Headshot of Margie Ruffin

Margie Ruffin
Ph.D. Student
Computer Science


Email: mruffin2@illinios.edu

Margie Ruffin is an alumna of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. She was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas by a loving family. Over the course of her four years at Spelman she developed a passion for educational technology and seeing others around her protected and succeeding. That is why following her time at Spelman, she will be transitioning into a full time Ph.D. program in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her focus will be Security and Privacy.

Success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due every day.

Rory Vaden
Margie Ruffin Margie Ruffin

About Me

I am a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) . I am co-advised by Professors Gang Wang & Kirill Levchenko.

My primary research interests are Network Security and Data Privacy, and its intersection areas with Human Computer Interaction.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 06/2020
Ph.D. in Computer Science

Spelman College, 08/2016 - 05/2020
B.S. Computer Science


Margie Ruffin, Jaye Nias, Kayla Taylor, Gabrielle Singleton, and Amber Sylvain. 2020. Character Development to Facilitate Retention in a Storytelling Robot. In 2020 ACM Southeast Conference (ACMSE 2020), April 2–4, 2020, Tampa, FL, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3374135.3385315

Jaye Nias and Margie Ruffin. 2020. CultureBot: A Culturally Relevant Humanoid Robotic Dialogue Agent. In 2020 ACM Southeast Conference (ACMSE 2020), April 2–4, 2020, Tampa, FL, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3374135.3385306

Honors and Awards

  • Alfred P. Sloan Scholar | 2020 – 2025
  • Grainger College of Engineering SURGE Fellowship | 2020 – 2025
  • UIUC Graduate College Fellowship | 2020 – 2025
  • College Dean’s List |2017 – 2020
  • Spelman College Research Day, 1st place |2019
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society Inductee | 2019

Research Experience

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Advisors Gang Wang & Kirill Levchenko -- Champaign, IL – Research Assistant

  • Created a tool and framework to automatically determine if an image manipulation was for benign or malicious intent.
  • Conducted a user study to understand user perceptions towards manipulated media.

Georgia Tech Research Institute | Advisors Michael Brown and Brian Schultz -- Atlanta, GA – Student Researcher
OCTOBER 2019 – MAY 2020

  • Worked with GTRI Researchers on assigned projects; including one that creates a tool to exploit, study, assess known vulnerabilities in HTTP/2.

Spelman College | Advisor Dr. Raquel Hill -- Atlanta, GA - Student Researcher
SEPTEMBER 2019 – MAY 2020

  • Worked under a Spelman College professor to conduct research that tracks the type and amount of personal information that is being leaked from mobile applications to third-party websites.

Spelman College | Advisor Dr. Jaye Nias -- Atlanta, GA - SpelBots Team Research Leader
JANUARY 2019 – MAY 2020

  • Lead a research team in building an interactive storytelling program that measures 2nd grade comprehension and retention of a story delivered by a NAO robot.
  • Contributed by assisting the team in the program building, curating the background research, and compiling all of the elements of the project into a cohesive research day poster and presentation.

Spelman College | Advisor Dr. Jaye Nias -- Atlanta, GA - Clair Booth Luce Research Fellow
SEPTEMBER 2018 – MAY 2020

  • Worked to develop a robotics program that measured the effectiveness of Robotic code switching, the language switching between Standard English and African American Vernacular English.
  • Created five different conversation paths that related anywhere from the topic of computer science to life at Spelman College as a student.