Middle Georgia State MVP: Michael Viox

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 1:09 PM
Category: Finding Greatness

Macon, GA

Graduating senior Michael J. Viox was captain of the School of IT's cyber defense team, which recently finished in the top eight of Southeast regional competition.

Full Name: Michael J. Viox.

Age: 32.

Hometown: Vancouver, WA.

Residence: Macon.

Family: "My lovely wife of 10+ years, Jennifer Viox, and our two beautiful children, Laura, 5, and
Dustin, 10.

Employment: "I am a partner/operator of Presti Digital, which serves the Middle Georgia area
with technical assistance through freelance field service engineering. I helped create this company to help finance my education and provide for my family. I treat this as a part-time position because my education must come first."

Degree Objective: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, concentration in information
assurance and network administration. Two Associate of Science degrees - IT and Business

Class Rank: Senior.

Primary Campus: Macon.

Activities: Officer in the Association of Information Technology Students (AITS), member of the
Central Georgia Information Security Systems Association (CGISSA), SGA senator (2013), National
Leadership Society.

Career Goals: "I want to be an information security officer for a major Internet service provider or
either a system's pen tester. My love for technology and security makes these a perfect fit. This is an exciting world. Every day technology changes how we interact with the world and every day someone is out there to exploit it."

He chose Middle Georgia State College because … "Ten years prior to my first class, I toured the Macon Campus and fell in love. Shortly after, I moved out of state. After 10 years of successfully working construction (yes, I started from the bottom digging ditches and paving roads), the economy crashed and I was forced to move my family back to Middle Georgia. I lost everything I had. I moved my family into my mother's house until we were able to fend for ourselves. It was that moment of clarity that finally drove me to realize my lifelong dream. Originally I decided to pursue an engineering degree, but after speaking with a professor and later my advisor in the School of IT, I knew my place and passion was in information technology. It didn't stop there. The more I learned and the more I gained contacts within the college, my love of this school and its students grew. I'm almost sad to be graduating. Almost."

The one thing that surprised him about Middle Georgia State was … "Students come first. My advisors have helped me though each step and really made my degree worth something. I feel as if my degree is catered to me. I may have a student number, but unlike what may be the case at other universities, I am not defined by that number."

His favorite professor is … "I have four: Johnathan Yerby, Dr. Kevin Floyd, Dr. Myungjae Kwak and
Shannon Beasley. Each has been instrumental to my development. Some are my assigned advisors
while others have gone above and beyond normal education practices to fully teach the material. These gentlemen have developed a love for technology within me that I will never forget. When I have struggled with projects or assignments, they have helped me through them or provided resources to further my understanding of the material."

His favorite place to study is … "The second floor of the Professional Sciences building is a perfect place for study. It is quiet, out of the way, and doesn't receive a lot of foot traffic. There is also enough room to collaborate with groups regarding group projects."

One thing people don’t know about him is … In July 2004, I was paralyzed from the face down. I
came down with a semi-rare disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, after receiving a flu shot. This is an
autoimmune disorder where my immune system became overactive and destroyed my nervous system. After eight months of physical therapy and many trips to the hospital, I gained enough strength to return to work. I was extremely lucky."

His friends make fun of him because … "I talk too much. I spend a vast amount of time trying to
explain a concept that would otherwise take 30 seconds. I can just go on and on and on ...."

The one person he'd most like to meet is … "To be truthful, I don't really have one. My heroes are all around me. Non-traditional students who go back to school after a 15 year break from high
school, single mothers who feel a need to better themselves with an education, previous construction professionals who lost everything and decided to start over with a clearer path, and students who have jobs, families, and other responsibilities and still maintain a great GPA. These individuals inspire me everyday to continue to work and better myself and family. They are famous to me."

Five years from now he sees himself … "On the cutting edge of new development in the information security industry and providing a sustainable living for my family."

Info about the School of IT's degree programs is here.