EECS doctoral student Kailani Jones was awarded the KU Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship in fall 2018. This fellowship was created by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little in 2013. The fellowship is designed to "assist KU in obtaining its mission as a flagship university that provides advanced education to students in a range of fields.” The fellowship provides $25,000 of support to each fellow. Students are also involved in professional development workshops and networking opportunities.
"The graduate chancellor's fellowship provides an excellent opportunity to attend KU and focus on cutting edge technology,” Jones said. “With this support, I am currently studying machine learning and cybersecurity in collaboration with industry partners. We work on identifying patterns to better detect and prevent fraudulent behavior such as abuse in social platforms and mobile apps for monetary gain.”
Jones grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and attended the University of Hawaii - Hilo for her undergraduate studies, where she played on the women's basketball team. She said that – aside from her love of basketball – she “chose KU for several reasons: the increased focus on cybersecurity, faculty pursuing exciting research projects, a well-established legacy and the abundant services available to students. Family is highly important to me, and KU offers a place to learn while surrounded by my loved ones.” Her academic advisor, assistant professor of EECS Alexandru Bardas, said "Kailani's research is focused on developing cybersecurity systems that leverage machine learning. Currently, she is working on fraud detection in cyberspace. In this effort, we are actively collaborating with researchers from industry. Kailani is self-driven, highly-reliable, hard-working and capable of tackling the hardest research challenges. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude drive the research effort forward."
The KU Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship adds to the department’s ongoing activities in cybersecurity. As the demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to increase, the EECS Department has added faculty in that area as well as doubling the number of cybersecurity classes. The EECS Department was also recently awarded National Security Agency funding to lead a national team of computer scientists, electrical and computer engineers, psychologists, sociologists and philosophers to develop technology that would strengthen security for the Internet of Things, including cell phones, Bluetooth devices, wearables and smart TV’s. Professor Perry Alexander is the principal investigator on this effort. In January 2016, KU was awarded a $4.7 million, five-year grant that is part of the NSA’s effort to encourage students to pursue a cybersecurity career within the government. The grant supports CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service at the University of Kansas, and offers students up to two years of tuition and a generous stipend to finish their undergraduate or graduate degree, or three years of support for Ph.D. students. For more information about CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service check out www.sfs.ku.edu.