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NSF GRFP Summary 2013-2014

April 25, 2014
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I finished my first year as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow! Despite feeling like I haven’t accomplished much, I have managed to rack up a list of “achievements”.

NSF Table SummaryWe also have to write a 1-page description of our activities:

As part of the Energy and Behavior Group at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), I do behavioral research to improve programs in the energy industry given the shift toward smart grid technology.

At present, I am developing a model to describe how behavior interacts with cybersecurity risk in the energy sector. I am interested in identifying which human behaviors have the biggest impact on cybersecurity risk as well as which behaviors are capable of being changed. I am developing potential models of cybersecurity risk that incorporate human behavioral elements in order to quantify the robustness of different strategies, such as quarantining vulnerable computers or improving anomaly detection. In the models, these types of strategies interact with human behavior and incentive structures, which can undermine or amplify their effectiveness. This work will aid in developing cybersecurity policy to improve national security.

In addition, I have been involved in several projects related to communicating residential energy use to consumers. In one study, I identified that participants understood tables of electricity information better than graphical formats, highlighting the need to empirically test communications rather than rely on intuition.1 I was also involved in a study on the impact of literacy for comprehension of energy conservation materials2 and in-home display design3. This work has been shared with industry as part of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center (CEIC).

Beyond my research, I have focused on increasing student engagement with policy issues as the president of the Students for Science & Tech Policy club. I organized a lecture series with topics ranging from how to write an op-ed to Pittsburgh’s new open data policy. I also worked with the CMU Government Affairs office to organize a trip to Washington DC where we met with representatives from the National Academy of Science, congressional staff, and a think tank to learn more about the policy environment in DC as well as potential careers.

I have also engaged in outreach to encourage women and minorities to consider a STEM career. In high school, I participated in a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program at Garrison Forest School, an all-girls school in Baltimore, MD. In December, I visited my high school to talk to current students and answer their questions about engineering school and life afterwards. I also taught an energy audit lesson to rising 10th graders during a summer camp organized by my department.

References:

[1] Canfield, C., Bruine de Bruin, W. & Wong-Parodi, G. (2014). Redesigning bills: The effect of format on responses to electricity use information. Manuscript submitted for publication. [2] Wong-Parodi, G., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Canfield, C. (2013). Effects of simplifying outreach materials for energy conservation programs that target low-income consumers. Energy Policy, 62, 1157–1164. [3] Krishnamurti, T., Davis, A. L., Wong-Parodi, G., Wang, J., & Canfield, C. (2013). Creating an in-home display: Experimental evidence and guidelines for design. Applied Energy, 108, 448–458.

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