A gifted cybersecurity and digital forensics student, Akshay Awasthi first visited Norwich as an undergraduate summer research fellow in 2015. He transferred to Norwich fulltime the following year, investigating botnets and distributed denial of service attacks and other challenging research topics. He found expertise, guidance and mentorship from Profs. Miche Kabay, Huw Read, and other expert Norwich faculty.
"Norwich may be a small school, but it has enormous research opportunities for people who are looking for it," says Awasthi, who has published his peer-reviewed Norwich research in the Journal of Security Policy and EDPACs (the journal of I.D. and security management) and helped set up the university's Internet of Things digital forensics research lab. "My research experience has been awesome."
A capstone of his hands-on Norwich experience has been the P2P (Peer to Peer) competition in Washington, D.C., a national contest sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and Facebook. Working with four fellow Norwich students, Awasthi helped build EMIT, a sophisticated social media tool designed to deradicalize white supremacists. Despite having the smallest team in the competition, Awasthi and his Norwich peers won first place.
"The five grand was nice," Awasthi says. "But the biggest achievement was everybody in that Senate building came up to us, handed us their cards and said, 'What next?'" For Awasthi, it's a PhD program related to cybersecurity and digital forensics at George Mason University in northern Virginia, one of the top programs in the country.