Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering School: Engineering and Computing Sciences Campus: Manhattan
Member of NYIT Since: 2010
From network forensics to engineering tools for "smart marketing," Cecilia Dong believes that creativity is the key to realizing business ideasa point she routinely makes to her students.
"There are many challenges out there waiting for students to solve," says Dong, who collaborated with students and faculty members on designing a mobile app of NYIT's Old Westbury campus map.
Dong came up with the idea after interviewing for her job at the Old Westbury campus, where she got lost. Later, she found out her students often had the same problem.
"This was a great opportunity for our students to be able to contribute something to our school, and we learned a lot during the design process," she says. "The students started from no background in app design to completing the map app project, and I'm really proud of what they built in one semester."
Dong is the recipient of a $2,500 mini-grant through the National Science Foundation's ENGAGE program, subcontracted by Stevens Institute of Technology, to evaluate the spatial skills of incoming NYIT engineering students and provide training for those in need of such skills. Strong spatial visualization skills are cognitive skills linked to success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Her U.S. patent application, "Forwarding Data Through a Three-Stage Clos-Network Packet Switch with Memory at each Stage," was approved in September 2012, and she has others pending.
When NYIT students competed to develop applications for Motorola's Golden-i, the world’s first hands-free, wireless headset computer, Dong was among the faculty members who provided guidance for the project.
In the classroom, she challenges students to solve a number of quandaries. Dong teaches Design Projects, a one-year capstone project during which some of her students have collaborated with technology company Quanser to design a mechatronic system of balancing a ball on a 2-D plate.
She also has worked with students on a social network project to develop a tool to collect tweets from Sina Weibo (Chinese Twitter) and use this data for "opinion-mining" or assessing social trends and behavior. Dong says such knowledge can be useful to marketers selling products to specific groups or in building a "smart engine" to help psychologists in their research.
Her specialty is network forensics, a way of "fingerprinting the bad guys" as she calls cyber criminals. Dong has presented her research at NYIT's annual Cyber Security Conference.
"With all the smart phones in the market and people doing online banking, we are seeing a lot more attackers hacking into these phones," she says.
"It's important to get them exposure of what girls can do at an earlier age," Dong says.
She discovered her knack for math and making robots while in elementary school in China. "I think engineering is cool," she says. "It's cool to find out how things are working and is rewarding when you find solutions to problems."
IN THE NEWS ...
Read more about Cecilia Dong in "Loose Threads," an article about cyber security in NYIT Magazine.