Archive for Alex Cole

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Welcome back to CNU Captains! This weeks Pizza My Mind served as an introductory session for those who are new to the department or just want to know more about what it can offer.

The crowd waiting for the event to start


For those freshman who are unaware: Pizza My Mind is a weekly event held in the first floor lecture hall in Luter. Each Thursday a spokesman from a company will speak about their company and possible opportunities they offer as well as offering free pizza. Extra credit is also available to those who attend the majority of the events.

Several PCSE club leaders introduced their clubs briefly in order to gauge interest. If you are interested in learning more about any PCSE club then please go here and select the clubs you are interested in. From there the clubs will contact you themselves through email.

President Jordan Hines and VP Miya Washington of the Society of Women Engineers.

Look out for emails by Clare Maliniak and Dr. Lambert about potential help for events, tutoring positions, and other jobs as they become available. Your professors will also hold information on research opportunities for students. If interested please talk to your professors about what they are working on.

The CNU PCSE blog will be updated weekly with info on Pizza My Mind as well as other interesting information. Please check back or follow the CNU PCSE department Facebook page and twitter account @cnuPCSE for information on upcoming events and other news.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Jonah Lazar speaking on behalf of TMA. President Matt Jones and Kate Shirley listen on the left.

Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind was hosted by Technology Management Associates Inc., (TMA). TMA is a DOD contractor and part of the intelligence community focusing almost exclusively on government contracts. Company President Matt Jones and Kate Shirley led the presentation with help from current TMA intern Jonah Lazar. “Interning at TMA was an extremely rewarding experience. I learned a lot about professional software development practices, and felt like my work and input was valued and productive. I look forward to going back to TMA this summer”, said Jonah. Jonah is currently a junior double majoring in computer science and computer engineering.

Mr. Jones considers TMA a “mission first” company which focuses on developing solutions and then moving on to new problems after properly implementing them. TMA does not specialize in long term support of its projects which allows its employees to experience a varied work environment. One of the companies’ notable projects is Note Shark, a project focused on utilizing automated money counters to read OCR serial numbers on money used in police drug buys so that it can tracked.

Working at TMA requires U.S. citizenship and the ability to be eligible for security clearance. Employees receive a large number of benefits however. 17% of their income is offered to an employee’s 401k each year with an additional 1% in company stock. Due to TMA being entirely employee owned, there is also profit sharing at the end of each year. Other benefits and flexible employee time off are also available throughout the year. Finally every employee at present has their own office and the potential for off-site work.

TMA offers summer internships where you will have the opportunity to develop projects on flexible hours that matter to the company. If you would like to know more about the extensive benefits offered then check out their site below.

https://www.tmamission.com/

Research Spotlight: Dr. Monaghan

Dr. Peter Monaghan (center), Ralph Marinaro, and Katie Whitcomb

Dr. Peter Monaghan’s research program is based at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab for short) which is a located on Jefferson Avenue, a short distance from campus. JLab is an electron accelerator facility; electrons are accelerated to higher energies and then “shot” at the nucleus of an atom (the “target”) in one of four experimental halls – A, B, C or D. Research performed at JLab is in the field of fundamental nuclear physics – fundamental or pure science as the researchers are studying how protons and neutrons interact within the nucleus, what the building blocks of protons and neutrons are and how those building blocks interact with one another. Dr. Monaghan’s research is based in halls A and C and each experiment at JLab is a multiyear project; from the initial experimental proposal being approved, detectors being constructed, the experiment running and taking data, the data being analyzed to the final journal publications, can take from 5 to 10 years!

One particular project with which Dr. Monaghan is involved is the SuperBigBite Spectrometer (SBS). This is a large magnetic spectrometer which will be used for a series of experiments in hall A at JLab, hopefully, beginning in late 2018. For the last year, Dr. Monaghan has been working on the construction and commissioning of one of the detector systems for SBS – the Coordinate Detector (CDet). This is a scintillator based detector which will provide supplementary particle trajectory data for the SBS experiments. As a charged particle passes through a scintillator, it interacts with the atoms in the scintillator material; the charged particle loses energy in the scintillator which is re-emitted as light in the scintillator. The coordinate detector consists of a total of 2352 scintillator bars, separated into six “modules” each with 392 scintillators. By measuring the light collected in each scintillator, one can determine if a charged particle went through the detector and using the location of that scintillator bar, one can then add to the trajectory information of the charged particle. Naturally, with that many scintillators in one detector, there are a lot of cables connected up to it!

Currently, there are two PCSE students working with Dr. Monaghan – Ralph Marinaro and Katie Whitcomb. Ralph, a current sophomore, majoring in Applied Physics and minoring in Leadership Studies and Mathematics, has been working on the project since the summer and his input is below. Katie is a current junior, double majoring in Applied Physics and Mathematics, and she has recently started training for work at JLab. She has spoken, albeit briefly about her opportunity.

