Fourteen computer science students and two faculty members received travel scholarships from Facebook to attend the Enigma ’19 conference in California and participate in a one-day cybersecurity workshop at Facebook headquarters in January.
Facebook’s travel scholarship program is organized by Stephanie Siteman, information security manager at Facebook and provided full financial support for approximately 70 students and faculty members from nine universities nationwide.
At the Enigma conference, organized by USENIX – the Advanced Computing Systems Association, students had the opportunity to learn about emerging threats and defenses in cybersecurity from a forum of industry executives and university professors.
“Enigma gave me a greater understanding of pressing issues in the field of cybersecurity, and ways that we can use security solutions to improve the lives of others,” said Kelly Rose, ‘20. “The conference definitely opened my eyes to the growing need for collaboration between security professionals and non-academics, as well as new uses for machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.”
The students were selected based on their GPA and academic performance in the Codepath.org cybersecurity course sponsored through the Facebook-Hofstra Cybersec Program. Besides Rose, they were: Geovanny Vera ’21; Edden Kashi ’20; Daulet Diyarov ’21; Danny Pires ’21; Aman Luthra ’19; Arslan Waheed ’19; Akash Jauhar ‘20, Travis Chen Shen ‘20, George Osterweil ’20, James Cavanaugh ’20, Hugo Renzzo Olcese ’20; Kestrel Bridges ’20; and graduate student Jiangbing Zhu ’19.
“Earning a scholarship from Facebook was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Olcese. “Not only did it afford me the opportunity to attend an amazing security conference that focused on all of the latest news and studies in the cybersecurity field, but I had a chance to visit Facebook headquarters, learn their daily routine, and see the passion and insight that these talented developers share. It was an experience that I will never forget.”
Computer Science Adjunct Assistant Professor Uzo Usuno and Associate Professor Xiang Fu, Ph.D accompanied the students on the trip.
“The USENIX Enigma conference provides a rich program in both academic research and industrial practice in cybersecurity, including but not limited to: secure computing, user privacy, authentication, hardware and mobile security,” Dr. Fu said. “Our students consumed the information very well and were very active in connecting with researchers and professionals in the field.”
Following the conference, students traveled to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California where they met with cybersecurity engineers in a variety of areas who shared career advice and suggestions about how to build a successful career in cybersecurity.