Meet our MA Cyber Crime and Terrorism Graduate, Connor

My name is Connor Rees, I am currently a PhD Researcher split between Criminology and Computer Science at Swansea University. Prior to undertaking a Masters, I studied Criminology and Criminal Justice as an undergraduate at Swansea.

I chose to study the MA in Cyber Crime and Terrorism for a number of reasons that relate to personal interests, goals, and career prospects. My motives began with a genuine interest in the topic area, particularly radicalisation and extremism following my undergraduate dissertation.

A head shot of Connor Rees

My career interests are also embedded in the topic areas covered by this program; which simply put, allowed me to further my education in a topic that I thoroughly enjoyed in a supportive yet challenging environment. Both my expectations and the realities coming into the program were to increase my exposure to academics and practitioners in the field and to better understand career prospects and opportunities avenues.

The best aspect of the ccat is that it offers more than just an academic qualification in the end. The opportunities and support offered to engage in internships, contact with active practitioners, and the employable skills developments that come as a part of the course offer a value far greater than the sum of its parts. Students such as myself benefited not only from the excellent quality of teaching and support offered by the staff but also the level of access to the extensive and impressive network of academics and practitioners within the field that the staff offers.

For those interested in studying the program I would heavily suggest engaging with the course and the staff at every opportunity. Although attending the mandatory elements of the program will give you a valuable and recognised qualification, as a prospective student you seek to benefit to gain the most from engaging with the staff, your peers, PhD students such as myself, and the college more broadly. This is the approach that I adopted and I can personally attest to the opportunities this has previously and continues to provide me with.

I personally as well as the other people on the course during my studies had a uniquely positive relationship with the staff on the course. The ongoing support, engagement, and genuine desire for feedback and constructive criticism made for a uniquely engaging, informative, and sincere work environment. The genuine desire to improve performance from the staff has led to ongoing meaningful change in the way that the course is run. To the extent that I know that the course today is a new and improved version of the one that I had the opportunity of experiencing. This reflects on the genuine interest in the research area from the staff but also the desire to constantly improve the student experience.

Since my graduation from the MA Cyber Crime and Terrorism program, I have been fortunate enough to embark on a joint Computer Science and Criminology EPSRC funded PhD Scholarship. This scholarship included an integrated Master's year looking at human-centered computer interaction. Although I had very limited knowledge in this research area the skills I gained from my MA and the ongoing support from the staff have been deciding factors in my ability to excel in this new setting. Much to my delight, my PhD acts as an extension to the topics I was introduced to in my MA as it looks at alt-right extremism, online propaganda, and hybrid human-automated content removal.

Connor with Prof Elwen Evans KC and Lord Carlile
Connor speaking at the Terrorism and Social Media Conference