M.S. Candidate, DMV Data Analyst Plans to Build Bridges for Data Managers and Data Protectors
Justan Foster ’20
Justan Foster, a full-time M.S. student focused on Cybersecurity and Data Privacy, also works full time as a data analyst in the central office of the N.Y. State Department of Motor Vehicles.
While learning his way around the massive data repository for the agency since he started in 2013, he realized that a degree in cybersecurity would provide cross-discipline knowledge in the ethics of storing the data and how it should be safe-guarded.
“I want to be a bridge-builder between people who work solely with data and people who focus on its protection," Justan said. "By understanding the legal aspects of the data we are responsible for, we can better serve the citizens of New York.”
Although the master’s program is conducted entirely online, Justan’s favorite aspect is how close he has been able to work with Associate Dean Haynes, the Director of Cybersecurity and Privacy Law, and Professor Jason Fiske, the Assistant Dean for Program Development and Distance Education. The program allows Justan to complete the entirety of his studies online, but also meet with professors on campus and attend classes in-person, given his location. He especially appreciates being able to engage with students within the cybersecurity community who are not only interested in data privacy, but the laws behind it.
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Although the master’s program is conducted entirely online, Foster appreciates how close he has been able to work with his professors.
“Sometimes people focus only on how they can protect data, or how they can get more out of their data,” said Justan, who majored in English at the University at Albany. “At Albany Law, the cybersecurity community is interested in the law and how their business and agencies will be impacted by regulations. This balance is hard to find.”
Justan said he sees the program adding value to him and his employer: by speaking with and learning from legal experts and data experts, he will be better prepared to help accomplish agency needs.
“I’m looking forward to using the education that I gain at Albany Law School to positively impact public policy,” he said.
Between his career and being a full-time student, Foster finds a work-life balance through music, as a pianist and organist. He works as Music Director at Greenbush Reformed Church, and he is the Assistant Director of the Festival Celebration Choir, which is an ecumenical singing group. In 2013, Foster published a CD album, “An American Evolution,” a compilation of works for organ by American composers.
He credits his ability to balance work, school, and his music commitments to being a great planner and the support behind Albany Law’s online program.
“At Albany Law the faculty support you and find time for you,” Justan said. “You’re not just a number and this is what drew me here: The school size, the location, and the ability to do work online and still have interactions and relationships with the faculty.”
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