Grant for malware research will help to secure networks

Cory Nguyen, a graduate student in computer and information technology, has received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. More than 3,000 people applied, but only 200 are chosen each year.

The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD) and is intended to increase the number of U.S citizens and nationals specializing in science and engineering aimed at military applications.  Nguyen received his fellowship in the area of computer and computational sciences for his research in cyber and information security.

“My research deals with how to mitigate malware threats,” said Nguyen. “Cyber threats have been a huge problem, and we haven’t found the right solution to the problem yet. I’m working on classifying malware into families, like a genetic tree, in order to trace them.”

The application process was very competitive, but Nguyen thought he had a fighting chance. However, he knew a lot of very qualified people were also applying, so it was a pleasant surprise when he was notified.

“My tip to anyone who wants to apply is this: These fellowships aren’t easy and you’re competing with lots of qualified people and you have to start ahead. If you know you want to work in this area, start now. Then have the credentials to compete when you apply,” advised Nguyen, who is interning at the MITRE Corporation as their Information Security Scientist this summer.

The deadline for the NDSEG Fellowship is in December and Nguyen was notified in April of his acceptance. The fellowship covers tuition, medical costs and a stipend for three years and is designed to enable doctoral students to concentrate on their research.

Nguyen was also awarded a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship also sponsored by the DoD, which selected only 150 people out of 6,000 applicants. However, due to the similar nature of the fellowship and the scholarship, he was only able to choose the NDSEG Fellowship.

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