DREU Summer'16


Welcome to my site! I created this website to document my time in DREU. Please click around and check it out!

About Me


My name is Gloriane Tran and I am a 3rd year computer science student at Mills College. I will be graduating in May 2018. Over the summer of 2016, I am conducting research with Professor Anna Squicciarini at Pennsylvania State University. My goal for the summer is to help Anna accomplish her goals on her study, and also explore what it is like doing computer science research. If you would like to contact me for further information, please email me at glorianetran@gmail.com or visit my website.



For the summer of 2016, I am conducting research with Professor Anna Squicciarini. Anna is an associate professor working in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. Anna enjoys researching data privacy, access control and system security. As her intern, I am working with her to further her research on multi-party access controls. Further information on Anna can be found here.


At Pennsylvania State University, I am working with Anna Squicciarini on her study of multi-user privacy control. Her study uses a fake social media site called FakeBook (built with Drupal), to determine how users are affected by elements like peer pressure when deciding on the privacy of a post in a group setting. Our goal for the summer is to redesign her previous study to include the unaccounted variables. While I am working on the front end design of the study, the other intern, Emily, is working on the backend. We will be working together constantly to make sure that the data collection is seamless.

Weekly Journal

Week 9

My last week of research for DREU and it is definitely bittersweet. We were able to launch about half a week before I left, so the data is slowly rolling in. Words can not describe the anxious and nervous feelings you get once the survey is launched. Overall, data collection went well. We received data from about one hundred participants. The majority of the participants had no issues with the study we created. This week I will analyze the data we received and see what the results tell us. I had a great summer with DREU and Penn State. I learned a lot about web development and developed a relationship with the professor in the field. I am excited to learn more about cyber security when I head back to my college. This is an exciting year.

Week 8

After Anna extended our deadline, we are in the final week before launching. It is hard to believe that 8 weeks passed by already. As the deadline approaches, I am cramming away to make sure the UI is perfect. This week we also did some beta testing with Anna. I learned how important beta testing is when a big component of our study suddenly stopped working. Other than cramming, last weekend I saw the Jersey shore for the first time. I have to say, East Coast is really humid. My goal for next week is to be able to quickly receive feedback from survey takers, and then spend my last week analyzing the data. I am excited to see the results from the study I worked on for weeks. Hopefully the data turns out well.

Week 7

This week, the work piled up much quicker. As we aimed to launch on a Friday, I was making the final UI changes and connecting the front and back ends of the study. This week I learned that it is important to keep good communication with your professor and co worker so that the final project comes out satisfactory for all parties. Aside from the usual coding, my professor had a professional come in and view our project. We received feedback and our study is now extended to next Thursday. The professional critiqued the design and made me consider factors that did not occur to me. I agree with her comments and I believe they will improve the study to obtain optimal data. It is always good to get a new set of eyes. Some things that I missed or dismissed, were caught by another and now I have time to improve the study. Hopefully I can finish all my tasks before our launch date. I have a busy week ahead, but I will keep plowing through it.

Week 6

As we are making the final push towards completing our survey, the work load is piling. This week I worked on timing events in javascript, making sure data is being passed correctly into the database, learning some more php to extract html links, and much more. Here’s a funny occurrence that happened to me this week. I was working on file systems and for some reason I could not access a file. In the middle of the night I woke up and realized my answer. I was not even trying to think of code. This is definitely the best way to solve problems, when the answers come to you. For the next week, Emily and I are going to finish up our surveys and release them. After a week or two we can analyze the data and write our research reports. I am excited to release our work and have it being used. After the release Emily and I are going to head to New Jersey to see some of the beach. It will be my first time at a beach on another coast. Excited for the things to come!

Week 5

My fifth week at DREU and my CSS, HTML, and PHP googling are coming together. I am starting to get a good feel for the code. This week I worked on some backend PHP to scrape through Flickr URLs to extract images. It was a challenging task, but I gained a lot of knowledge. After scraping the website, I worked on some CSS and HTML design for the front end. I am very proud of my work! I also started working with Emily on the study so it is great interacting with the other DREU intern. Anna gave us a deadline for when we want to release the survey and I am anxiously working away to make sure the study will be complete in time. I am confident that me and Emily can prepare the survey to be launched. Next week I want to meet with Anna to discuss some content she wants to ask users. As soon as we meet, I will receive new tasks to complete. The days are winding down and I am excited to see my work being put to use.

Week 4

It is my fourth week of DREU and the research is progressing. I have working on PHP/HTML, and it is starting to come together nicely. Currently I am working on extracting images from an HTML URL and uploading it with PHP. A bit challenging but I am confident that I can achieve it with some help from Google. My goal for next week is to get pictures uploaded and then finish creating pages in the research. I went to Washington D.C for fourth of July and it was a great trip. My first trip out of State College, PA and it was amazing. Unfortunately, the weather in D.C was rainy, so I headed back to PA early and caught the fireworks at Penn State.

Week 3

For the third week of DREU, I continued learning about PHP, HTML and CSS. It took me a bit of time, but with my constant documentation reading, I succeeded in sending data to the database. This experience has taught me about how data is passed between a website to a web server. I will make sure to pay attention to my computer networks class when I take it in the next upcoming semesters. I am sure the stuff I am working on here will appear in the course. Other than getting some working scripts, I am now looking into creating timers in javascript. This will require me to learn some JS but I am up for the challenge. Anna has been very supportive and patient with my learning process. My goal for next week is to get the timer up and running and brainstorm with the other intern Emily, about possible ways the websites/questions should look. We want to gather data without any variables hindering it. Other than work, I am enjoying cooking for myself. I have a trip to Washington D.C for the weekend and I excited to be visiting for the fourth of July. Happy holidays!

Week 2

During my second week at Penn State, I am finding my living situation going much more smoothly. I am bonding with my housemates and my other research interns. Learning and talking to people who are at different points of their life is one of my life pleasures. For my research, I am starting to get a better idea of what I am trying to accomplish. While I am still working on the UI of the research study, I am thinking about how the UI can affect the study results. Professor Anna mentioned that the previous UI of the study was very confusing and distracting, so my goal is to redesign the study to capture variables that might have contributed to negative results. During the week I created eight personas, and a fake social media profile for each of them. When brainstorming personas, I was thinking about how to capture a wide spectrum of different types of people. The results were mediocre and I plan on going back to update the personas to create a better study. One thing I struggled with is learning about php code and connecting to the database with ssh. I was pretty happy once I was able to ssh into the database, though I am still working on the php. My goal for the next week is to get the php code up and working so that I can send data to the database. Once I achieve that goal, I can start redesigning more pages for the research study.

Week 1

This is my first week arriving at Penn State and it has been an interesting and new experience. I have never been to the east coast so I am feeling like a newborn baby, soaking in the new cultures. As for my research, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the new material I am supposed to learn. But learning is fun, and I would rather be challenged instead of taking the easy route. On the first day of the research Professor Anna took me and Emily (DREU intern) to lunch downtown. There I bonded with both Anna and Emily. Both are great individuals with different experiences which I can surely learn from. Then throughout the week I searched the web for platforms Anna could use for her study. Once we picked a platform I started looking at code and picking up HTML, CSS, and PHP. It is my first time trying web programming and it is pretty interesting so far. My goal for next week is to establish with Anna what she expects for the website, and also try to create some content pages on Drupal. Overall, it was a great week. State college is welcoming me with open arms and I am excited for the weeks to come.

This report is written by Gloriane Tran. The study was conducted with Emily Evans and Anna Squicciarini.

Click to view report.