STEM Professional of the week

Jose Romero-Mariona, Ph.D.      
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command

A promising young engineer, who is making direct and effective contributions in the area of Information Assurance (IA) and Cyber Security, Dr. Jose Romero-Mariona has continually exhibited exceptional professionalism, leadership and technical skills in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics environment. Specifically, he has focused on the execution of Science and Technology programs as a Lead Research Scientist at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific in the critical area of national cyber security. Since his arrival at SPAWAR, he has developed new concepts and techniques, in the areas of unmanned cryptographic information dominance, IA decision support, Cyber Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition monitoring and protection. His work has increased the Navy’s capabilities in critical national security technical fields and provided innovative solutions to push the boundaries of cyber security as it looks today in order to make it more usable, functional and seamless to our warfighters tomorrow.

With a passion for STEM outreach and mentoring, Dr. Jose Romero-Mariona has volunteered as a mentor for various programs, including the CAMP Summer Science Academy, which focuses on women in the sciences as well as students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. The mentoring experience has allowed Dr. Romero-Mariona to grow as an individual, as a student, and as a role model. He has also pursued a new effort, targeting STEM outreach to the Hispanic community through a program called "Noche de Ciencia en Español" (Science Night in Spanish). This program brings scientific demonstrations in Spanish to parents and their children at various elementary, middle, and high schools around the San Diego area in order to get parents excited about STEM careers for their children.

A native of El Salvador, Dr. Romero-Mariona and his family left his home country to escape the Salvadoran Civil War. New to the U.S. and unfamiliar with the academic system, he found it challenging when it came to planning his future given that he was slated to start senior year of high school within two months of arriving. Against major odds but with full support from his family, Dr. Romero-Mariona began his long but rewarding academic career at the University of California at Irvine. The completion of his undergraduate degree, felt like more of a start than an end point. He realized that while he had learned a lot, he still had more questions than answers and graduate school would be where he not only would find those answers, but shape new questions that others can now seek answers to.

He earned both his bachelor’s, master's and Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from the UC Irvine. Dr. Romero-Mariona was honored with a STEM Military & Civilian Hero Award at the 25th Anniversary Conference in 2013.

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