John Reynolds ’23: An innovator on a mission to safeguard cyberspace

Reynolds, a U.S. Air Force veteran, transitioned his security expertise to the private sector while earning an M.S. in Cybersecurity from SMU Lyle

John Reynolds

As a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, John Reynolds helped keep our nation safe and secure. Now an SMU Lyle School of Engineering graduate student, the military veteran is focused on protecting user data and personal information on the internet. 

“With growing concerns over data security and user privacy, I believe that the way we manage user identification and authentication will undergo a significant transformation in the coming years,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds enrolled in the online Master of Science in Software Engineering program offered by SMU Lyle’s Department of Computer Science to expand his proficiency in the development of emerging, high-stakes technologies. He’s on track to complete his degree later this year.

SMU Lyle helps make education more accessible to those who have served in the U.S. military with an Active Duty and Veterans tuition rate for a variety of graduate programs, just one of the reasons Reynolds chose the online master’s program.

“Thanks to well-curated and accessible online resources, I’m able to pursue an online master's program while balancing my responsibilities,” he said.

The school offers 21 graduate degree programs that prepare engineers to be leaders in their fields. SMU Lyle’s extensive remote education opportunities cater to the needs of busy people ready to take the next step in their careers. Online programs provide working professionals like Reynolds with full graduate student experience through high-caliber instruction and enriching faculty interactions.

“I value flexibility, which is now crucial as a remote-working dad,” Reynolds said. “The convenience and effectiveness of online learning at SMU Lyle have been invaluable in helping me achieve my academic goals without sacrificing my other responsibilities.”

A solid foundation in computer science acquired at the prestigious U.S. Air Force Academy has been fundamental to his career’s momentum. After earning his undergraduate degree, Reynolds attended cyber technical training. He was stationed at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado, where he served as a crew commander for the Global Strategic Warning and Space Surveillance System Center. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his meritorious service.

Reyolds transitioned his security expertise to the private sector at Aleo, a cutting-edge blockchain startup. He’s contributing to the development of innovative decentralized solutions deploying zero-knowledge cryptography, which allows individuals to prove details without revealing underlying information, thus enhancing privacy on the web.

“The SMU Lyle Master’s in Cybersecurity program fits perfectly with my passion for exploring the intersection of data security and emerging technology,” he said. “The emphasis on industry relevance and the continuous improvement of online materials has been particularly valuable and engaging.”


—Thinking grad school? Think SMU Lyle. Apply now through Nov. 15 for Spring 2024.

John Reynolds

John Reynolds (right) attended the 2015 graduation of older brother Jack from the Cox School of Business while he was a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet.

Reynolds found exceptional mentorship through SMU Computer Science Professor, Maya El Daya.

“She is passionate about her students’ learning, and her dedication to teaching has had a profound impact on my graduate experience,” he said.

With the advanced skills he has gained at SMU Lyle, Reynolds has an edge in the competitive tech landscape, preparing him for his future careers in cybersecurity.

“My goal is to develop technologies that empower individuals and businesses to protect their sensitive information,” he said. “Industries like finance, healthcare and e-commerce, which rely heavily on personal data, will greatly benefit from these advancements.”

About the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering 

SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering thrives on innovation that transcends traditional boundaries. We strongly believe in the power of externally funded, industry-supported research to drive progress and provide exceptional students with valuable industry insights. Our mission is to lead the way in digital transformation within engineering education, all while ensuring that every student graduates as a confident leader. Founded in 1925, SMU Lyle is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest, offering undergraduate and graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees.


About SMU 

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, community and the world.