WIT academic is first Fulbright-TechImpact Cybersecurity Scholar to go to Georgetown

Engineering
John Sheppard is a lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematics at WIT and is the course leader of the BSc (Hons) in Computer Forensics and Security, Ireland’s first and oldest undergraduate degree in the discipline.

John Sheppard is a lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematics at WIT and is the course leader of the BSc (Hons) in Computer Forensics and Security, Ireland’s first and oldest undergraduate degree in the discipline.

The study will investigate how data is managed and handled on wearable technologies including the levels of encryption and surveillance of data

John Sheppard, a WIT academic from Waterford, has been awarded the inaugural Fulbright TechImpact Cybersecurity Award at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess and Chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Ireland, Mr Reece Smyth, announced the 36 Fulbright Irish Awardees for 2019-2020 at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.

Mr Sheppard will go to the U.S. to conduct research into wearable technologies and associated ethical implications and will work with the Massive Data Institute at the McCourt School of Public Policy to study the Application of Cybersecurity Ethics Frameworks in Emerging Technologies.

Computer Forensics and Security

John Sheppard is a lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematics at WIT and is the course leader of the BSc (Hons) in Computer Forensics and Security, Ireland’s first and oldest undergraduate degree in the discipline.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr Sheppard said, "I am delighted to have been awarded a Fulbright TechImpact Scholarship and I look forward to the opportunity of visiting and working with Georgetown University."

Wearable technologies

The study will investigate how data is managed and handled on wearable technologies. It will look at aspects such as the levels of encryption and surveillance of data residing both on the device and in communications with other devices. The project will also examine the accuracy and the integrity of data on the device, the ownership of this data and the levels of access that third parties are given to such data.

While in Washington DC Mr Sheppard will be based at the McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP) which focuses on teaching and research in the design, analysis, and implementation of smart policies in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, in the U.S. and around the world. McCourt’s Massive Data Institute (MDI) focuses on the secure and responsible use of data to answer public policy questions. It develops and supports efforts around the ethical use of data, including highlighting best practices for sharing data, managing concerns around privacy and discrimination, and making sure the of benefits of big data research for the most marginalized or vulnerable populations.

Fulbright support

He will join this year's other Fulbright awardees who will spend time at universities across the United States such as Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley and MIT studying a range of areas from Music to Agricultural Science and from Medicine to Irish Literature.

Dr Mark White, Vice President for Research Innovation & Graduate Studies at WIT said “The Institute is delighted that John is one of the 36 people to receive a Fulbright award under the 2019-2020 programme.  WIT would like to thank the Fulbright Commission for its continued support and we wish John the very best of luck with his research in the US.” 

The Fulbright Programme in Ireland was established in 1957 and annually awards grants for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the U.S. and for Americans to do the same in Ireland. Since its formation, over 2,000 postgraduate students, scholars, professionals, and teachers across all disciplines have participated in the program between the U.S. and Ireland. The Commission is supported by the U.S. Department of State and the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is also a registered charity.

WIT has five previous recipients of the Fulbright scholars award including Dr Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, Prof John Nolan, Dr Thomas O’Toole, Dr Anne Graham and Dr Felicity Kelliher and one recipient of the Fulbright student award Ms Dayna Killian. 

Excellence and expertise

Dr Sarah Ingle, Chair of the Board of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said: “The excellence and expertise of Fulbright scholars, students and foreign language teaching assistants continues to develop after more than 60 years of the Irish programme.  The new awardees are being provided with a great opportunity, but they also have a responsibility to continue Senator Fulbright’s vision of creating mechanisms for mutual understanding, collaboration and sharing of ideas. The Commission Board congratulates the awardees travelling to the U.S. in the coming year and wishes them a very enjoyable and successful Fulbright experience.”

Academics, professionals and students from 13 HEIs and organisations in Ireland will go to 30 leading U.S. institutions to study and collaborate with experts in their fields. This year’s Fulbright recipients are from disciplines spanning technology, science, language, medicine and the arts. The Fulbright Awards celebrate diversity across topics, geography and backgrounds. Increased funding from both the Irish and U.S. Governments has allowed the Fulbright Commission in Ireland to support a wider range and number of exciting study and research awardees than ever before.

Dr Dara FitzGerald, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland said: “This year we have seen a surge in applications and awards across all of our Fulbright award programmes, and we hope to see that trend continue to grow. Cultural and academic exchange between the U.S. and Ireland is alive and well. We believe that the Commission has a unique role to play in the Governments 2019-2025 US strategy.

The Fulbright Program was set up by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is the largest U.S. international exchange program in the world. It offers opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake postgraduate study, research, and teaching in 155 countries worldwide.


The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on 28 August 2019, interested candidates should visit www.fulbright.ie for more information.

Related Courses

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Computer Forensics and Security
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Applied Computing (Computer Forensics & Security)

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