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REU Cybersecurity Scholars: Summer 2013

REU Cybersecurity Scholars: Summer 2013

Six 2013 CS Scholars with Dr. Michel Cukier (3rd from left)
Six 2013 CS Scholars with Dr. Michel Cukier (3rd from left)

The Cybersecurity Scholars are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. NSF funds this effort for the potential to produce new cybersecurity graduate students and faculty members, and to advance discovery and understanding while promoting learning. Teams conduct research for nine weeks in the summer in the area of cybersecurity and are advised by faculty members of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2). This REU program has been led for the last seven years by Dr. Michel Cukier, Associate Director for Education, MC2.

Six REU students, called Cybersecurity Scholars (CS Scholars), began arriving on campus of the University of Maryland on Sunday, June 2, 2013 from University of Maryland, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Johns Hopkins University, Washington and Lee University, West Chester University and Bryn Mawr College.  Each team consists of one or two scholars, two graduate fellows, and one or two faculty mentors. The advanced members of the team provide supervision, guidance and direction to the scholars, who are expected to take initiative in fulfilling job responsibilities, completing work assignments, solving problems that arise, and finding answers to questions. The research experience results in the students' better understanding of the computer science discipline, enhanced self-confidence and an increased interest in pursuing graduate school or future research opportunities.

The four research topics the students worked on this summer were:

  1. Securing PHP Web Applications via Settings
  2. Analyzing Intruders’ Actions: A Command-Driven State Machine Approach
  3. Building a Platform for Analyzing Intruders’ Actions
  4. Forensic Analysis Using Electric Network Frequency (ENF)

In this program, each project includes mentorship by experienced cybersecurity faculty members, technical seminars and workshops, team building activities, student presentations, and other professional development opportunities. This year, the students attended well received talks by Dr. Elaine Shi (Computer Science), Dr. Sarah Bergbreiter (Mechanical Engineering/Institute for Systems Research), Dr. Michel Cukier (Mechanical Engineering), Dr. Pamela Abshire (Electrical and Computer Engineering/Institute for Systems Research) and Dr. Jonathan Fritz (Institute for Systems Research).

The students also attended talks sponsored by Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research (MCUR).  These talks gave students valuable information on applying for the NSF graduate research fellowships, applying for graduate study in the field of life sciences, chemistry, engineering, social sciences and other related fields; as well as, a talk on how to present their research. The students also took a field trip to the NSA National Cryptologic Museum.

In addition, the students read two books and participated in corresponding discussions.  The first, “Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, was written to help women understand the power of negotiation, and provides practical strategies for using negotiation in the workplace. The students also read “America the Vulnerable” by Joel Brenner, which addresses being inside the new threat matrix of digital espionage, crime and warfare.  The discussions for these books were led by Dr. Paige Smith, Director of the Women in Engineering program and Eric Chapman, Associate Director of MC2, respectively.

Scholars concluded their time at UMD with a Scholar's Research Symposium where each team presented the results of their re-search efforts to an audience of their research teams, faculty, and staff.

August 22, 2013

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