After growing up in a small town in northeast Massachusetts, Austen came to Gallatin with the intention of studying the entertainment industry. Gallatin’s interdisciplinary nature soon pushed him to integrate his varied interests into a singular focus: the attempt to understand how technology influences the ways in which humans communicate and how the ways in which we communicate influence the development of technology.
In the spring of 2017, Austen became a fellow with the Gallatin Newington-Cropsey Foundation, through which he is given the opportunity to use classic art and literature as a grounds for the discussion of contemporary art and literature, as well as social change. With his fellow students and the attending professors, he is able to gain a deeper understanding of our contemporary world through the lens of the past.
Austen is currently studying how emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality will be used in the fields of mental health and education. He is doing this through his attendance at meet-ups and lectures made possible by Gallatin and the network of New York City. He is also writing adaptations of classic stories in order to bring the values of ancient wisdom to our modern lives.