Reflecting on Two Years of SPLICE Achievements

This past month, team members from all seven SPLICE institutions traveled to Hanover, New Hampshire, to meet in-person for the first time since the start of the project in October of 2020. Our annual meeting lasted two and a half days, with the first day including team professional development events, research-based meetings, and a poster session with our advisory council. Check out some photos from our poster session at the bottom of this post! The second day included presentations from our team to NSF and panelists, for our two-year review. We are proud of how much our team has accomplished over the last two years, and we’re excited to share some highlights with you all.

SPLICE team members in Hanover, New Hampshire on October 25, 2022.

We have 28 different publications in 25 different venues, ranging from conference papers, to dissertations, to patents, to a book, and more! Publication topics include understanding and enhancing IoT experiences with respect to security and privacy, establishing secure foundations and ecosystems, modeling threats and intrusions in smart home ecosystems, developing security and privacy focused enhancements for smart devices, and engaging students in research. SPLICE team members have attended 20 conferences and workshops, and have presented their research at 12 of them. Our publications can be found in our Zotero library.

Our team has also grown! Since the start of the project, we have had 32 graduate students, seven postdoctoral scholars, and over 19 undergraduate students involved in SPLICE research. Some have already graduated; alumni have gone on to Riverside Research, Appian, Palantir, and more! On the topic of education, PI Kotz designed a SPLICE class at Dartmouth and PI Gunter designed a SPLICE class at UIUC. A total of 51 graduate and undergraduate students participated in all offerings of both classes.

SPLICE team members have been devoted to Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC). SPLICE PIs along with students and faculty from Morgan State University developed core curriculum content and activities for the Females are Cyber Stars (FACS) Summer Program. Course content provided an introduction to cybersecurity, confidentiality, digital citizenship, and online safety. For this program, the FACS leadership team developed a workbook incorporating culturally responsive strategies and activities to promote self positivity. 26 African American female middle school students participated this past summer, with a 76% daily participation rate. Seventy-one percent of participants were from public schools in Baltimore City (91% attended Baltimore City or County public schools and 9% attended non-public schools).

Another facet of our BPC work included workshops for community organizations. SPLICE team members at the University of Michigan and Morgan State University created materials for and lead workshops held at the Ann Arbor (MI) Senior Center and the Ypsilanti (MI) Community Center “50 & Beyond” program. A total of 15 community members participated in the 2 sessions and reported increases in knowledge on topics related to security and privacy as a result of the programming.

Our team, although dispersed geographically, is structured to increase cross-collaboration. SPLICE graduate students and postdoctoral scholars have primary mentors at their home institution and have been paired and meet with secondary SPLICE mentors at an institution other than their own. Check out the secondary mentorship network in the graphic to the right. This past summer, we had two graduate students, one from UIUC and one from JHU, spend the summer at Dartmouth. These research exchanges and the secondary mentorship network along with our bi-weekly SPLICE-wide team meetings and bi-weekly internal newsletters, have helped foster cross-team communication and ensure team-wide knowledge of research initiatives.

Our Advisory Council has also been essential in broadening our impact, whether it be through sharing their work and knowledge with us, asking us for our advice, or offering to connect us with their colleagues. We were happy to host several advisors at our annual meeting this year. Advisors have previously joined us in an all-advisor Zoom meeting as well as several small-group Zoom meetings. As a result of Advisory Council connections, SPLICE team members met with the technical team at NIST working to stand up a pilot program on cybersecurity labeling for consumer IoT devices. SPLICE team members learned about NIST’s work and provided their feedback. Separately, Advisory Council members have also assisted us in recruiting participants for research studies.

These achievements only scratch the surface of remarkable impact that our team has had, and we are excited to continue sharing our work with you! To summarize these highlights, here’s a look at SPLICE by the numbers:

  • 28 publications in 25 different venues, presented at 12 different conferences
  • 19+ undergraduate students engaged in research.
  • 32 graduate students engaged in research (total)
  • 7 postdoctoral scholars engaged in research 
  • 2 classes created and taught, with over 50 students enrolled
  • 65 students participated in BPC “Females are CyberStars” program (total)
  • 20 students participated in BPC “PACE” program
  • 2 community outreach workshops (total 15 participants) in 2022
  • 1 joint workshop with ProperData (total 74 participants) in 2022
  • 4 SPLICE events that promote DEI in computing (2021 and 2022)
  • 38 student talks presenting research, sharing experiential learning activity experiences, and leading discussions
  • 2 students engaged in a summer exchange at a different SPLICE institution 
  • 6 theses and dissertations
  • 10 SPLICE alumni (including undergraduates, graduates, and postdocs)

Thank you for reading, and if you want to stay up to date with SPLICE happenings, please subscribe to this blog! If you are interested in engaging with the SPLICE research team, please contact us.

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