MC2 Graduate Student Daniel Votipka Awarded Google-Student Veterans of America Scholarship

Wed Jun 27, 2018

A graduate student in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) has been awarded a prestigious Google-Student Veterans of America (SVA) scholarship to further his research in computer security.

Daniel Votipka, a second-year doctoral student in computer science, is one of eight students nationwide to receive the scholarship.

The $10,000 scholarships are awarded to student veterans pursuing computer science degrees. As part of the award, recipients are invited to attend Google’s 2018 Summer Annual Scholars’ Retreat in Mountain View, California.

Prior to beginning his doctoral degree at the University of Maryland, Votipka served for four years as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as a cyber warfare officer assigned to the National Security Agency.

Votipka says he is particularly interested in understanding the processes and mental models of professionals who perform security related tasks. This includes vulnerability discovery, network defense, and malware analysis to provide research-based recommendations for education, policy, and automation changes that can best leverage human intelligence against challenging computer security problems.

During his time in the Air Force, Votipka served in several leadership and operational roles, running an NSA operations center and guiding mobile security research, says Michelle Mazurek, an assistant professor of computer science at UMD who serves as Votipka’s adviser.

Additionally, Votipka played a key role in the education and development of the Air Force’s cyber operators—both in a direct leadership role in charge of more than 25 personnel and through his significant contributions to the USAF’s cyber ISR doctrine.

Mazurek says she happy to have Votipka bring his knowledge and expertise to the MC2 community.

"Dan is doing excellent research to help us understand how security professionals work in practice, and how we can make it easier for professionals to produce secure outcomes,” she says.