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Alumnus Mahomud Shabana is pictured in his NYU regalia

Featured Alumnus Mahmoud Shabana ’20, MS ’21

Mahmoud Shabana

In his own words: Upon completing my graduate degree at Monmouth University, I worked as a Junior Software Engineer at Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. At Broadridge, I was responsible for refactoring the flagship Foreign Exchange and Liquidity software solution and improving the integration workflow for our clients. This experience advanced my interest in software security, prompting me to take a leap of faith and apply for a Master’s in Cybersecurity at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Fortunately, I was accepted to the program on a full scholarship as a CyberCorp Scholarship for Service recipient. During my time at NYU Tandon, I studied and implemented best software security practices, Offensive Security techniques and procedures, and Machine Learning algorithms to aid in adaptive security solutions. In addition, I worked on several research projects while at NYU Tandon. Specifically, I worked with U.S. Cyber Command on researching novel techniques utilized by nation-state actors like Iran to weaken the U.S. Election Infrastructure. I also worked on researching innovative methods for leveraging Machine Learning Algorithms for Hardware Reverse Engineering workflows during my internship with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. Finally, I am currently exploring the use of Generative AI models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 to aid in reverse engineering malware applications with NYU faculty Dr. Brendan Dolan-Gavitt and Dr. Hammond Pearce. I hope to continue my efforts in defining the framework for AI in Cybersecurity as I begin my work at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute as an AI Security Researcher.

Recalling my time at Monmouth, it is clear that my disposition to innovate and learn stems from my time there as a student-athlete. Monmouth Athletics taught me the value of hard work and persistence, which are requisite characteristics of a successful researcher. My coaches emphasized effort and excellence in the goals their players set, on and off the field. Thanks to the support of Coach Brian Gabrial, Jeff Gallo, and Kevin Callahan, I approach all new challenges head-on at full speed and full effort. Additionally, as a Software Engineering major at Monmouth’s School of Science, I experienced early on the fast-paced nature of the software and computer field. It was not enough to be knowledgeable in my many software-related topics, but it was paramount to learn such topics quickly and efficiently. This dedication to learning was instilled in me as a student of passionate faculty at the School of Science. Specifically, the support of professors like Dr. Raman Lakshmanan and Prof. Jamie Krestch helped make learning enjoyable, with my love for learning becoming a natural outcome.

My work in the Summer Research Program alongside Mr. Gil Eckert and my amazing colleagues Steven Cassidy and Nianqi Tian, (see photo below of my colleagues presenting a poster) helped foster my passion for addressing challenging questions and finding creative solutions to achieve tangible results. During this research project, I encountered new obstacles as I delved into the field of Computer Vision, which was previously unfamiliar to me. Through the support and passion of the faculty at the School of Science, I learned 3D imaging in Computer Vision and contributed to improving the process of 3D image generation. Thanks to the investment of Mr. Eckert, I fell in love with the research process and carry that passion with me today.

A groups of smiling men standing with a poster in the background
Mahmoud Shabana (back) presents with student colleagues Steven Cassidy and Nianqi Tian, with Professors Gil Ekert and Jim Nickels (far left)