Arizona online student graduating and throwing grad cap with "bear down" written on it

Online Wildcats Share Their #AZOJourney to Graduation

We're excited to share two student journeys to graduation. Meet Ethan and Jose, who are both graduating from Eller College of Management.

Even though Ethan Panal is graduating with his MS in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona Online program this spring, he isn’t done yet! After taking some well-deserved time off from his educational pursuits, Ethan says he wants to keep going and learning. 

“I enjoyed taking the business intelligence courses in my program, and they piqued my interest in the broader field of data science. As a veteran, I still have some GI Bill benefits left and plan to use them to study advanced statistics and machine learning topics to deepen my understanding of data science,” says Ethan. 

Ethan grew up in Yuma, Arizona, earning a computer science bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy. He left the Navy in 2019 and now works as a federal government data analyst in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He enrolled in his Arizona Online program to deepen his knowledge at the intersection of technology and data. In addition, the program provides a solid foundation to use IT strategy and policy from a management perspective. 

Ethan chose Arizona Online because the flexibility of online supported his ability to work and learn simultaneously. He says he had also heard that the Arizona Online program had a reputation for supporting Veterans.

What is Ehtan’s advice to prospective students?

“Online learning, especially asynchronous learning, requires time management and self-discipline. Set specific weekly goals to accomplish and minimize distractions during dedicated study time,” says Ethan.

image of ethan in his graduating cap and gown, smiling and giving a thumbs up.
Jose Alvarado headshot. Jose is wearing a blue dress shirt and tie.

Jose Alvarado was born and raised in Southern California and now lives in Henderson, Nevada. He is also graduating this spring with an MS in Cybersecurity.

Jose has an incredibly versatile and impressive professional background with just under a decade of experience in IT, five years in the managed service provider space, two years in the broadcast space, and just under two years in fintech, in which he is currently working in as a director of network and security. 

Jose says that he chose to enroll in the cybersecurity program to understand the cybersecurity space, hands-on experience, and management view of cybersecurity that will prepare him to take on consulting and or executive-level roles.

“In short, I enrolled to increase my opportunities to grow further in my career,” says Jose.

After graduating, Jose plans to work on his blog ( and focus on turning it into a research hub for cybersecurity professionals. He also plans to build a cybersecurity consulting firm (

Despite the current volatility, Jose feels confident about his future in the cybersecurity and IT space. “I believe that my skills are competitive enough to help me continue to earn a living through rough times in our economy and continue to do well when our economy starts growing again.”  

Jose advises prospective cybersecurity students to “read every chapter and extra reading resources, which will be extremely valuable as you progress through the program. Taking diligent notes helped me absorb more information I eventually used in further courses within the program and used immediately in my professional career managing a cybersecurity team.”