Ralph Marinaro presenting his work

Ralph:
1. How did you decide to take part in student research? How did you begin working with Dr. Monaghan?
“Taking part in student research is not really a decision you make by itself. When you choose a major in any STEM related field, you have already decided to participate in research because research is crucial for an undergraduate student’s development/education, and on a resume in preparation for a future career.

I began working with Dr. Monaghan at the end of my freshmen year. I had applied to many different programs and asked Dr. Monaghan to write some recommendation letters for these programs in regards to my strong academic performance in my physics and math classes. When none of these programs I applied to came through, I informed Dr. Monaghan of this, and, knowing that I was interested in doing research, Dr. Monaghan offered me a position as a student research on the Coordinate Detector Project(C-Det) at Jefferson Labs.”

2. How would you describe your experience? What is your job on the research team or rather what do you spend your time doing?
“My experience over the past year has been extremely educational. I have learned an incredible amount of practical and factual information about nuclear/particle, detector, and accelerator physics that has set a great foundation and will last me for the rest of my life.

I have worked on almost every part of the C-Det Project. In the Summer of 2016, I began preparing, testing, and analyzing individual scintillating bars that comprise the six modules of C-Det in a cosmic ray test setup to establish a solid base of quality control data. I also worked in parallel to this on the construction of the six modules as the individual bar tests slowly came to an end. So far during my sophomore year, I have moved on to working on a half-module data acquisition system and running tests/analysis on modules one half at a time. So in a few words, I work anywhere I am needed relating to constructing, testing, and analyzing the different components of C-Det.”

3. Do you have any advice or comments for others who may want to take part in student research?
“My advice to anyone wanting to participate in research is that the first step is getting good grades. Before you can do anything, you have to prove yourself academically. The second step is letting employers and professors know you are interested/motivated by networking with them. If you do not tell people what you want, then you will never get it.”

Katie:
1. How did you decide to take part in student research? How did you begin working with Dr. Monaghan?
“I was pursuing a double major at the time and wanted to experience the physics side of research. I approached Dr. Monaghan about research opportunities and he invited me to help with his research at JLab. ”

2. What is your job on the research team or rather what do you spend your time doing?
“I have only recently started training at JLab so currently I am helping polish some of the required components for the experiments and helping with tests and other small tasks with my supervisor when Dr. Monaghan is not present.. I will begin more in depth work with Dr. Monaghan in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to beginning more work on the project now that I am prepared for work at Jlabs. ”

Research Spotlight: Dr. DeJong

Jameson Horn presenting his work on Dr. Dejong’s research project.


Dr. Anna DeJong has recently received a three year NSF grant to pursue her research based on the role of the Earth’s ionosphere and its effect on the Earth’s magnetosphere, the Earth’s electric field, with a specific focus on the Aurora Borealis.

The magnetosphere and ionosphere are impacted by solar wind, a stream of charged particles coming towards the earth from the sun. The experiment looks at the conductance or how much the aurora allows through it and the makeup of the aurora as seen through satellite imagery directed towards the North Pole. The goal of the experiment is to research how or why the ionosphere changes and impacts the magnetosphere’s ability to maintain a steady state despite similar conditions each time. This is similar to dropping an identical mug multiple times from the same height and yet the mug does not break in the same way every time.

Dr. DeJong is currently working with two students, Jameson Horn, who is pursuing his master’s degree in Applied Physics and Computer Science and Samuel Porter, also pursuing his master’s degree in Applied Physics. I have interviewed both students and have asked them to share their thoughts and experiences. My hope is to inspire perspective students looking to explore research opportunities or perhaps persuade them to consider this topic of research for themselves.

Samuel Porter.

1. How did you decide to take part in student research? How did you begin working with Dr. DeJong?

“As a graduate student I decided to take the route of writing a thesis to complete the graduate program and earn a master’s degree. I felt that by doing research and writing a thesis I would be better prepared for future careers and what I will be required to do. I also liked the idea of doing new research and trying to answer questions that either had not yet been answered or were still unresolved and being able to contribute to new ideas.
When I set out to find a topic to research as well as an advisor, I went around and talked to various professors about what kind of research they were doing and what kind of opportunities they might have for me to participate. I decided to work with Dr. DeJong because the topic of her research was related to space which is something I find fascinating and I believed I would enjoy it the most.”

2. How would you describe your experience? What is your job on the research team or rather what do you spend your time doing?

“I started off by reading a lot of papers and books about space weather and Earth’s magnetosphere so that I would be able to better understand things that were related to what I would be researching. Now, I am writing codes to analyze data to look for connections between different things and drawing conclusions about the results and what they mean. I find it enjoyable to try and come up with new ideas and ways to look at data and to be able to see and understand the results of those ideas, especially when they provide good results.”

