Hometown: Bluff City, Tennessee

After completing both his BS and MS in Computer Science at East Tennessee State University, Preston Moore decided to pursue his PhD in Computer Science at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. He has chosen to focus his studies on computer security, with a specific interest in applications and systems security.

Preston feels he is benefitting tremendously from the hands-on approach taken in his classes. He cites an example from a Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Analysis course, which includes assignments that involve breaking into virtual machines using the skills practiced in the classroom. “I remember the material much better given all the time I had putting it to use,” he explains.

In an Application Security course, the students conducted assessments of real applications developed by local startups. This provided Preston with valuable practice interfacing with customers and working under strict rules of engagement—both of which are not always available in classroom learning but are incredibly important in the real world.

Preston also appreciates the multidisciplinary approach encouraged at NYU Tandon. He has taken several graduate-level psychology courses on learning and memory to build his skills in writing programs that efficiently report complex issues to developers. In these and his computer science-related classes, Preston says he has learned many new concepts in a short period of time and improved his skills dramatically.

Currently, he is working with his doctoral advisors on research that involves developing a novel technique for automatically finding bugs in software by stimulating a variety of sub-optimal conditions such as bad wireless connections and old hardware or software. This project has resulted in extensive new software development and customization to existing open-source projects.

Preston also finds the student life in graduate school at NYU Tandon to be pretty amazing. “It’s an excellent community,” he says. “I’ve met a ton of interesting people from all sorts of backgrounds.