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UTSA National Security Collaboration Center open for partners and the public

San Pedro I and San Pedro Creek.
Josh Peck
San Pedro I, which contains the National Security Collaboration Center, along the San Pedro Creek.

The UTSA National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) is now co-located with the university’s School of Data Science (SDS) in San Pedro I, UTSA’s newest facility downtown. The NSCC will host a range of government and private industry partners in the coming months, and it has already welcomed several of them, including the U.S. Department of Energy.

Guy Walsh, retired Air Force brigadier general and executive director of the NSCC, explained what co-locating with the SDS in San Pedro I beginning this January offers the national security ecosystem.

“Bringing the labs, the professors, and the education that the School of Data Science is bringing here and combining that with this ecosystem of national security partners is an integral piece,” Walsh said. “It’s peanut butter and jelly, right?”

The NSCC is made up of more than 80 government and industry partners, and not all of them will end up as tenants in San Pedro I. Other ecosystem members include the NSA, U.S. Secret Service, Raytheon Technologies, CPS Energy, and the 16th Air Force — also known as Air Forces Cyber.

The NSCC was recently selected to be part of the United States Cyber Command Academic Engagement Network, offering the university even more national security credentials.

Walsh said for students, the NSCC and SDS provide incredible opportunities.

“The more obvious is workforce development, right?” he said. “When you talk about the opportunity for internships, when you talk about 35,000 students coming here to UTSA — right in the backyard of Army North headquarters, of Army Research Labs South, of 16th Air Force, of large portions of other portions of our federal government that a lot of people aren’t familiar with that are here in San Antonio, I think that’ll speak for itself.”

Walsh said the NSCC currently has 400 graduate students but will expand to undergraduates in the fall.

 A small conference room in San Pedro I used for the National Security Collaboration Center and the School of Data Science. Desks are organized in expanding half circles centered around an open area with a monitor and podium.
Josh Peck
Texas Public Radio
A conference room in San Pedro I used for the National Security Collaboration Center and the School of Data Science.

Kyle Everett, one of those students, said the new NSCC has been huge for his academic success.

“I have a fellowship with [Idaho National Labs], and I also do most of my work through the [Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute] which is actually on the fifth floor, and I’m also working on a partnership with Dr. [Jeff] Prevost — he’s my mentor,” Everett said. “Working on all different kinds of projects, publications, and things like that, so I’ve ultimately benefited from this and having my mentor just down the street.”

Walsh said San Pedro I was designed so that students don’t have to be working in a lab with industry or government officials in order to interact with them.

“We’re standing in front of one of our breakrooms here. These are on each of the floors," Walsh said. “But again, the significance here that we talked about is they're intended to be locations for collaboration and meeting areas with students, with professors, with industry partners, and across the board.”

He added that labs, offices, and classrooms are all placed in close proximity to guarantee “collisions in the hallway” for all of the facility’s inhabitants.

Walsh also highlighted San Pedro I’s central downtown location as a real effort to connect with the broader San Antonio community.

“We want this to be an education center. My goal is that everyone in the city of San Antonio is welcome and proud to come in and visit and understand what we’re doing and why the university has expanded to downtown, right in the heart of the city,” he said. “I would like to bring every K-12 student in the city of San Antonio, in Bexar County, through this building.”

Another part of that effort is The Eatery, a dining location inspired by Chef Johnny Hernandez-inspired, on the ground floor of San Pedro I that will be open to the public and include outdoor seating along the San Pedro Creek.

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