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Gwynedd Mercy University Computer Information Science (CIS) students, Sydney Robinson and Bridget Dixon, were selected as two winners of the 2021 Clare Boothe Luce Research Award. The Clare Boothe Luce Program seeks to increase the participation of women in the sciences and engineering at every level of higher education and to serve as a catalyst for colleges and universities to be proactive in their own efforts toward this goal.
The award gives recipients the opportunity to participate in a paid research opportunity over the summer in their chosen field.
“I was filled with excitement, but also uncertainty, simply because I couldn't believe that I won,” recalls Bridget. “After I read the email over and over again, I called my advisor Cindy [Casey] and asked her a million questions as she congratulated me. It finally felt real, I was super excited and proud.”
Bridget will be conducting her research on steganography, which is a process that people use in order to hide data that could be a threat to one's system. The way they hide the threat is by covering it up with an ordinary, non-secret, file or message in order to avoid detection.
This is the second year in a row that Sydney Robinson was chosen for this honor. She will be continuing the research she began last summer.
“Last year, I looked at web vulnerabilities, what they are, what types of vulnerabilities, and their causes,” explained Sydney. “This year I’m going to be looking more closely on how to prevent these vulnerabilities so that future attacks are minimized. People use the internet every day and when hackers are able to get personal information it can become really dangerous.”
Research opportunities such as the Clare Boothe Luce Research Award open the doors for so many women looking to make a career in STEM.
“In fields which are traditionally dominated by males, the impact of having an all-female cohort is very empowering,” said CIS Program Coordinator Cindy Casey. “Because of this research scholarship, female students can immerse themselves in research over the summer. It is an opportunity to apply and test the theories and methodologies they learned in the classroom to the real world.”