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Citadel News Service
15 Jun 2017

Social media user privacy among research projects funded by new grants

Head of Citadel’s NSA-designated Cyber Defense Center of Excellence earns two new grants

For colleges and universities grants funding research in STEM-related fields are essential to continuing programs that can result in change-making discoveries. Grants are often awarded to professors and graduate level students, but undergraduate student research opportunities are also highly valued.

This week the South Carolina chapter of The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Dr. Shankar Banik, Cyber Security ExpertResearch (EPSCoR) and Institutional Development Awards (IDeA), announced the recipients of its 2017 REU grants. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates program awards are intended to provide a “critical component in increasing the number of undergraduate students pursuing graduate degrees and careers in STEM fields.”

Among the projects funded are two awarded to Prof. Shankar Banik, Ph.D., the program director for the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense at The Citadel. Banik is also co-director for The Citadel’s Center for Cyber, Intelligence and Security Studies and a network security researcher. He will lead undergraduate cadets and students in the following research projects:

  • “Ensuring Fairly Times Network Communications”
  • “Aggregating and Linking Social Media Data for Analyzing Privacy of a User”

“Grant-funded undergraduate research at The Citadel, and at all colleges and universities is important for several reasons,” said Prof. Dena Garner, Ph.D., director of undergraduate research studies. Garner is a nationally known researcher and professor of health, exercise and sport science at The Citadel. “Breakthrough findings, differentiating data, and innovation often result from these research projects. Additionally, the undergraduate researcher develops analytical, critical thinking, data collection and interpersonal skills, while refining a career path as future leaders in the STEM community.”

The Citadel’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience programs are currently underway on campus. Eleven undergraduate cadets and students are receiving stipends ranging from $2,500 - $4,000 for research into nine subjects that range from traumatic brain injury during military service, to nitric oxide-releasing materials that may be able to help restore cultural heritage items.

The 2017 SC EPSCoR/IDeA grant recipients and projects from other colleges and universities include:

  • Mark Blenner, Ph.D., Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Clemson University, "Understanding the influence of kinetics and structure in CRISPR-Cas9 cutting of non-conventional yeast DNA"
  • Nicholas Grossoehme, Ph.D., Chemistry, Geoplogy and Physics, Winthrop University, "Undergraduate Investigation of Iron Sensory System in S. pneumonia"
  • Clifton Harris, Ph.D., Chemistry, Geoplogy and Physics, Winthrop University, "Coupling of photo-oxidation and photo-reduction catalysts for the prevention of decomposition under illumination for sustainable water splitting"
  • Aaron Hartel, Ph.D., Chemistry, Geoplogy and Physics, Winthrop University, "Reaction of Protected Cyanohydrin Anions with Epoxides as an Alternative for the Enantio and Disastereoselective Preparation of Aldols"
  • Joan Marler, Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy, Clemson University, "Atomic Physics with Trapped Ions Summer REU at Clemson University"
  • Juan Carlos Melgar, Ph.D., Plant and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, "Understanding Light Responses of Blackberry Cultivars Grown in South Carolina for Reducing White Drupelet Disorder"
  • Eric Monte, Ph.D., Natural Sciences, USC Beaufort, "Recording Estuarine Soundscapes to Investigate Phenological Shifts and Changes in Fish Reproduction Associated with Climate Variability"
  • Oliver Myers, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, "Investigations of Functional Bistable Composite Laminate Structures"
  • Samir Raychoudhury, Ph.D., Biology/STEM, Benedict College, "The Effects of Humic Substances on Acute Toxicity of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons"

EPSCoR program funding is offered by five federal agencies: Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The IDeA program in South Carolina is comprised of the INBRE program and the COBRE program and is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Science at the National Institutes of Health.


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