NIST PREP Opportunity in Useable Cybersecurity

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) has prepared the following project description for recruitment within the NIST Professional Research Experience Program (PREP). Priority will be given to the best "match" between students and the project, rather than by project alone.

For questions regarding the NIST ITL recruitment using PREP please contact:
     Mark Przybocki (; (301) 337-0767

For questions regarding the individual project descriptions, please contact the identified mentor.

For this PREP opportunity we are seeking students who are U.S. citizens.
Students interested in being considered for a NIST PREP placement in the Information Technology Laboratory should send the following items to Mark Przybocki (

  1. Resume/CV that highlights your coursework, experience and interests
  2. Identification of the project(s) for which you wish to be considered
  3. A letter of recommendation from a current Morgan State University Faculty member

Project Title: Useable Cybersecurity

Position: Graduate Student (MS or PhD)

Mentor: Julie Haney (

Project Description:

Usable cybersecurity is the intersection of cybersecurity, human factors, and human-computer interaction. This research area involves understanding how people make security decisions, their perceptions of security, how they interact with security mechanisms, and ultimately how to design usable systems, products, and polices that also result in improved security outcomes.

Under the guidance of a NIST sponsor, the student will work on usable cybersecurity projects. For example, in-progress projects address smart home security/privacy and security awareness. Other usable cybersecurity projects may be launched throughout the course of the year. Tasks will be assigned based on project needs and student ability and may include:

  • Performing research literature searches
  • Implementing/programming online surveys
  • Assisting with study design
  • Assisting with data collection, which may include quantitative methods (e.g., surveys) and qualitative methods (e.g., interviews)
  • Assisting with data analysis, which may include cleanup of raw data, basic statistical analyses of survey data, qualitative analysis of interview data
  • Assisting with writing/preparing research papers and reports

Students are expected to work on average 2 days a week for a year. The work arrangement is negotiable.

Desired Candidate Qualifications:

  • Experience performing quantitative data analysis using basic statistical methods, such as summary statistics, correlations, ANOVAs, basic linear regression
  • Experience using statistical analysis software (e.g., SPSS, Stata, R, Excel)
  • Must be comfortable working with computers and using office automation software (e.g., Microsoft Word, Excel)
  • Must be able to work independently and with other researchers while under the guidance of a mentor
  • Experience with qualitative research (e.g., interviews) is a plus but not required