Office: 1120 KnowledgeWorks II
Virginia Tech Email: lkotut[at]vt[dot]edu

YTD Highlights

  • May 2019: I will be teaching a section of CS 1114 (Intro to Software Design) and CS 1054 (Intro to Programming with Java) during the Summer I semester.
  • March 2019: I received a travel grant to attend the 2nd Annual CRA Grad Cohort for Underrepresented Minorities and People with Disabilities (CRA-URMD) in Hawaii
  • January 2019: I will be teaching a section of CS 1114 (Intro to Software Design) during the Spring semester
  • December 2018: Presented our paper Museum Technology: The Missing Voice" at the AfriCHI conference in Windhoek, Namibia
  • November 2018: Presented our research "Tensions on the Trail" at the Rural Computing workshop at CSCW.
  • June 2018: Our Short Paper on Museum Technology has been accepted at AFRICHI 2018!
  • July 2018: I will be assisting with the TechGirls program for the second year
  • June 2018: Our Short Paper Privacy Preserving Smart Meter Data has been accepted at UrbComp 2018!

About Me

I am a PhD Candidate in the Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech. My research sits at the crossroads of Human Computer Interaction and Security. I look at how people both use technology to make decisions, and also how they make decisions around technology use. This includes how they perceive risk, if current systems designed to help people mitigate risks are effective in achieving this, and creating new frameworks that would aid users in making informed decisions about risk. I am advised by Dr. Scott McCrickard .

I received my Master's degree in computer science from Norfolk State University in 2016, with my research centered in the cybersecurity domain. Specifically, I considered how mobile phone users could best be supported by providing a way for them to determine application risk to personal information pre-download. The research culminated in a framework we dubbed Better Risk (BRISK) framework that formed the basis of my thesis advised by Dr. Luay A. Wahsheh, titled, "Trust But Verify: Towards Assessing Permission Risk And Effective Presentation Of Evaluations To The End User". While at Norfolk state, I was also a Research Assistant in Dr. George Hsieh's cyber-security lab where I worked on a project named "Cyber Analysis, Simulation and Experimentation Environment (CASE-V) for enhancing situational awareness and decision support for cyber defense and cyber training". The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Managed by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) - Rome, New York. (Publications from Master's work: Paper 3).

I received my undergraduate degree in computer science from Georgia Southern University. My undergraduate honors thesis while at Georgia Southern was in the domain of Cyber-Physical Systems. The year-long thesis was first advised by the late Dr. Ardian Greca. After his passing, I was then advised by Dr. Wenjia Li. (Publications from undergraduate work: Paper 1 | Paper 2).

Ongoing Projects


    In this research, we partnered with the Science Museum of Western Virginia (SMWV) to design for hands-on interactivity in their pollinator garden exhibit. This research was conducted as part of the Technology on the Trail initiative.

      Progress Updates:
    • April 2019: Paper on the use of the Gardenator application by child-groups at a pollinator garden exhibit. (Under Review)
    • March 2019: Presented our Poster "Designing for Playful Interactions" at the CRA-URMD Grad Cohort held in Kona, Hawaii.
      This presentation focused on how teenagers use mobile phones at the museum. After redesigning the Gardenator application and restyling it as the GardenHunt application, we tested the application with teenagers at the SMWV museum's pollinator exhibit and discuss our findings. Of surprising note, is how often the teens engaged in taking self portraits (selfies) using the phones we provided for the study, raising concerns about privacy.
    • December 2018: Presented our Paper on "(Missing) Museum technology" at the AFRICHI conference in Windhoek, Namibia.
      When conducting initial studies about museum technologies, we were interested in how diffent museums leveraged different technologies. There is pretty good in-depth research at the cross-section of museums, visitors and technologies, but found the focus of it to be predominantly in museums and cultural sites in Europe and North America. We could not find a single paper in the Computer Science corpus that considered it from the African perspective. This paper is our attempt at highlighting both opportunities and challenges of considering technology use in museums.
    • April 2018: The initial project was titled "The Gardenator: Fostering Learning by Improving Attitudes Towards Science".
      With the SMWV as a stakeholder, we partnered with 3 undergraduate students to study and design for the museum. The result was an Android application that was awarded first place in both the Marston Award for most enterpreneurial project and the Capstone award for best capstone (for undergraduate co-researchers: Ann Hoang, Havisha Panda and Jennifer Shenk) at the VTURCS Spring 2018 Symposium.

    We consider who trail users are, what technologies they use (how and why) and most importantly, what the dynamic between different groups are on the use of technology are. For example, Hunters agree on the notion of fair chase, but disagree on how this works in practice depending on weapon preference. We find that there are opportunities for research and design in the tension (or conflict) between groups.

