Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering informatics students Katie Ferro and Phenzi Blasio, and IU Southeast informatics student Skyler Johnson, have been accepted to present their research at next March’s prestigious NSF Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington DC.
Their work is part of the Public Key Infrastructure project through Informatics Professor Jean Camp’s Security and Privacy Lab. Postdoctoral Fellow Jacob Abbott served as mentor.
The conference aims to help undergraduate and graduate students enhance their science communication skills to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global work force.
Abbott said he began working with the students last summer through Camp’s Public Key Infrastructure project, which combines policies, procedures and technology used to manage digital certificates in a public key cryptography scheme.
Abbott said he encouraged the students to apply to the conference following discussions on qualitative coding methods, the development and use of codebooks, and the background of Public Key Infrastructure online.
Their impressive progress made applying for the conference a logical next step.
“I am extremely proud of the work they have done,” Abbott said. “I look forward to continue working with them.”
Blasio said that, as a Kenyan-American woman engaged in public key infrastructure research, she sees herself not just as a researcher, but as a conduit for change, representation and inspiration. She seeks to bridge the gap between global and local cybersecurity contexts.
“Through my work and presence, I aim to sow the seeds of curiosity, especially among young black women, and contribute to a nuanced understanding of cybersecurity that transcends borders and disciplines,” she said.
“In this role, I become not only a researcher but also a catalyst for curiosity and a beacon for young women.“
Blasio said her research reflects the interdisciplinary nature of security, extending beyond technical aspects into the realms of global policy and psychology. She seeks a more holistic understanding of security to recognize the connection of global dynamics, policy frameworks and individual behaviors.
“This perspective emphasizes that effective cybersecurity strategies must not only address technological challenges but also navigate the intricate landscape of international policies and the human psyche,” she said.
Johnson said their work focused on qualitative coding -- analyzing and organizing bug reports from Bugzilla, which is a web-based general-purpose bug tracking system and testing tool.
Johnson said acceptance reflects their work’s contribution to the research community, “which I am very passionate about.”
“I hope we are able to further explore the topic and identify further patterns as we accumulate more data,” they said.
Ferro said they’ve been collecting data from Bugzilla since June.
“It is exciting to have our work recognized by the community outside of Luddy," Ferro said. “I’m happy to be part of this team, and to see all the amazing things we accomplished. I look forward to continuing my research next semester.”