3. Do you have any advice or comments for others who may want to take part in student research?

“My advice to any students that want to take part in research is to simply talk to your professors and ask them about what type of research they’re doing and if there is any way you can help. The professors are more than happy to have the help and at the same time, help students grow in their knowledge and abilities. If you want to participate, you should also be ready to do a lot of independent studying to learn about what you’re doing and to be pushed to expand your abilities.”

Jameson Horn:

1. “I decided to take part in student research because it interested me and I believe that it is a great way to gain experience in the fields that I see myself working in later in life. I had expressed my desire to conduct student research with some members of the PCSE department, primarily in a way the combines physics with computer science, and was eventually contacted to see if I would like to work with Dr. DeJong on her research. I, of course, eagerly accepted.”

2. “My experience working with Dr. DeJong has been terrific. My role in the research has primarily been to refurbish and augment a program developed by Dr. DeJong that removes dayglow (sunlight) from satellite images of the aurora so that accurate data can be taken from the aurora throughout the year as the amount of dayglow changes.This experience has been great for me and it is just what I was looking for. It perfectly mixes physics with computer science. This internship has actually grown into my senior physics capstone and could become a possible thesis project for my computer science master’s degree.”

3. “My advice for any students looking to take part in student research is to go out and seek opportunities! Ask the professors of the PCSE department if they or a colleague have a project that they could use your help on or search for student research opportunities outside of CNU. Pizza My Mind is an excellent place to do so.”

Be sure to talk to professors in your field if you would like to know more about research opportunities.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Alex Lawrence and Matt Rutherford speak to CNU students


Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind was hosted by the cyber security company FireEye. Technical Recruiter Alex Lawrence and Software Engineer Matt Rutherford discussed the way in which FireEye works to protect their clients from cyber attacks and how they formulate solutions to fight them in the future.

When working with a client FireEye will write a report on any detected problem and then either leave it to the client or tackle the issue themselves. Potential risk areas are discovered using a virtual machine based execution system that can look at several problem areas at once and analyze each individual factor within. Once a problem area is discovered they work to provide “end to end solutions,” to the issue that their competitors cannot provide.

A video featuring FireEye’s CEO Kevin Mandia was shown as he spoke in support of the company’s internships and encouraged CNU students to apply. The company guarantees “impactful,” work for its interns as well as access to community outreach and executive engagements. It was recommended by Rutherford that prospective interns or employees should learn to read API and source code as it would be a major part of their future job.

If you would like any further information please see FireEye’s website linked below.

www.fireeye.com

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Keith Bertolino addressing CNU students

Keith Bertolino addressing CNU students

Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind was hosted by the digital forensics and software development company Cipher Tech Solutions, Inc. Cipher Tech’s CEO and co-founder Keith Bertolino was the sole speaker for the presentation. The presentation consisted of example scenarios, with most real stories being classified government work, intended to represent how Cipher Tech would conduct its business.

The first story was that of a crime scene. In this scenario the goal was to extract video from a damaged SD card for use in the investigation. Bertolino emphasized how difficult it is to do so, very different than what is shown in tv shows like NCIS. If any data is found it is extracted and standard video software is used to test it. In most cases if the video doesn’t work then it is simply too damaged or jumbled to be of any use. But in some cases the code can be patched in some areas with the help of knowledge of the base working of the media format to recreate the missing sections of code.

The second story was a battlefield. Data from cellphones and apps can be invaluable in a battlefield situation. Recovered phones are connected to communication devices where they can attempt to extract data from various applications such as Facebook. This is also a very difficult process as apps are constantly updating with no clear indication as to what has changed on the non consumer side. APKs can often be downloaded from the internet in the right places and a large amount of testing data make some data discovery possible.

Bertolino ended with a brief discussion about the ease that social media sites can be manipulated and how to discover malware on possibly infected laptops.

Cipher Tech is currently hiring for full time positions in the MD and NoVA areas. Those hired have the ability to acquire high-level security clearances and do mission critical work. Potential positions include Web Developers, App Developers, and Forensic Examiners. Must have a clean criminal history and attend a technical interview.

For more information see the company’s site.

www.ciphertechsolutions.com

Spotlight: Fabian Bouchal

Fabian Bouchal is an exchange student from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus who is currently studying abroad at CNU. He is a Computer Science major who is currently in the second to last semester of his Master’s program.

bouchalf
1. What made you want to pursue studying abroad at CNU?
“When I made the decision to study in a foreign country for one semester I rather quickly made up my mind that I wanted to go to the United States. I had never left Europe for a long period of time, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. I then looked into the universities in the US that had formed a partnership with my university in Austria, one of which was CNU. One of the major reasons why I choose to apply to CNU was the fact that it is a rather small university, compared to other ones in the US. Since my university in Austria is even smaller than CNU, I thought I would be able to settle in and adapt to a smaller university much faster and easier, and as it turned out, I was right.”

