Brazil native’s path to technology career continues at PBSC
When Rafael Miranda crossed the stage at Palm Beach State College’s spring commencement May 9, he had an extra boost of confidence knowing he had reached a milestone and was already on his way to achieving the next one.
Born in Brazil, Miranda, 31, came to the U.S. in 2012. He first worked as a Brazilian jazz musician in South Florida, and then in the fiber optics industry, before he decided to focus on his education.
Starting at another state college, he switched to PBSC after a phone call with Eva Suarez, Ph.D., chair of the College’s Engineering Technology Department.
“I came across PBSC’s program online, and Dr. Suarez gave me the confidence I needed to go for it,” Miranda said. “She’s always there for her students and played a very important role in my achievement.”
Along the way to earning his Associate in Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Electronics, Miranda won a Gene Haas Foundation scholarship and earned an award for Academic Excellence in Electronics. He credits the program’s hands-on curriculum, lab facilities, the many industry partners and, of course, in addition to Dr. Suarez, the faculty.
“If I were to name every professor, it would be a big list. They have all been there for me. My experience would not be the same if I hadn’t had their support,” he said.
Then during his last two semesters in the A.S. degree program, he became interested in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity defends electronic systems as well as mobile devices, computers, networks and data from malicious attacks. Miranda plans to combine his engineering mindset and electronics background with cybersecurity skills to become even more marketable. As a result, he’s already taken two classes for his next degree: PBSC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management, with a concentration in Security and Network Assurance.
“I made the conclusion that going for these two fields would make me stand out,” Miranda said. “My interest is in protecting information. By expanding my knowledge to include cybersecurity, not only could I work on solutions or fix something on a production line electronics-wise, but also on the information management side.”
His two aunts, Dora and Gloria De Oliveira, were there at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to watch him graduate.
“My family means the world to me. They have supported me through a lot of ups and downs, and I am so happy to have them in my life. I hope to return everything back to them one day.”
While his sights are set on a future in technology, Miranda does carve out time to play the piano and other instruments at home.
“That is the Brazilian side within me still. I grew up playing so I have a strong artistic side,” Miranda said. “But now I’m building the analytical side of me. The college experience really rounded me out in a way. I’m able now to look at things from a different perspective and make better decisions. I’m really proud and happy to be standing where I am today. I’m halfway to my ultimate goal of a bachelor’s degree and just want to keep the momentum going.”