CSL student receives two national fellowships


Allie Arp, CSL

CSL graduate student Tara Mina was recently offered the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships for her research on GPS spoofing detection.

“Tara is an intelligent and hardworking student, and a talented researcher,” said CSL Assistant Professor Grace Gao, who is Mina’s PhD advisor and an assistant professor in aerospace engineering with affiliations in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and computer sciences. “I’m happy for her, that she received the prestigious graduate fellowships from both NSF and Department of Defense. She
Tara Mina
Tara Mina
well deserves them.”

Mina, an ECE graduate student, applied to the NSF fellowship with a proposal focusing on the societal applications of her research like power grids and widespread networks of synchronized receivers. For NDSEG she applied under the Air Force Broad Agency Announcement and discussed the ability for her research to help improve the security and robustness of GPS signals and how it could help detect spoofing attacks targeting military receivers. The positive response from both of the funding organizations was encouraging to Mina.

“It is quite a nice confirmation that both of these agencies find this research has significant potential,” said Mina. “The National Science Foundation is not just interested in developing engineering solutions, but also seeks research that will have a greater societal impact and which can provide a more fundamental scientific contribution.”

Through the fellowship funding, Mina and Gao intend to further design and develop systems and algorithms to provide high cyber resilience to GPS, and more broadly, Global Navigation Satellite Systems. In previous research, the team has utilized existing power grid communication structures to compare GPS signals within a region and then efficiently cross-validated the results with representative signals from more distant sites.

Although awarded both fellowships, Mina was only allowed to pick one of them. She chose NSF, with her eye on the future.

“The NSF seeks potential future leaders, not just individuals who have done good research so far,” said Mina.

Congratulations Tara! We look forward to your research contributions, and leadership, in the years to come!