Diane Paverman ’13 Capitalizes on Comp. Sci. Experience to Launch Cybersecurity Career

During her four years at Hamilton Diane Paverman ’13 worked on multiple computer science projects using technology to analyze human emotions. Now a recent graduate, she’ll be turning that experience into a career, beginning as a technology consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton as part of a team dealing with cybersecurity.

Paverman will act as a consultant between the programmers at Booz Allen Hamilton and their clients, primarily the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. She explains that she’ll be “translating the design of what the client wants into production.” Her experience working on computer science projects will come in handy as she’ll have input into what the programmers are doing.

Being involved in multiple aspects of the process is part of what attracted Paverman to this position. She remarked, “A lot of what drew me to this kind of work is that it’s team-based ... Even at an entry-level position, I was able to choose the project and team I wanted to work with.” At Hamilton, Paverman worked closely with a team as captain of women’s swimming and diving. She explains, “it’s all about collaboration and leadership,” and she believes that will translate well to her work at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Paverman became familiar with Booz Allen Hamilton through a biometrics project she worked on at Hamilton. The project sought to determine whether computers can recognize a person’s unique brain “signature” in order to identify individuals. Paverman and the other researchers asked people to think of specific objects and aimed to have the computer identify them by their brainwaves, which vary depending on each person’s unique way of thinking. She remarked that the research showed a lot of promise as a way to identify people and could carry important implications for cybersecurity.

Paverman also spent two summers working with Professor of Computer Science Stuart Hirshfield on a project to identify what trust looks like in the brain. She and Eric Murray ’13 used functional near-infrared spectrometer (fNIRS) sensors to analyze blood oxygenation levels when a subject was either trusting or distrustful of what he or she was looking at. Paverman noted that with further research, this idea could become very useful for cybersecurity. She commented, “If we can understand what trust looks like in the brain, maybe eventually we can observe it through keyboard movements.” This technology could then have very useful applications for online surveillance. The government, for instance, could attempt to lead a hacker astray while monitoring whether he trusts what he sees.

The May graduate sees herself building on this experience in the years to come at Booz Allen Hamilton, expecting to stay with the company in the long-term. It's a large company, and she noted that it would be “rewarding to move up within the company. I’m in love with the field. This is a career – I’m in it for the long haul.” Paverman therefore finds herself in a position that many recent graduates might envy; not only does she already have long-term career prospects, but she can look forward to doing what she loves for years to come.

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