Earning your degree at Rutgers-Camden guarantees that you will have a world-class education. It also means that you’ll be exposed to different areas of study that you may not have considered before. Take Dennis Egen. This one-time math major enrolled in Introduction to Computer Science, taught by Dr. Suneeta Ramaswami, Associate Professor of Computer Science, in order to fulfill a requirement. The class fascinated him, and he particularly enjoyed the sense of achievement he felt after completing a class project in which he had to write code in order to simulate a blackjack game. Taking this required class completely changed his life. He changed his major to computer science that same semester.
Dennis completed his bachelor’s degree in May 2002, and put his computer science skills to use, working as a senior application developer with Insight Interactive Group and eventually as the vice president of information technology at The Archer Group, a digital marketing and technology agency. In 2008, Dennis returned to his alma mater to earn his master’s degree in computer science. Choosing the Graduate School-Camden was an easy decision for Dennis. “I knew how closely I would be able to work with the impressive faculty…since it’s a small environment,” Dennis says. And so he perpetuated his family’s tradition of attending Rutgers: Dennis’ mother worked and studied at Rutgers-Camden, his sister earned her degree at Cook College, and on the first day of school his freshman year he even met the woman who would become his wife!
Dennis is full of praise for the Department of Computer Science’s faculty, citing Dr. Jean-Camille Birget, Professor of Computer Science; Dr. Desmond Lun, Associate Professor of Computer Science; Dr. Michael Palis, Professor of Computer Science; and Dr. Ramaswami as professors that challenged, enlightened, and influenced him. The class, however, that Dennis calls “mind-blowing” was Introduction to Religion; again, Rutgers-Camden’s commitment to a well-rounded education allowed Dennis the opportunity to expand his knowledge and think more deeply about areas unrelated to his major.
In May 2011, Dennis graduated with his master’s degree in computer science. Shortly thereafter he joined the computer science faculty as a part-time lecturer, developing real-world curriculum for software engineering students. He explains that teaching students skills and techniques that are valuable in the workforce will give them an advantage over those who have a strictly academic background. For Dennis, the most rewarding part of teaching is seeing his students gain employment and then hearing about their experiences.
In addition to his work as a part-time lecturer, in September 2011 Dennis was promoted to chief technology officer and partner at The Archer Group. According to Dennis, “the greatest part of my job is that I am constantly learning and tackling new challenges.” A day could involve tasks as varied as installing and evaluating different software for quality assurance testing, reviewing a new contract or budget planning, and interviewing potential hires.
One of Dennis’s roles at The Archer Group is to oversee information security policies and procedures. This position, in addition to taking a class with Dr. Birget in Computer Security as a graduate student, has given Dennis a wealth of knowledge about computer security issues, leading him to recently become an independent information security consultant, helping small to mid-size companies remain secure and minimize risk.
Clearly, Dennis enjoys a life full of accomplishment. He credits Rutgers-Camden for his success, saying “Every opportunity I’ve ever had in my career can be traced back to Rutgers-Camden. Without the rigorous coursework and curriculum at Rutgers-Camden, I would not have taken a computer science class and learned I had a knack for it. Without my education in general, I would not have had any of the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to have.” Education is a key part of anyone’s success – for Dennis Egen, two degrees from Rutgers-Camden paved his path to opportunity and achievement.
About Dennis Egen
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Major: Computer Science
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Minor: Mathematics
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Date: May 2002
Graduate School-Camden Program: Computer Science
Graduate School-Camden Graduation Date: May 2011