Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Tampa, Florida, where it's normally about 80 degrees on Christmas and any time of year is good for a beach day. Growing up I was always involved in sports, so I did a lot of traveling around the state to various softball tournaments.
What do you work on?
I work on data provenance, which is metadata describing the history of data from inception to current state. I specifically address how security policies can be expressed over provenance metadata. The ability to express policies over provenance metadata is important for preventing the consumption, and limiting the propagation, of untrusted or tainted data. This work might be beneficial for limiting the propagation of "fake news" on social media, detecting altered images or videos, or detecting voter fraud.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
I would consider the greatest accomplishment of my life so far to be becoming the first Black woman to earn a PhD in computer science and engineering from the University of South Florida. I didn't realize how great of an accomplishment it was until students who are underrepresented in STEM fields began reaching out to me to tell me how my story has inspired them to pursue degrees in STEM.
Before joining the Lab as a technical staff member, you interned as a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow. How was your experience as an intern?
I felt very supported and mentored at the Lab. My mentor, Tyler Kaczmarek, was always open to any research ideas that I had and allowed me to explore those ideas, which ultimately gave me confidence in myself as a researcher. All of my team members were always willing to give helpful feedback on my project. My office mates were also very supportive during my time here, always willing to answer any technical questions that I had or general questions about life at the Lab and career advice.
Why do you think the Laboratory is a good fit for you?
The Laboratory is a good fit for me because I get to work on meaningful problems that are interesting, challenging, and important to national security. There's also not a day that goes by that I don't get to learn something new.