Recent computer science Ph.D. graduates Abdulhamid Adebayo and Ronald Doku joined tech giants IBM Research and Oracle as researchers in cybersecurity and data science. Dr. Adebayo (far right) joined IBM Research as a hybrid cloud security researcher and Dr. Doku (second to the right) joined Oracle, Inc. as a data scientist. Both were graduate research assistants and advisees of Danda B. Rawat, Ph.D., professor of computer science and director of the Howard University Data Science & Cybersecurity Center (DSC2). Amidst the current pandemic-induced recession and increasingly competitive job market, our graduates persevere and continue to shine.
Ironically, both graduates started their paths as aspiring medical doctors. Dr. Doku was even affectionately called “Dr. Ronald” by his father from early childhood. Both graduates applied for pre-med programs and were accepted. Dr. Adebayo came across information for a computer science program during his application process and decided that would be his path. His family was quite surprised at the switch but still provided their full support. Dr. Doku had completed a year of pre-med studies before he switched his major to computer science. The initial exposure to computer science courses captured their interest, leading to unrelenting success.
Dr. Adebayo joined Howard University in 2017 as a Ph.D. student and worked as a graduate research assistant on federally funded projects under the supervision of Dr. Rawat. Dr. Adebayo’s research areas are in cloud computing, cybersecurity and wireless virtualization. His Ph.D. dissertation titled “Secure Dynamic Spectrum Access Using Aggregated-Query-as-a-Service in Cloud-Assisted Database Enabled Cognitive Networks and Wireless Virtualization" focused on cloud computing enabled secure wireless networking. During his doctoral studies, he published several high impact research articles. He became fascinated with cybersecurity after an introduction to the subdiscipline by Peter Oju, his mentor at University Press, PLC, where he interned in 2011. For an independent research project in his master’s program at the University of Ibadan, Dr. Adebayo worked on mobility-aware access control and has not looked back since he says.
With hard work and dedication comes a prize. “Nothing beats getting that degree with a dream job already secured,” comments Dr. Adebayo.
Dr. Doku was a Bison from the start. He joined Howard University in 2008 and now has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science. “If you do the utmost best you can do today, and you keep repeating it each day, the future will automatically sort itself out and everything will fall into place in the end. It might seem hard or everything might not seem like it’s working in the beginning but keep persevering and everything will fall into place,” he says.
The opportunity to express his creativity within the realm of computer science was what convinced Dr. Doku to adopt computer science as his major. He wanted a major that provided him with the canvas to express his creativity. His research focused on the cutting-edge technology of cybersecurity for big data and big data for cybersecurity, as well as blockchain, and allowed him to channel his creativity by way of combining old and new ideas to solve technical problems. “This really excites me, and I believe switching to computer science was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” he says.
Dr. Doku also worked as a graduate research assistant on federally funded projects under the supervision of Dr. Rawat. Dr. Doku’s Ph.D. dissertation titled “Relevance Based Secure and Scalable Decentralized Data Sharing System” focused on big data analytics and security using machine learning and blockchain technology. Dr. Doku has published his Ph.D. research results in several high impact IEEE peer-reviewed journals, such as IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, and IEEE/ACM conferences, such as the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Smart Computing.
And their fondest memories at HU?
Both graduates remark on the incredible sense of community at Howard University and the unrelenting support they received from professors and mentors. Dr. Rawat made himself available to his students at all hours and was always ready to listen to their ideas.
“Working with Dr. Rawat was intellectually challenging and fun at the same time. He knew exactly what made everyone tick and was always willing to give feedback on my work regardless of the hour of the day. He helped lay out a plan when I started my program and I’m glad we were able to implement it. He always showed me he believed in me which further inspired my confidence,” added Dr. Adebayo.
As a native of Ghana, Dr. Doku vividly remembers the first time he saw snow. “It was 9:00 am on a cold Thursday morning, and I was walking to my next class. I remember the snowflakes falling from the sky, and I had the biggest grin on my face. People were probably wondering what was wrong with me.”
Now, who doesn’t love a fresh snowfall?
We wish all of our recent graduates the best of luck in their current and future endeavors!
(Pictured: Dr. Adebayo [far right] and Dr. Doku [second to the right] pose with other Ph.D. students for our Fall 2018 article, "CEA Quadruples Ph.D. Graduation Rate and Increases Ph.D. Enrollment by 38%".)