DHS Career Development Grant Recipients

Stevens in coordination with the Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR) have been awarded three consecutive DHS Career Development Grants (DHS CDG) to support nine full-time graduate students through Stevens Maritime Systems Master's Degree program, with a concentration in Maritime Security.

To date, Stevens has awarded eight fellowships.  Recipients of Stevens Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellowships include:

2012 DHS CDG Award

Hasan Shahid: Hasan was awarded a Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellowship following the completion of his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in May 2014.  Hasan was a participant in the CSR's 2011 Summer Research Institute and served as a team leader for the 2014 Summer Research Institute's Technology Integration and Synergies research team.  His research interests include secure wireless information systems. 

Nicholas Haliscak: Nicholas was awarded a DHS-funded Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellowship at Stevens Institute of Technology to begin his studies in January 2014.  Nicholas' research interests include unmanned systems with an emphasis on programming.  He was a DHS HS-STEM summer intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, where he updated hardware and software for a Portable Environmental Monitoring System, during the summer of 2013.  Nick's research background includes experience in the areas of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Robotics. Haliscak received his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University- Kingsville, with a minor in Mathematics and Homeland Security. During the summer of 2014, Nicholas participated as a team member on the Summer Research Institute Maritime Scenario Development team.

2011 DHS CDG Award
Christopher Polacco: Chris was awarded a Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellowship during the summer of 2013.  Chris graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in May 2013, with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Chris served as the team leader for the CSR 2014 Summer Research Institute Maritime Scenario Development team, where he and his teammates collaborated with Homeland Security practitioners to develop maritime incident scenarios for use by local, municipal, state and federal emergency responders in training and preparedness exercises.

Alexander Pollara: Alex Pollara was awarded a DHS CDG Master's Degree Fellowship award in 2012.  He completed his Master's degree in Maritime Systems with a Graduate Certificate in Maritime Security in May 2014, following the defense of his Master's Thesis entitled Application of Portable Passive Acoustic System for Boat Detection and Classification.  Alex's research interests and work center around the tracking and identification of vessels based on their passive acoustic signatures, particularly focusing on the use of machine learning for vessel classification. During the summer of 2013 Alex interned at USCG Sector NY where he began an ongoing effort to incorporate third party camera feeds into the Coast Guard's new Watchkeeper platform. Alex's research has also led to the development of a compact portable hydrophone array designed to monitor vessel traffic around maritime infrastructure. Tests of this system have been successfully carried out at the Verrazano Bridge and on the Upper New York Harbor. Alex holds a Bachelor's Degree in Naval Engineering with a minor in Coastal Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.  Alex was recently awarded a Doctoral Fellowship in Maritime Security, to continue his research at Stevens in the area of passive acoustic detection systems.

Grace Python: Grace Python completed her DHS-funded Maritime Systems Fellowship in December 2013.  Prior to completing her degree in Maritime Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology, Grace completed a Master's Thesis entitled Decision Making Guidelines to Enhance Port Resilience to Flood Events.  Grace is currently employed by Analytic Services Inc, within the Analyst Development Program.  Before joining Analytic Services, Grace was employed as a Research Associate within the Center for Decision Technologies at Stevens Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on decision support frameworks for the U.S. Coast Guard and related Port partners.

During the summer of 2013, Grace participated in a ten week internship with the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Operations Analysis Division in Portsmouth, VA, where she conducted risk assessments and data analysis for determining optimal solutions for the deployment of Coast Guard assets. (e.g. vessels, personnel, technologies, etc.) At the completion of her internship, VADM Parker presented her with the Atlantic Area Command coin and the USCG Commitment to Excellence Award.

2010 DHS CDG Award
Christopher Francis: Christopher Francis is a 2013 graduate of the Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellowship program at Stevens Institute of Technology.  He received his bachelor's degree in Naval Engineering in 2011, also from Stevens, and is currently a research scientist participating in the Visiting Researcher Programme at the NATO Science & Technology Organization's Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (STO CMRE) in La Spezia, Italy.  His work there on STO CMRE's Talon-13 project mirrors his educational background in the Fellowship program, his experience in CSR's 2011 Summer Research Institute, and his experience as a summer intern at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI in 2012.  His current research at STO CMRE lies in the area of maritime/port security, specifically small boat and swimmer defense, through the utilization of various remote-sensing technologies (both subsurface and airborne) and non-lethal weapons/effectors for protecting waterside infrastructure and waterborne assets.

Brandon Gorton: Brandon Gorton is currently a Deputy Physical Protection Expert in the Physical Protection Implementation Group - Global Threat Reduction Initiative of the National Security Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  As part of this appointment, Mr. Gorton conducts security assessments and vulnerability-risk analyses to determine security enhancement recommendations to secure radiological and nuclear materials throughout the world.  In this capacity, he plays a critical role in technically complex, internationally critical global projects within the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Sector by performing technical reviews, surveying quality and timeliness of hardware installation, evaluating contractor proposals, and assessing new technologies.

Danielle Holden: Danielle Holden is a 2013 graduate of the Maritime Systems Master's Degree Fellowship program at Stevens Institute of Technology. She is currently employed at DNV GL in Houston, TX, as a Risk Analyst Consultant in the Oil and Gas sector within the Environmental and Navigational risk advisory group.

Prior to Stevens, Danielle completed a B.S. in Physical Oceanography, with a minor in Mathematics from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. At Stevens, her research focused on evaluating operational, safety/security and infrastructural risks associated with the introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fueled ships into the U.S. maritime system.

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