What topic interests you today? The anatomy of a hummingbird? The migration patterns of humpback whales? A book from the main library in Beijing? Or the movie schedule for the local cinema? Databases containing this information and much more are available at your fingertips via the Internet, an international network that connects millions of computers around the world. If access to such information could be better controlled, ever more databases would be available on the Internet today. Vicki Jones is a research assistant in graduate school studying the issues how to store information in databases on the Internet and how to ensure the secure and private access to that information. Her goal is to make databases of information accessible while protecting the privacy of individuals who access the data and about whom the data refers.
Vicki is also interested in ways to allow different people to access different levels of access to a database. For example, your doctor's office keeps your medical records on file. If you are on vacation and need medical attention, it would be convenient if an out-of-town doctor could access your records in your doctor's office. But you don't want just anyone to know your personal medical history; ccess should be limited to those who are authorized. Vicki is developing approaches that will allow us to access data we need, but will restrice data that we should not see.
Vicki received her bachelor's degree from North Carolina State University and her master's degree from the University of Illinois, both in computer science. She plans to complete her Ph.D. at Illinois this year. Before coming to Illinois for graduate school, she spent four years working as a software engineer in the telecommunications industry. Although she enjoyed working in industry, she says, "I much prefer the freedom of a research environment. I'm looking forward to continuing a rewarding career as a researcher in database systems after I complete my Ph.D."
Vicki grew up in rural North Carolina with her parents, two sisters, and a brother. Her dad is an electrical engineer, and her mother taught her calculus in high school. Vicki says "When I was young, no one ever asked me if I was going to college--they just asked what I was going to study." Vicki has always liked logic puzzles and spent many hours working on them with her family. In her first year as an undergraduate computer science student, she enjoyed programming so much that she worked on it on evenings and weekends! She now spends her evenings and weekends enjoying softball, hiking, biking, ice skating, and cooking with her husband.