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15 Derek Morris Jr :: Elizabeth CityState University :: Professional Statement
My name is Derek Morris Jr. I am a graduate student at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). I am from Portsmouth, Virginia. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Scientific and a minor in Mathematics from ECSU in YEAR. Computers are used in every professional field around the globe and knowledge of computers is a vital asset in succeeding with any company. I figure why not learn about and I can possibly teach it to other or even developed something for the new generation.  I am currently majoring in mathematics with a concentration in remote sensing. I am an active member of the Center of Excellence for Remote Sensing Education and Research program (CERSER). In the program I have learned how to use Linux and Mac OS X, Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop C23, GPS, and etcetera. Since I have been in this program they not only taught me more than how to use operating systems and make programs; the program helps improve my networking, and communication skills, my presentation skills.

Currently I am attending the Science Gateway Coding Institute (SGCI) 4-Week Coding Institute. The program focuses on multiply programming languages. Through the years I have learned a lot of programming languages. This program helps me to excel in the languages that I have learned and acquire new skills.  During the summer I will be attending the Practice & Experience in Advance Research Computing (PEARC) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The PEARC meetings provide conversations regarding difficulties, openings, and arrangements among HPC focus executives and directors, computational researchers, end clients, students, facilitators, instructors, HPC framework chairmen and client support staff, and additionally industry and government office agents from the United States and around the globe.

During the spring of 2016 I had the opportunity to be a part of the project “Quantifying Sargasso Boundaries on Eastern and Western Walls of the Gulf Stream Protruding Near Cape Hatteras into Sargasso Sea Bermuda/Azores.” The Sargasso Sea has been a ocean life habitat for millions of years, yet accurate assessment of the boundary area and detection of these relatively small sea surface features using Landsat series and Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments have been found to have difficulty or even impossible due to lack of spatial resolution, coverage, recurring observance, and algorithm limitations to Identify pelagic species of Sargassum. Sargassum rafts tend to be elongated, curved in the upwind direction and warmer than the surrounding ocean surface. Long weed 'trails' extending upwind from the rafts are evidence of plants dropping out and being left behind. Satellite data, utilizing simple ocean color indexes such as the floating algae Index and Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI), have been established to detect floating in open environments using MODIS instruments. Floating Algae Index (FAI) has shown advantages over the traditional NDVI and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) because FAI is less sensitive to changes in environmental and observing conditions (aerosol type and thickness, solar/viewing geometry, and sun glint) and can see through thin clouds. The baseline subtraction method provides a simple yet effective means for atmospheric correction. The algorithms assisted in identifying the boundary area of the Sargasso Sea and the path of floating algae past Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the fact that similar spectral bands are available on many existing and planned satellite sensors such as Landsat series observations satellites, the NDVI and FIA concept was extendable to establish a long-term record of these ecologically biological dependent ocean plants.

The summer of 2015 I was a student volunteer at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA Langley) in the Studio Production. In this internship, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Gamaliel “Dan” Cherry, Glenn Sweat, and Katrina Young. The projects I took part in were equipment’s and schematic, and YOUth Day. There was also training in the workshop Rockets to Race Cars. One of my projects was to install equipment racks in a new building. The purpose of the racks was to keep the electronic equipment from overheating. The equipment track was meant for a new tri-caster system purchased by Dr. Cherry. The tri-caster is designed to put any background you want when you in a video conference as long as you have a green wall behind you. The tri-caster serves as a recorder and video switching unit. The next step was to run cabling through the floors. Before the cables were run, the length of the room had to be measured in order to assure that slack would be available. The cable was run through the floor because it was much cleaner and would not pose a tripping hazard.   The next part of the project I worked on was the talk back system. The talk back system is used as a communication link between the control room and the announcer. This allows them to communicate with each other to work out sound issues and the view of the cameras. The system was inoperative when we began. We found that one of the wires had a low signal. It was repaired by removing a portion of the wire reducing the distance that the signal had to travel. After the completion of the talk back, I then started to work on the schematic for studio B. This schematic was a wiring design for the room showing connections between the equipment. For example: The tri-caster is going into the computer and out a monitor.

