Six months after Andrew Bristow, Class of 2012, completed research for the Federal Trade Commission on mobile device applications that are marketed to children, the FTC issued a report raising concerns about whether the apps are protecting children's privacy.
"We were really trying to get a broad picture of what the market looked like," explained Bristow, a sociology major who is getting a certificate in Information Technology and Society. "One of the things that was especially important to us was how well these app developers complied with the existing regulations on children's privacy."
Bristow and two other students worked at the FTC under the guidance of Professor Ed Felten, the FTC's first Chief Technologist. Bristow said the internship gave him valuable technological skills and he enjoyed working on an issue he cared about and living in Washington DC. He and the other students rubbed elbows with top officials at the FTC's headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, sat in on closed door Federal Trade Commission meetings, and even got to meet with FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz several times.
"I'm very glad I had the opportunity to work in a federal government office," said Bristow, who was entering his senior year at the time. "It was really cool. I'm pretty sure it's still sinking in to me that I was walking down hallways with some of the most powerful in the business regulation world over the summer as a Princeton senior, so that was pretty exciting!"
Ian C. Davey, a graduate student in computer science, had a similar experience working with Professor Felten on privacy issues regarding mobile apps in the Chairman's office of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "I'm a very pro-consumer kind of person so I was happy to work on that issue," he said. "That's why my research area is security."
Tom, a political science major who graduated in 2011 with a certificate in computer science as well as the technology and society certificate who prefers that his last name is withheld for privacy reasons, said his work at the FTC gave him great insight into how the FTC works - information he has used in his job at a tech company in Silicon Valley. "The experience looking at the commission from the inside and seeing how it works and the process that they use to decide what to investigate was extraordinarily valuable," he said.
The students' internships were partly funded by the Eugene Wong '55 Fund for Engineering and Policy, which supports, "engineering students pursuing projects or internships that combine engineering and policy."
A fourth student, Amanda Rees, Class of 2012, received Wong funding for her internship at the UN Food and Agricultural Organization Headquarters in Rome.
Several engineering students also worked on community services projects funded by the
Norman D. Kurtz '58 Fund for Innovation in Engineering Education. The fund, which supports "engineering students pursuing projects that offer exposure to engineering applications outside the classroom," supported Sarah Tang and Katie Yang, both Class of 2013, who worked with Princeton Engineering Education for Kids or PEEK in 2011. The program aims to get kids interested in engineering by teaching children in local elementary schools about basic principles of engineering using LEGO Mindstorms robotic kits. (See below for a list of other Kurtz projects).
The Alumni Fund provides funding for group projects by engineering students. In 2011, the fund supported teams of students working with the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Project or PAVE.
Students who received Alumni Fund support were:
Josh Newman, Class of 2011; Tony Zhu, Class of 2011, and Brenton Partridge, Class of 2012, the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition
Tony Zhu and Joshua Newman, both Class of 2011, the Prospect 12, a fully autonomous vehicle.
Other students receiving Kurtz funding were:
Akhil Reddy and Jeremy Blair, both Class of 2013, and Cole Freeman Class of 2014, Engineers Without Borders-Princeton, Ghana School Library Initiative, Ashaiman, Ghana
Morgan Fowler & Conor Myhrvold, both Class of 2011, Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) - Early 20th Century John Deere Engine Restoration
Eden Full, Kevin Chai & Hugh Kohl, all Class of 2013, and Megan Prier, Class of 2011: Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) - B Home Project
David Newill-Smith, Colleen Carroll, Yan Wu & Richard Zhang, all Class of 2014, Chest Freezer-to-Fridge Conversion Project