Augusta University celebrates first cybersecurity engineering graduates – Jagwire

Augusta University celebrates first cybersecurity engineering graduates – Jagwire


When Chris Judkins, Vignesh Sivakumar, and Alec Cornu Mitchell began their college careers four years ago, Augusta University’s cybersecurity engineering program didn’t even exist.

This week, Judkins, Sivakumar and Mitchell will proudly walk the stage during the graduation ceremony on Friday, May 13, and will become the first three students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity engineering from Augusta University. .

“I’m very happy to be walking with these two,” Judkins said, pointing to Sivakumar and Mitchell. “Honestly, I am very proud and grateful to have been able to overcome some of the difficult projects we have had to do together. This is a difficult specialty. It’s certainly one of the most rigorous courses I’ve seen in a computer-related field, but we’ve made it. “

Sivakumar, originally from New Delhi, India, and Mitchell, who was born in Aiken, South Carolina, met their first year at Augusta University.

“It’s wild because Vignesh and I have done almost every semester together,” Mitchell said. “We met in freshman year and became best friends, so it means a lot to graduate together.”

Three men sitting
Chris Judkins, Vignesh Sivakumar and Alec Cornu Mitchell have proudly become the first graduates of Augusta University’s cybersecurity engineering program. [Kim Ratliff/Augusta University]

After learning that he would be one of the first students to graduate with a degree in cybersecurity engineering from Augusta University this spring, Sivakumar remembers telling his parents the exciting news.

“We found out last semester, so I showed my parents that I would graduate with only three people in our specialty and we are the first to graduate from this program. When I told them, they said, ‘That’s great,’ “Sivakumar said with a laugh. “They are very happy for me.”

Judkins, originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, said the graduation ceremony would mean a lot to his entire family.

“I’m the first in my family to go to a four-year college,” Judkins said. “Everyone is very excited to see me graduate. It’s definitely been a long journey to get here. And from what I’ve gathered from everyone I’ve talked to in my family, everyone is very proud to see me complete this degree. “.

The degree program in cybersecurity engineering at the University of Augusta trains professional engineers capable of applying knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering to analyze and design complex systems.

Dr. Michael Nowatkowski, an associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Cybernetics and head of the Cyber ​​Studies Program, said he is delighted that the first graduates in cybersecurity engineering will soon receive their degrees.

“We hope these graduates are an example for other students who want to follow them,” Nowatkowski said. “I know we now have a lot of other students enrolled in the program and more are applying as freshmen to enter the program directly, so it’s very exciting. Our program at the University of Augusta is the only “cybersecurity engineering in Georgia and there are less than five in the United States that I know of, so it’s a unique program.”

There are also many job opportunities available, both in the public and private sectors, for students with a cybersecurity engineering degree who want to pursue a career as a security engineer or cybersecurity analyst, Sivakumar said.

“In this program, there are many classes that offer training very similar to what the National Security Agency wants and need a lot of government positions,” Sivakumar said. “For example, the NSA wants someone trained in mobile and cellular technologies. In fact, many of their job descriptions call for this training, and this program offers a course with this exact training.”

Sivakumar, who started out as a computer science graduate, said he was very happy with his freshman year after Steven Weldon, a computer instructor at Augusta University’s School of Computer Science and Cybernetics, told him that a degree in cybersecurity engineering would be offered.

“I like how cybersecurity engineering is like a mix of other specialties like computer science, information technology and there’s a little bit of physics from electronics, which I really liked,” he said. . “There’s a little bit of all these areas, which I think makes this degree really interesting.”

In recent years, Judkins has said he has been surprised by the growth of cybersecurity in the Augusta area.

“I think the Georgia Cyber ​​Center is a great attraction for our entire School of Computer Science and Cybercrime,” Judkins said. “It’s just a great facility and we have a lot of job opportunities here. For example, I work for AU as a student assistant at the SOC (Security Operations Center). We perform all security operations of the AU network, which includes the hospital. So it’s a hands-on experience in a very large network with a lot of different problems that we have to solve. “

Judkins, Sivakumar, and Mitchell also praised professors at the School of Computer Science and Cybercrime and the College of Science and Mathematics who helped pave the way for cybersecurity engineering, such as Weldon, Nowatkowski. , Dr. Michael Dowell, Dr. Joseph Hauger. and Dr. Clément Aubert.

“Teachers are very committed to students,” Mitchell said. “You can go into a class and really know when a teacher is passionate about teaching you and make sure you learn what you have to learn with this degree. I mean, you can come in the first day and feel it. Thanks to those teachers. , I know I’m well prepared for my future career. “

The opening ceremonies for the spring of 2022 at the University of Augusta will be held on Thursday 12 May and Friday 13 May. Thursday’s ceremony will honor graduate students and Friday’s ceremonies will honor undergraduate students. Watch the events live.

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