How AU sparked a career in cybercrime prevention
Transforming Lives: Learners of AU is an ongoing series where real students and alumni share how flexible online learning at Athabasca University made a difference in their lives and communities. Submit your story.
In 2012, I decided to complete my undergraduate degree that required 8 additional credits. Athabasca University (AU) was the only university I contacted that offered me full credit for the courses I had previously completed.
AU is an open university that gives students the opportunity to continue their educational aspirations at their own pace. The entire administrative staff and tutors treat students with respect, recognizing them for their drive and courage to obtain a higher education.
I have been a proponent of online education for many years; it is my favourite method of learning. AU allowed 6 months to complete a course but was supportive in my quest to complete my courses in less time.
While on stage awaiting the presentation of my degree at convocation, I was envious of those receiving their master’s or doctorates and dreamt of pursuing my own advanced degree largely based on my learning experiences at AU.
“AU is an open university that gives students the opportunity to continue their educational aspirations at their own pace. The entire administrative staff and tutors treat students with respect.”– Christopher Kayser (Bachelor of General Studies '14)
Introduction to criminal justice
I took 7 courses in criminal justice at AU, which prompted me to pursue a career in cybercrime prevention.
I decided to get my master’s and enrolled in Boston University’s (BU) online criminal justice program in cybercrime investigation and cybersecurity. The relationships I formed at AU with tutors like Dr. Terry Coleman, Brian Whitelaw, and Tracey Lowey, were and have remained valuable assets.
Immediately after completing my master’s in 2016, I wrote How to Master an Online Degree – A Guide to Success, which was released in 2017 and continues to sell globally to rave reviews.
I then formed Cybercrime Analytics Inc., and commenced my work as a cybercriminologist, which involves working with many aspects of cybercrime prevention.
My second book, Cybercrime through Social Engineering – The New Global Crisis was released in 2020, and also continues to sell globally.
Successful career in cybercriminology
I am enjoying a successful career as a cybercriminologist, published peer-reviewed researcher, editorial reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed journals, and expert witness. I give presentations around the world helping users of technology become more cyber-safe.
I am also a member of the Canadian eCrime Cyber Council, which works with law enforcement agencies in Canada and abroad, and I work collectively as a founding and ongoing member of the Center for Cybercrime Investigation and Cybersecurity at BU. All of these efforts aim to help reduce cybercrime victimization around the world.
AU was catalyst for my career
I look back and say that the catalyst for me continuing my academic pursuits started with AU. My courses, tutors, and the entire supportive process I experienced while an AU student provided the encouragement to expand my education in criminal justice, and in my own personal life.
For all the support AU provided, I, like many, also had the benefit of the support and encouragement of my wife Jan, who was there through both my AU and BU courses.
“I look back and say that the catalyst for me continuing my academic pursuits started with AU.”– Christopher Kayser
Whether someone elects to continue their educational pursuits on-campus or online, I cannot emphasize the importance of taking time to make those closest to you aware of the journey and commitment you are about to undertake to improve your education, and the life-changing benefits as a result. I can attest, that, with their support, the journey is definitely worth it!
I can also say that the experiences I had while pursuing and completing my advanced education played a major role in helping me grow as a person.
This has translated into feeling even more accomplished, and making me more appreciative of everything life has to offer, and enjoying it more every day!
Transforming Lives: Learners of AU
Read more profiles of AU students and grads in our series Transforming Lives: Learners of AU.