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Security and Biometric Devices

Student Researchers: Lindsay Bertugli, Jennifer Hiserodt, Melissa A Karolewski, Tamara Smith
Advisor: Dr. Rose Shumba


The general public is often isolated from the techniques in information security, yet the security of cyberspace rests on the security of all its components. The goal of this project is to investigate the public’s understanding and acceptance of biometric devices as a method of user authentication. Investigators will test the security of some existing biometric devices and then, through a questionnaire survey, investigate the understanding and acceptability of biometric devices among the IUP community. The output from this project will be disseminated through conference presentations.

Such a project, if successful, will

  1. Enhance investigators’ knowledge and understanding of information security and biometric devices
  2. Enhance IUP community’s awareness of biometric devices and their application in security
  3. Spawn research projects regarding biometric devices
  4. Enhance the public’s confidence in the use of biometric devices as an access control device


  1. Background research of commonly used biometric devices, related theory, and privacy issues
  2. Designing and administration of a questionnaire survey to investigate the acceptance and understanding of biometric devices by the IUP community
  3. Quantitative analysis of the results
  4. A hosting of an educational tutorial session on biometric devices for the IUP community

Activities of 2006-2007

  • 2007 C-Cue Conference (presentation): Is Big Brother Watching? (second place in category)
  • 2007 PACISE Conference (presentation): Lock Haven University
  • 2007 Women in Sciences Poster Session (poster): Is Big Brother Watching: Ethical Concerns of Biometrics and RFID
  • 2007 Undergraduate Scholars Conference
  • Administering of questionnaire to subset of IUP community through Student Voice (April 2007)
  • Presentation of a tutorial to interested questionnaire participants and IUP community members
  • Submission to 2007 Grace Hopper Conference, to be held in Orlando, Fla.
  • Final report to be submitted to CREU

CREU Research Experience

Lindsey Bertugli

“Participating in the CREU Research program was an amazing experience. From doing background research to designing a survey and learning to negotiate through the maze of rules and regulations in the IRB approval process, I learned many things that I think will be useful in the future. For example, I have grown much more confident in my ability to speak in front of large groups of people, which is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable things I learned during the program. I am grateful to have had the chance to work so closely with other students in my department and especially with one of my professors. We were supported by the rest of our department every step of the way, and we really appreciated it. I am proud to have been a part of our award-winning research group, and I hope they are proud of us.”

Melissa Karolewski

“Working with the CREU program and Dr. Shumba for the past three years has been an amazing experience for me. I have not only gained practical knowledge of additional areas in the computer science field, but also gained invaluable presentation and leadership skills. My only hope is that this program will continue at IUP in the following years and many other women will have the opportunity to benefit from this program. The opportunity to attend the 2006 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in San Diego, Calif., was an amazing and unforgettable experience. My sincerest thanks goes out to the IUP College of Natural Sciences , IUP Computer Science Department, IUP Graduate Studies and Research, and most important Dr. Rose Shumba for her dedication to this research and CRA-W and CREU for the funding. Thanks you so much for the memories!” ~ Missy K