While many students may have spent their summer at the beach or earning some extra money, Georgia College seniors Delaney Rhodes and Kevin Kulp chose to dive head-first into a new learning experience.
The computer science majors spent 10 weeks at East Carolina University for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).
“For the first two weeks we listened to lectures from professors and decided on our personal research projects,” said Kulp. “We were essentially in the lab everyday formulating the projects and reading through scholarly papers.”
Kulp’s research project investigated Structured Query Language (SQL) injections, which are attacks on websites that can bypass security applications and gain access to sensitive information.
“I worked to classify the vulnerability and find ways to prevent such attacks,” said Kulp.
In her research, Rhodes performed data analysis on social media usage.
“I broke it down by demographics- gender, race, etc.,” said Rhodes. “This allows for businesses to use the information to target their specific audiences.”
For both students, this learning experience brought a new, dynamic way to develop knowledge of their field.
“Most of the project development and research was done on our own time and pace,” said Rhodes. “We did have some assistance from faculty members there, but it gave us a way to really focus on a topic, then begin to narrow it down as you would in real world situations.”
“It really prepared me for graduate school, which is definitely in my future,” said Kulp. “Gaining this firsthand research experience really allowed us to see what grad school will be like.”
Kulp and Rhodes both have big plans for the future that include the possibility of teaching English in a foreign country, graduate school and landing a job in their field, but they say this experience was vital in preparing them for what’s ahead.
For more information on the computer science program, visit http://www.gcsu.edu/business/majors/computerscience.htm.
To learn about the REU programs, visit http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.jsp.