Ginger Perng

 NSF Fellow and Uncensored Success

October 26, 2004

After a highly competitive application process ECE graduate student Ginger Perng was selected for a 2004-2005 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship which funds three years of study, including a stipend. She was one of 1,020 winners chosen out of 8,939 applicants in science, mathematics, and engineering.

Honorable mentions were awarded to ECE students Sarah Bedair, Emily Lauffer (B.S. ECE and EPP, 2004), Jeffrey Nelson (M.S. ECE 2003), James Newsome (M.S. ECE 2003), Adam Zelinski (B.S. and M.S. ECE; 2003), and INI's James Doyle.

Ginger works on censorship resistant networks and on the infrastructure for scalable, wide information dissemination for the Parallel Data Lab (PDL) with her advisor, Research Scientist Chenxi Wang. Completing her undergraduate degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ginger also earned Carnegie Mellon's Laboratory of Computer Science (LCS) Fellowship and plans to pursue a career in industry after she graduates. Take an inside look at this award winner's story:

Ginger Perng

ECE Graduate Student


Atlanta, Georgia

Why engineering?

My dad and brother both were engineers. I first wanted to go to medical school, and decided to take engineering as a "back up." After I took a couple of engineering classes, I decided I liked it more.

Why Carnegie Mellon?

The ranking was important for me in deciding to apply. When I came to open house, all the professors, students, and staff were so welcoming, supportive, and nice that I felt like this would be a good fit for me.


I am working on finding a definition of censorship resistance that can be used to analyze previously described systems. I am also researching the cryptographic primitives that are necessary to implement a censorship resistant system.

Challenges & rewards:

The most challenging part about work is finding the solution to a problem. Graduate school is different from undergrad in that you really have to motivate yourself to get things done. There are no "deadlines" like there are in classes. However, when you do publish, it's rewarding to know that your paper is on something that no one else has done before.

Publication credit:

I presented at the International Workshop on Distributed Event Based Systems (DEBS' 04) in Edinburgh, Scotland. The title of the paper was "Providing Content-Based Services in a Peer-to-Peer Environment."

[This paper was coauthored by Chenxi Wang and Mike Reiter, Professor of ECE and CS; Associate Director of CyLab, and is part of the secure publish/subscribe, secure peer-to-peer project funded by the NSF Trusted Computing award. DEBS '04 was held in conjunction with the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE).]

Favorite course:

18-733, Applied Cryptography, with Mike Reiter taught me the fundamentals of cryptography. Although it was extremely difficult, his class was most relevant to my current research. It is nice to be able to apply what you have learned in class to the "real" world.

TA time:

I am a TA for 18-730, Introduction to Computer Security.


I've been an intern at Motorola (summer 2000), and at Accenture (summer 2001-Fall 2001).

Student organizations:

The ECE Graduate Organization (EGO)... I have been the secretary for a year. I was also the Food Chair for the ECE Winter Party in 2003 and 2004.


I like going to the Pittsburgh Opera and the musical shows that come through. I like cooking/baking, reading books, and watching lots of movies.

Best part of the ECE degree:

The collaboration between the professors—there is an openness that makes it such that you can talk to multiple professors without worrying that you will step on another's toes.

Advice to women pursuing engineering:

If you're interested in engineering, do not get discouraged. Find a mentor so you have someone to talk to. Believe in yourself, and remember that engineering should be fun.

Ginger (far right) enjoys the 2004 ECE Winter Party with friends (from right to left) Jen Morris, Deepti Srivastava, and Shelley Chen.

Visiting Scotland for the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) last May, Ginger spotted a peacock.