UC Stories

Carmen Johnson

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go. All I knew is I wanted to play hockey, so I kind of my college selection around that. I talked to the head coach here, and he seemed pretty interested in me. I already knew somebody who went here, so that made it a little easier. I basically based the decision on that, but I found a pretty awesome program when I got here. I actually came in as a criminal justice major, and I met Professor Giordano and we got to talking and he pretty much convinced me to make the switch over to cybersecurity.

I’ve learned a lot through the cybersecurity program. I took some really challenging and really fun courses. I actually work as a co-op for a company now, and my supervisor was my professor in one of my classes. I had so much fun in that class, and he helped get me into the company, Assured Information Security, which is a major company in the field. It’s pretty intense. It’s been nothing but a learning curve so far. I do some programming, material to get me adjusted to the kind of environment they work in. I’ve been doing a lot of Linux work, a lot of programming. Pretty much anything to get my feet into certain areas and to see if I’d be better in certain areas than others. I’ve gotten to do some penetration testing. It’s been a really fun learning experience there.

My professor is the one who got me in there. I needed an internship for the spring semester, and I asked if they do anything. He said not usually. Their internship is usually in the summer, but I guess he saw my work in class, and he helped me out, which was cool. When I came in as a criminal justice major, my first class was with Professor Harris, and he was so awesome. He was very supportive in what I would do. He’s so chill and laid back.

This college is growing and it’s starting to get put on the map. They have target programs like the cybersecurity program and nursing. It’s programs like those that I think are really getting the name out there. One day it will become a really, really well known school. I think the programs are really getting the name out there. I think those will draw the attention first. I know they also reworking a lot of the buildings on campus, so it’s kind of a works-in-progress all across campus.

I absolutely couldn’t have imagined having the experiences that I’ve had here. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got here. I probably wasn’t the most directed kid in high school. I probably was so bored I didn’t want to do anything. I came here for hockey and I found the cybersecurity program along with it, and it was such an enjoyable experience for me. I think enjoying that experience allowed me to excel in the areas I’ve been working so hard in, and I never would have predicted that me of all people would have found such an awesome path. And I found great professors – who are now great friends – along the way.

I’ve discovered that I’m a lot smarter than I thought I was. I’ve been able to logically put things together rather than try and ask for the answers everywhere I go. But I think what surprised me more is how I’ve been able to multi-task along the way. I never would have thought that I’d ever be over-achieving – getting really good grades, having a minor, playing hockey. I just didn’t think I was that person. I never thought I’d be able to pick up all those things, and successfully accomplish them. I’ve become a more confident person.

I know I have pretty lofty goals, but I set high standards for myself. That’s something I learned to do here. So I figure that now I’m just going to aim high, and see where I can take it. I’m not same person I was in high school. I mean, I enjoyed my classes, and I had great teachers here and there, but I don’t think I was very directed.

   Carmen Johnson


Major: Cybersecurity and Information Assurance


Women's Hockey

(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502