Executive Student David Aaron Wins 2018 Brown Master’s Award for Professional Excellence

We’re proud to announce that Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS), member of the Class of 2018, David Aaron, won the 2018 Brown University Graduate School Master’s Award for Professional Excellence. A federal prosecutor in the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division, Aaron earned this distinction for his outstanding achievements during the span of the EMCS program.

Nomination letters for this Brown award by Brown faculty members shed light on the caliber of Aaron’s accomplishments that earned him this recognition. Brown Plastech Professor of Computer Science Roberto Tamassia, who also serves as the executive director and an instructor in EMCS, called attention to Aaron’s exceptional advanced computer science coursework.

Noting Aaron’s non-technical background as a political science major with a JD in law, Tamassia praised Aaron for his in-depth understanding of complex algorithmic methods and cryptographic protocols that resulted in submissions that, “exhibited a level of scientific rigor I would expect from one of our computer science Ph.D. students.” Tamassia credited one of Aaron’s papers that translated a theoretical cryptographic construction into a practical business application as, “the most effective executive brief I have seen on this subject,” and added that he plans to incorporate Aaron’s work in future course materials and corporate executive engagements.

A senior fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and an EMCS academic director, Timothy Edgar served as a faculty advisor for David’s EMCS Critical Challenge Project (CCP), an EMCS capstone requirement. Edgar lauded Aaron’s CCP by saying, “I believe his project not only provides a great solution to a major problem but that it is quite likely to form the basis for new legislation in this area.”

EMCS program director and Brown Computer Science adjunct professor, Alan Usas, called attention to Aaron’s successes as a lead prosecutor in national breaking news stories during the program. He also noted that while Aaron was immersed in his EMCS studies, he was awarded a prestigious Fellowship in Advanced Cybersecurity Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for his outstanding contributions in policy, technology, diplomacy, and business.

Commenting on the award, David expressed his sincere gratitude to the Executive Master in Cybersecurity program and to Professor Timothy Edgar in particular:

“I was truly fortunate to have Tim as a mentor and advisor throughout the EMCS program, and I look forward to continuing to work together. He is an excellent example of the access that EMCS offers to experts in the field, and his approach to teaching engaged the entire cohort, regardless of their professional background or prior familiarity with his course material.”

David also had words of praise for the other members of his cohort, saying,

“Especially in light of the impressive professional accomplishments of many of my classmates, receiving this award is humbling and truly an honor.”   

Finally, David thanked his family:

“My wife, children, parents, and in-laws have been crucial to whatever professional or academic success I have had, and I remain forever grateful for their ceaseless support.”

The Brown University Graduate School Master’s Award recognizes outstanding contributions by a Brown University Master’s student which influence or contributes to the field or profession. Previous Brown School of Professional Studies executive master student winners of this award includes Christopher Godfrey, EMHL 2015 and Dr. Lwabanya Marx, EMHL 2017.


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