Curtis Taylor, PhD Candidate

Hometown
Lawrenceburg, TN

Year of Graduation
2014, 2017

Degree 
MS, PhD - Computer Science

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
I chose WPI after examining the graduate and undergraduate programs. Coming in as a graduate student, I looked at the areas of research available for participation at WPI. I was pleased to find that both graduate and undergraduate students participated in a broad array of research. I saw that by attending WPI, I would not only be able to pursue my desired concentration in Network Security, but also be able to interact with and learn about all the different facets of Computer Science.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
WPI’s philosophy is a perfect balance for the real world. Without obtaining some information in both the theory and practice of your field, you’ll be missing out on what you need to be prepared for any career you decide to follow. Fortunately, my courses at WPI have provided me with the best of both worlds. I’ve not only gained fundamental knowledge of CS, but I’ve also been given the ability to practice them through course projects. Additionally, many projects are team based, and I’ve found working with a diverse group of people to be an interesting learning experience. Through team-based work, I’ve gained knowledge, not only within the course subject matter, but also outside, that I would not have gained otherwise.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
The community at WPI is absolutely amazing. Unlike some universities where you have a noticeable gap between the department (e.g., professors) and the students, WPI is very closely knit, which adds to the learning experience. Something else that really surprised me about the CS department was the number of experts in various fields. With so many interdisciplinary routes, it’s hard to find an area that WPI isn’t able to teach you. Lastly, if you’re unsure of what really interests you, there are plenty of research groups (campus-wide) that anyone can attend to hear about new research pertaining to a particular area.

What are your research projects at WPI?
An interesting project that I recently finished, resulting in a publication, dealt with using covert wireless signals to pinpoint an individual’s geographical location. Aside from that, I have on-going research projects involving medical device interoperability, smart grid security, and redesigning the current network architecture. The last of these projects is the foundation of my thesis work. In this research, I’m attempting to move from a client-server model that involves many clients connecting to a single server to a model that has every client connecting to their own private server by leveraging virtualization. This model has many security benefits but also has performance challenges, and I’m exploring both of these areas.

How have WPI’s Computer Science professors impacted your studies and your life?
Many professors within the CS department have impacted both my academics and my life. Through the research groups I’m involved in, I’ve been given great insight into today’s innovative research. In the classroom, I’m given the opportunity to take ideas that I have and create solutions that solve real-world problems. As always, my ideas are given proper attention from professors, which aids in the learning and development process.
This question wouldn’t be fully answered without mention of my advisor, Dr. Craig Shue. Through his guidance, I have achieved many goals I had once thought impossible. For a graduate student, a great advisor becomes a new valuable ally. Without Dr. Shue’s thoughtfulness and direction, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What do you hope to do after you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
When I depart from WPI, I plan to pursue a job in the area of network security. Ideally, I would like a job that, much like WPI, allows me to continue research while also allowing me to practice what my education has taught me.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participated in at WPI:

  • Soccer, fishing, hiking, mountain biking
  • PEDS research group
  • ALAS research group

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • WPI Junior PhD Computer Science Poster Award
 
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