Renita Murimi, PhD, CISSP will be joining the Gupta College of Business as Associate Professor of Cybersecurity. Renita received a PhD and MS in Electrical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors of Engineering (with Distinction) in Electronics and Communications from Manipal University, India. Her research interests are in the areas of computational social science, cybersecurity, blockchain and network science.
Why did you become a professor?
To me, academia is a uniquely rewarding vocation. It affords me the opportunity to keep learning, to be in the company of eager, curious minds and to share what I know with others. I have been blessed tremendously with good teachers at every stage of my academic journey, starting with my parents and through grade school, college and grad school. I consider it a distinct privilege to be able to serve as a teacher and mentor to my students, to be able to share what I know while also continually learning from them and learning about advances in my academic disciplines of interest.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Teaching, to me, is the final step in a rigorous examination of a discipline. To teach, we need to first know and then communicate what we know in a way that would lift a beginner up from the desert of “not knowing”. All of us have experienced the beginner’s quandaries of “where do I start?”, “how should I proceed?” and I know how immensely helpful it was to have a teacher, to have a book, to have someone who had gone ahead of me on that journey. In my experience, I have also found that the mode of delivery is important and pedagogy is that tool that helps us refine the delivery of knowledge. That is what I enjoy most about teaching- the cultivation and nurturing of those Eureka moments for students as well as for myself.
What do you hope students gain from your courses?
I hope students learn the importance of lifelong learning and to appreciate the importance of cross-disciplinary learning. It is important to acquire diverse perspectives while in the pursuit of learning. Cybersecurity is a great example of the importance of cross-disciplinary learning objectives. It is not only important to know the tools for hacking, software programming and hardware organization; it is also important to focus on behavioral economics, social science and ethics to inform our approaches to keep our systems, networks and data safe.
What did you do prior to entering academia?
I have always been in academia. Early on in my career, I realized the importance of a consortium of partnerships between industry, academia and government for a holistic approach to higher education. As such, I am always on the lookout for collaboration opportunities so that, we in academia, can bridge the gap between industry needs and students’ preparation for their careers.
What are you passionate about outside of the University?
I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, gardening and calligraphy. My husband, Robert and I have three young children who occupy most of our time. Watching our children grow and seeing them discover the wonders of life is pretty fascinating to us.
What are your research interests?
My research interests are in the field of computational social science, cybersecurity, blockchain and network science. I am interested in studying how we inhabit our digital networks, and how we can design these networks to live well. The ancient study of eudaimonia – of how to live well- is just as relevant today, albeit in a different context of virtual communities and pervasive smart devices. I am interested in what eudaimonia means for our modern technological society, and I use tools from game theory, probability, topology and big data to study eudaimonia in the 21st century.