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Federico Cifuentes-Urtubey

“UMBC has a culture of promoting diversity in education that isn’t found everywhere, and it surely supports the growth of students’ success and abilities to work in team environments.”

Major: Computer Science
Minor: Environmental Science

Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD

Campus Activities: Meyerhoff Scholar; National Security Agency Scholar; Vice President of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE); HackUMBC hackathon volunteer;
UMBC Admissions New Student Day host and panelist; Research in Dr. Anupam Joshi’s laboratory in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department.

What did you choose UMBC?
I was drawn to UMBC by its commitment to student success. At the time I was choosing a college to attend, being accepted into the Meyerhoff Scholars Program influenced my decision because I knew it would provide the guidance I needed to pursue my ambition of earning a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

What do you love about UMBC?
I love how the size of UMBC’s campus is small enough that everything is in walking distance. I also love that professors from various departments are easy to talk to and willing to give advice on things outside of the classroom. Additionally, UMBC has a culture of promoting diversity in education that isn’t found everywhere, and it surely supports the growth of students’ success and abilities to work in team environments.

What would you say to a prospective student?
UMBC is a place where you can find your interests and work towards your goals while having the support system you need. If you can, definitely visit the campus!

What has been your favorite class at UMBC?
Aside from Computer Science, I studied Environmental Science — specifically meteorology — under the guidance of Dr. Jeffrey Halverson in the Geography and Environmental Systems department. I took his Weather and Climate course my junior year, and I was fascinated to learn about the underlying processes of local and large storms and the interactions between climate systems. Now that I know how weather works, I can just look at a map of weather fronts and understand what to expect!

What are you researching? Have you participated in UMBC’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD)?
I work in the Ebiquity Lab under the guidance of Dr. Anupam Joshi in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department. My project focuses on Android system privacy to understand how user data is managed at the kernel level in regards to third party apps; my goal is to further characterize privacy on a widely used platform by finding relationships between app permissions and system calls. As part of my research experience, I have presented my work at URCAD and various other conferences around the country.

Where did you complete your internship/applied learning experience?
Summer 2015: Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA) in the Interdisciplinary Research Experience in Computational Sciences REU, research with Dr. David Koppelman Summer 2016: Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) in the Summer Research Opportunity Program, research with Dr. Fabián Bustamante Summer 2017 and ongoing: UMBC for sustained research with Dr. Anupam Joshi

What do you hope to achieve after you complete your degree at UMBC?
I will pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a focus on computer network security. I hope to become a professor afterwards.

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