Tionna De Freitas, staff writer
Professors on the Utica College campus each have distinct characteristics and special qualities that they offer. At UC, students get to enjoy a pleasant and productive atmosphere for teaching, learning and research.
Austen Givens, a young and well-educated Cybersecurity professor here on campus devotes his time to teaching undergraduate students in homeland security, counterterrorism and emergency management. He also teaches graduate students critical infrastructure protection, cyber incident management, and network security. With all of this on his plate, Givens is also working on obtaining his Doctorate degree in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College in the United Kingdom.
Originally born in Rochester, New York, Givens grew up in Virginia and attended the University of Virginia where he completed his undergraduate studies. Being a huge college basketball fan of his former college, Givens added he was heartbroken after their defeat to Syracuse in the March Madness tournament.
“They suffered a terrible defeat, I’m still kind of upset about that,” Givens said.
After his academic pursuits at the University of Virginia, Givens worked for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C, and later worked as a consultant with the Department of Defense For Homeland Security, and was a fellow Capitol Hill for two members of Congress.
Soon after, Professor Givens was offered a job here at Utica College and says he chose UC for a number of reasons.
“I worked in policy and intelligence as well as IT technology, and the program we have here is a wonderful match for those things,” Givens said. “I didn’t see myself going into academia, but now that I’m here, I absolutely love my job and look forward to coming to work every day.”
Even though his mind is set on teaching students interested in cybersecurity, Givens wasn’t sure what path he was going to take after college.
“My background in undergraduate at the University of Virginia was in International Relations and International Security. A lot of that had to do with terrorism, which at the time was a very big topic,” Givens said. “Dealing with terrorism and intelligence work you get very close to the cybersecurity aspect of things, so it just happened naturally and has been very rewarding.”
As far as future plans for Givens, he plans to remain at Utica College for as long as the campus is willing to have him. He joked about being removed from his office feet first.
Givens hopes to publish his second book in the years to come, following the first book he wrote, ‘The Business of Counterterrorism: Public-Private Partnerships in Homeland Security,’ which deals with terrorism.
Austen also hopes to maintain future relationships with his colleagues and educate bright, energetic students.
“I think as long as I feel challenged and continue to grow professionally, I’ll be at UC for a long time. I’m extremely blessed to be here,” Givens said.