"I'm delighted, of course," says PhD candidate Esha Ghosh of Brown University's Department of Computer Science (Brown CS). "There are so many reasons, but this is special to me because it focuses on underrepresented groups. It reinforces the confidence of young women that they belong in STEM fields."
It's a significant moment: Esha is among the inaugural recipients of the Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant, which targets members of underrepresented groups in computing who are past their fourth year in a PhD program at a US or Canadian university. "Awards were made based on the technical merit and potential for impact of the proposed dissertation research," explains Meredith Ringel Morris, Principal Researcher and Chair of the Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant Program. "We had the difficult task of awarding only a few grants from the nearly 200 applications we received, so this was a very selective and competitive process."
Esha's work focuses on cloud computing and security: in a world where increasingly organizations and and individuals outsource data storage and application processing to the cloud, she is developing innovative solutions that allow users to benefit from cloud computing to get quick, verifiable, and tamper-proof answers that don't reveal unnecessary information to the cloud provider. Esha is advised by Professor Roberto Tamassia and expects to complete the requirements for her PhD by the summer of 2018.
The grant will fund her research (the working title is "Efficient, Secure, Privacy-Preserving Cloud Storage and Computation") in the amount of $20,000. Among other things, Esha expects to use it to hire interns to help complete the implementation of her prototype system. She and the other recipients will be visiting Microsoft Research’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington for a two-day career workshop on November 13 and 14, where they'll have the opportunity to present their dissertation work and receive feedback and career advice from a panel of Microsoft’s research scientists. "I'm also excited about the chance to present my work and get feedback," says Esha. "It's a great mentoring opportunity."
For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.