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IBM Joint Study Gives Students International Visibility

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations

File photo of Marist students working at IBM in Poughkeepsie.

May 1, 2023 — The work of two Marist School of Computer Science and Mathematics students who participate in the College’s IBM Joint Study program was featured over spring break in an international workshop in Canada. Luke Jacobs '23 and Elizabeth Herrera '23 worked on a project, funded by IBM, to find, develop, and test cybersecurity vulnerabilities against Precision Time Protocol (PTP). PTP is used to sync clocks in a locally connected computer network.

Jacobs presented the findings at the annual Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Solutions (WSTS) in Vancouver. He started the project during his sophomore year and Herrera joined during her junior year. 

Photo of Luke Jacobs.

“There was prior research done on the matter and my job was to continue that research,” said Jacobs. “At first it was challenging for me to understand how PTP works before I could think about securing or exploiting it.”

“At first, I was completely lost on what I was supposed to be doing and thought I was in way over my head,” said Herrera. “Thankfully, my mentors in the Joint Study were a huge help and I finally got the hang of it after a few months.”

Photo of Elizabeth Herrera.

“I think what stands out the most from the Joint Study compared to other internships is how well it prepares you for full-time jobs after college,” said Jacobs. “I don’t think many other internships grant you as much exposure as the Joint Study does.”

“The Joint Study has given me so many opportunities to talk about my research at different conferences and events,” said Herrera. “I don’t think that I would have been able to get my job at IBM without it.”

“Through the Marist-IBM Joint Study, we’re able to provide our students with practical, hands-on experience solving real-world problems for our industry partners,” said Dr. Casimer DeCusatis, Associate Professor of Information Technology and Systems and Director of Cybersecurity Education. “We’re always pleased when students such as Elizabeth and Luke can represent Marist at international technical conferences to showcase their research.”

Herrera and Jacobs were inducted into the Marist College chapter of Omicron Sigma Sigma, the national cybersecurity honor society, on April 22. 

Marist-IBM Joint Study students meeting at the Hancock Center

About the IBM Joint Study Program Marist’s unique partnership with IBM in the Joint Study Program has been in place for over 30 years. The Joint Study has provided Marist with the capacity to acquire and use cutting-edge technology to support instruction, faculty and student research, as well as administrative initiatives.

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