.
“This is part of my American dream—to be in a job where I enjoy what I do and also help create a safer America.”
— Michael Vega