PHD in cybersecurity

Education

LAST November, PNG-born Emmanuel Suarez Jigo was conferred a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in cybersecurity at the Nova Southeastern University in Florida, the United States.
The 28-year-old had been groomed for academic excellence from the very start.
“I was inspired to get to where I am today by my parents, who hold doctoral and master’s degrees respectively,” Emmanuel said.
“They started to emphasize the importance of education during my primary education at St Joseph’s International Catholic College.”
His father is from Nigeria and mother from the Philippines but are PNG citizens.
They have lived and worked in PNG for almost three decades.
His father, Dr Oti Jigo, holds a PhD in economics.
His mother Bregidita Suarez Jigo holds a master’s degree in education administration.
Both met when they were students at the University of Santo Tomas.
Emmanuel was born in Port Moresby and attended the then St Joseph’s International Catholic School from pre-school to grade eight.
He then attended Port Moresby International School for Grade nine and part of Grade 10.
He moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, US, where he completed grades 11 and 12 at the Catholic Central High School.
After Grade 12, Emmanuel left the US to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines.
His parents remained an inspiration to him.
“Their doctorial and master’s thesis I read at the University of Santo Tomas’ library when I was doing research for my first degree, a bachelor of science in computer science, highly motivated and pushed me to decide to get to the highest degree of my profession,” he said. In 2014, Emmanuel was accepted into a master of science in information systems security programme at the college of engineering and computing at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
As a master’s student, Emmanuel excelled academically and was noticed by the dean and professors at the college of computing and engineering who recommended his early admission to the doctoral programme specialising in cybersecurity.
In 2015, a master of science degree in information systems security was conferred on Emmanuel.
“I have several role models but since my undergraduate days, I have looked up to microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates, whose passion and drive made him not only one of the world’s richest but a leading technologist, business leader and philanthropist,” he said.
From 2015 to 2020, Emmanuel progressed through his courses and security research, and last November, he completed his doctoral thesis entitled “development of criteria for mobile device cyber-security threat classification and communication standards”.
“Although I have been interested in information technology from a young age and got my bachelors in computer science to get into the field, I became interested in cyber security only in the last year of my bachelor’s programme after attending a hacking seminar provided by the university,” he said.
“Cyber security is interesting because it is a field where different disciplines from computer science, business, computer networking, human psychology and several others, all come into play when looking to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of individuals and organisations.”
His parents are very supportive of his achievements.
“We thank God for His guidance and wisdom who continuously laid the groundwork and foundation for Emmanuel to reach his goals,” Dr Oti said.
Emmanuel plans to develop a career as a security researcher to innovate new tools, techniques, and processes to defend individuals and organisations from the bad actors.
His advice to young students is to choose a path that they know they will enjoy.
“If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you are setting yourself up for failure,” he said.
“You can take advice from your elders on career paths. (But) ultimately, they cannot dictate what you will do because in the end, you are the one doing the work on your education.
“For example, with an advice from my parents, I secured an admission to study BS pharmacy in USA but seeing that I will not enjoy such path of career, before the semester ended, I returned to Philippines and took up the God’s planned career course for me – computer science at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila.”

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