Paola Garcia Cardenas

Paola Garcia Cardenas

Security Lead

Paola is a cybersecurity engineer currently working for the DataConnect project for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Paola previously led training and assessment efforts for the USAID Cybersecurity Training and Network Assessment Colombia project. She has also worked for several other Bixal contracts, including the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Intranet, two food security initiatives at USAID, Agrilinks and ResilienceLinks and various projects at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Prior to coming to Bixal, Paola was a web developer for a television network, cloud monitoring service, recruiting agency and software company. She also taught computer science classes at Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y., and continues to teach computer science at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, N.Y and cybersecurity at New York University. Paola, who recently obtained a master’s degree in cybersecurity from New York University, has an associate degree in science from Rockland Community College, a bachelor’s degree in computer science from St. Thomas Aquinas College, and a master’s degree in computer science from Pace University in New York City. She is also the recipient of several awards and scholarships related to computer science and cybersecurity. A native of Nicoya, Costa Rica, and a former soccer player, Paola likes to spend her free time running, cycling, reading and hanging out with her cats and dogs.


  • Information Security and Privacy
  • Penetration Testing
  • Web and Application Security
  • NIST SP 800-53, CIS and ARS Controls
  • Front-End Development
  • JavaScript
  • Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
  • Twig
  • Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets/Leaner Style Sheets (SASS/LESS)


  • Project Management Certification
  • CompTIA Security+ Certification
  • CompTIA PenTest+ Certification
  • CompTIA Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional Stackable Certification


  • English
  • Spanish

Bucket List

To become a 6-star World Marathon Majors (WMM) finisher and to travel to some of the most beautiful cities in the world to run half marathons.