The next project was YOUth Day. This is a day that NASA employees bring their youth to the base and spend a day touring and getting an opportunity to participate in activities’ on the base with other youth. Part of the project was to get word out through the Langley Research Center (LaRC) advertisements. This is a place to put out information about what is happening, when and where. This was how we gave out information to let the staff and students know how to volunteer their time with tour hosts, information booths, and as greeters/hosts. YOUth Day is a way to inform the youth about NASA. They then pass on what they have learned to others during the school year.  I also had the opportunity to work with some preparation in Rockets to Race. Rockets to Race helps the understanding of the art of science with racing, through taking part in in exercises to help students to pick up a better comprehension of the powers of flight and movement, and figure out how these powers lift planes into the air, and hold racecars tight to the track at astonishing velocities. This was all being done by working with NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson.  An activity that was completed in training was Drag Race to Mars Engineering Design Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to design a capsule to land on Mars, just as NASA engineers have. As the capsule rushes through the atmosphere, it is speeding towards the surface, headed for a crash landing. Students need to use the drag of the atmosphere to slow the capsule down. Using the materials described, they design an apparatus that will create enough drag to allow the capsule to have a soft landing on the surface. This internship has shown that there your major can be used in a lot of different ways. NASA has proven to me that you will have to be a well-rounded person to work there. This internship will give all majors a better understanding about what they want to do with their future 

The summer of 2014 I attended Indiana University (Bloomington) for the second time. We were tasked with design of the Android operating system; which is based on a set of unprotected shared resources, some of which are inherited from Linux. These unprotected shared resources, along with the extensive development of Android applications, such as Twitter, makes available a large amount of background information, which can potentially turn harmless resource sharing into serious privacy breaches. In our study, we discovered that zero-permission applications can reveal a user's identity or location through the following ways: the app's network-data usage statistics, the public address resolution protocol, and the speaker status of the device. Because of the public resources available on Android, some of a user's sensitive information can be discovered through the applications on their phones by a few inference techniques. Use of these techniques can reveal a user's disease conditions, location and identity. One particular technique involves reading the data usage of a user's Twitter application and creating a vector of time stamps of when the user tweets. Through this inference technique, more can be discerned about the user. To help combat the access of a user's personal data, we have implemented a Mitigation strategy. This strategy reduces the accuracy of the data captured by rounding up or down the actual number of bytes sent or received by the application to multiple integers before disclosing the value of the query process. The study reveals that highly sensitive data of smartphone user, such as his/her identity, interest condition, geo-location, driving route and more can actually be reliably inferred from researching popular apps. The project was titled "Analyzing the Security Infrastructure of the Android Operating System." 

In the spring of 2013 I was a member of a research team under Mr. Je'aime Powell (mentor). The project was titled "Documentation of SeaSpace Ground Station Systems at Elizabeth City State University." This project consisted of us finding how/what building we are going to put up two of the ground stations; the third one will not have to be placed on the building. After we figure out the weight, size, tools, what building we using and then we will have ECSU training. The ground station collect data that NASA can receive and transmit; they can't get it since they are on the west drift and their flag is not sufficiently solid. Once I completed that project, I presented in New Hampshire, at The Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions (ADMI), and on research day at ECSU. During summer of 2013 I attained researched program at Indiana University (Bloomington). The topic he assigned to me was "Programming the Cloud: From Zero to Hundred for Non-Programmers." I had learned how to use python for the first few weeks. From there, everything was a buildup. I learn the basic such as starting a program, declaring, and initialize the program. Once I got that information, I made a program inside the cloud that was useful for the scientist. After the project was completed I had to present in Indianapolis, Indiana for we can show the program what we accomplish.

Now that I have graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science I am working on my Master’s in Mathematics with a concentration in remote sensing. After I graduate, I plan to further my education by obtaining my doctorates degree. In the near future I hope to work for a successful company that will allow me to utilize my skills knowledge, and experience.

1704 Weeksville Road, Box 672, Elizabeth City, North Carolina 27909
Phone (252) 335-3696 Fax (252) 335-3790

Science Gateways Community Institute
Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research

1704 Weeksville Road, Box 672, Elizabeth City, North Carolina 27909 
Phone (252) 335-3696 Fax (252) 335-3790

National Science Foundation Award Number ACI-1547611