IST professor wins NSF CAREER award

Heng Xu, assistant professor information sciences and technology, recently received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will support her future work on privacy in online social networks.

Xu’s proposal, “Examining Users’ Collective Privacy Management for Online Social Networks,” includes three main aspects regarding privacy and social networks—intervention and its efficacy, privacy awareness/education and how the concept of privacy has changed and evolved, a term coined as “privacy 2.0.”

She was inspired to conduct further research in the field after working with several colleagues on the issue of privacy and Facebook in 2006 and realizing how most users were not aware of the importance of privacy control.

“In reality people always treat privacy protection as a secondary task,” said Xu. “Some even consider it as a burden—it never became a primary task to users, therefore, there is a need for a good strategy to promote privacy control.”

The award, amounting to $478,606, will support Xu’s research for the next five years. She said that the award serves as a positive motivation towards achieving research excellence in her career development.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development award is given to faculty members who are beginning their independent careers. NSF describes the award as a prestigious one given to junior faculty members who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and integration of education and research.”

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Last Updated July 07, 2011