      Progress Updates:
    • April 2019: Special Issue Chapter on Technology on the Trail (Ongoing)
    • March 2019: Paper on the use of cooperative forums by thru-hikers in the planning, execution and reflection post-hike (Under Review)
    • November 2018: We presented our Paper on on groups and community tensions on the trail at the Rural Computing Workshop at CSCW 2018 (arXiv)
      Using group vs community theory, we consider select groups of trail users and use the theory as a framework to understand within and between interactions.
    • April 2018: We presented our Paper on Opportunities for Research on the Trail at th CHI Outdoors Workshop at CHI. [arXiv]
      Having different users with differing goals on the trail leads to tensions and/or conflict. These paper categorizes major tensions that can emerge and extrapolate how to design taking these tensions into considerations.
    • January 2018: We presented our Paper on Who is on the trail at the Technology on the Trail Workshop at ACM GROUP
      The position paper was our initial foray of understanding trail users. We crowdsourced these users and then categorized them using affinity diagrams based on their goals.

    We scrape application update logs from four major application stores: Google PlayStore, Apple AppStore, Windows Store and Blackberry World, and also scrape timeline information for these apps from the WayBack Machine. From this data, we attempt to observe patterns in how applications are updated, what makes an application successful, predict the future of the different stores, and create useful models that would make it easy for developer to implement strategies.

    • Initial paper in draft stages
    • Weekly data collection of application update data is ongoing

    How useful are privacy policy documents that accompany mobile applications? How do we measure this usefulness? We approach this question by examining privacy policy documents provided by 107,000 applications from the Google PlayStore.

    • Revisions based on inital feedback is ongoing.



  • Designing for Playful Interactions at a Hands-off Evolving Exhibit
    Lindah Kotut and D. Scott McCrickard |CRA-URMD 2019 |Poster


  • Technology at the Museum: The Missing Voice
    Lindah Kotut, Ann Hoang, Jennifer Shenk, Havisha Panda and D. Scott McCrickard |AFRICHI 2018 |Paper

  • Tensions on Trails: Understanding Differences between Group and Community Needs in Outdoor Settings
    Lindah Kotut, Michael Horning, Derek Haqq, Shuo Niu, Timothy Stelter and D. Scott McCrickard |CSCW 2018 |Workshop Paper

  • Privacy Preserving Smart Meter Data
    Swapna Thorve, Lindah Kotut, Mary Semaan |UrbComp 2018 | Paper | DAC Article
  • Opportunity in Conflict: Understanding Tension Among Key Groups on the Trail
    Lindah Kotut, Michael Horning, Steve Harrison, Scott McCrickard |CHI 2018 |Workshop Paper

  • Who's On the Trail: Identifying Trail Uses with Affinity Diagrams
    Lindah Kotut, Michael Horning, Scott McCrickard |ACM GROUP 2018 |Workshop Paper


  • Survey of Cyber Security Challenges and Solutions in Smart Grids
    Lindah Kotut, Luay A. Wahsheh |Cybersecurity Symposium (CYBERSEC) 2016|Paper


  • Trust But Verify: Towards Assessing Permission Risk And Effective Presentation Of Evaluations To The End User
    Thesis Commitee: Dr. Luay A. Wahsheh (Advisor), Dr. Jonathan Graham and Dr. Felicia Doswell | Master's Thesis


  • Finding abnormal data in vehicular cyber physical systems
    Wenjia Li, Lindah Kotut |ICCPS 2013|Paper
  • Trustworthy data management for wireless networks in Cyber-Physical Systems
    Wenjia Li, Lindah Kotut |IPCCC 2013|Paper


Instructor of Record

  • CS 1114: Introduction to Software Design (Summer 2019, Spring 2019, Summer 2018, Fall 2017, Summer 2017)
  • Topics: Variables & Primitives; Fields & Parameters; Inheritance & Polymorphism; Conditional Actions; Software Testing; Variable Scoping; Aggregation, Composion & Delegation; Variable Scoping; Lists; Arrays; Maps; Statics & Exceptions.

  • CS 1054: Introduction to Programming with Java (Summer I 2019, Summer I 2018, Summer I 2017)

Teaching Assistant

  • CS 2114: Software Design & Data Structures (Spring 2018)
  • CS 1114: Introduction to Software Design (Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018)


External Reviewer

  • 2019: ACM Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP 2020)
  • 2018: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019)

Virginia Tech Early Engineering Mentoring (VTEEM) Graduate Mentor 2018/2019

  • VTEEM is a program that assists incoming first year students with their graduate college transition by providing positive academic, professional, and social environments outside of the classroom. As a VTEEM mentor, I was nominated, selected and trained to offer academic advice and guidance to incoming students while providing my own student perspective on the College of Engineering experience.

Tech Girls Mentor/Graduate Assistant: 2017, 2018

  • TechGirls is an international summer exchange program designed to empower and inspire young girls from the Middle East and North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen) to pursue careers in science and technology. Through a collaboration of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and Legacy International, we host TechGirls for a week of coding and mentoring at Virginia Tech encompassing logic, basic application design and in-depth Java programming sessions.

Cyber Security Summer Internship Program: Graduate Mentor 2016

  • The Cyber Security Summer Internship Program was sponsored by the Department of Defense's (DoD) Center for Excellence in Cyber Security and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Consortium for K-20 Cyber Security Workforce Pipeline, who funded a selection of underrepresented minorities from undergraduate programs at different universities in the U.S. for a summer-long intensive training on Cyber Security (attack, defense and analysis) at Norfolk State University.


Ph.D.: Virginia Polytechnic and State University

 M.S.: Norfolk State University

 B.S.: Georgia Southern University

 A.S.: Darton College