2. Did you have any difficulties during the application process?
“The fact that CNU is a partner university of my university in Austria made the whole application process significantly easier. Nevertheless, since everything was new here for me, there were some difficulties I had to face. The main problem was that I had to hand in so many different forms and certificates, like financial records, proof of insurance, etc. that it took me a long time to gather all the documents that I needed. Thankfully, Ms. Lyn Sawyer from the Graduate Admission and Records office, helped me out with all my problems and made my life a lot easier.”

3. Was the transition difficult? How do you feel about your studies here in comparison to Austria?
“Although I did not have any real struggles adapting to studying at CNU, there are a lot of differences to what I am used to from studying in Austria. The main difference is how the classes are scheduled. Here at CNU each class is scheduled two or three times a week for a period of 60 or 75 minutes. In Austria we usually have one block per class lasting three to four hours. Each day we have just one of these blocks and for every class we have about ten of these blocks in ten consecutive weeks.
Once we have had all blocks for one class we take a final exam which makes up around 60%-100% of the course grade, so that is another difference in that we do not have Midterms and Finals and potential other quizzes as part of our final grade.
I have not decided which “system” I like better yet. In my opinion the both have their advantages and disadvantages.”

4. Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying abroad themselves?
“The most important piece of advice is “do it”. I know it may seem scary at first moving to an unknown location for one or two semesters, and it might sometimes cause you headaches making all the arrangements but it is worth all that trouble once you are there. In my opinion spending some time abroad really broadens your horizon and lets you make experiences that are truly priceless.
Other than that, I think it is really important to start early with gathering information and start the application process for a semester abroad as early as possible. The sooner you start, the less stressful it will be towards the end.”

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Ellucian employee Jillian Terrill and intern Alec Keller speak to a student

Ellucian employee Jillian Terrill and intern Alec Keller speak to a student

Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind was presented by the worldwide software company Ellucian. Ellucian is the leader in education technologies and services with institutions in 40 countries and helping over eighteen million students. You may recognize them from their work on our very own CNU Live page! The company also deals in mobile apps, with a heavy emphasis on supporting students and educational systems, and cloud based infrastructure. Operational efficiency and student success are part of the core goals of Ellucian. Ellucian employee Jillian Terrill,
Assoc. Recruitment Coordinator for University Program, gave a brief intro before allowing others to speak.

Former Ellucian intern Alec Keller, a senior Computer Science major here at CNU, gave the bulk of the presentation along with fellow intern Logan Cook. Keller went into detail about the various projects that were worked on by various groups during the internship project. The projects included work with cloud based infrastructure, a virtual reality app, script writing, and other back end development work. Cook, a CNU psychology major and HR intern at Ellucian, added that interns are paid and exist in numerous fields including Computer Science, HR, RND, and Sales.

You must be enrolled in college in order to work as an Ellucian intern. If you have recently graduated from college then you will be considered part of the full time college hire program and be assigned a mentor. The company provides travel opportunities and training as well as an effort to balance the job while allowing plenty of time for a healthy home life. If any of the above interests you then positions are posted starting in January. Be sure to check them out and apply!

For more information check out the official site below.
http://www.ellucian.com/

Spotlight: Adam Fendley

Adam Fendley, a junior Computer Science major and PLP ambassador here at CNU, will be spending the spring semester abroad, studying at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus. He is also the lucky recipient of the Ernst Mach Grant, which will help defray the cost of studying abroad.

Adam and his father in Rosenheim, Germany.

Adam and his father in Rosenheim, Germany.

How did you find out about the study abroad opportunity?

“I found out about the study abroad opportunity through the PCSE department last year, when there was an email sent out about the potential to study in either Rosenheim, Germany or in Hagenberg, Austria. I responded to the email and set up a time to meet with Dr. Riedl who has organized both of these exchange programs, and we thought that the opportunity in Hagenberg would be a good fit for my Computer Science studies.”

What was the application process like?

“The application process was very easy because the relationship between the two universities had already been established by Dr. Riedl, and he helped tremendously in guiding me through the process. Some of the more difficult aspects of the application were deciding what classes I could take and how they would apply to my progress at CNU.”

What made you decide to study abroad?

“I had known for a long time that I wanted to study abroad in college, and I have been particularly interested in the Germanic countries because my dad spent several years in Germany after graduating from college. Hearing what his experience was like I knew I wanted to do something similar, and having the opportunity to learn German here and then go spend a semester in Austria is amazing to me. I’m planning on using the full 6 months allotted on my visa to travel Europe, and I hope to have a lot of new experiences. While there’s a lot of things I’m missing here while I’m gone, I’m really excited to do something new.”

Can you tell me about the scholarship you’ve been awarded?

“The scholarship I was recently awarded is the Ernst Mach Grant, http://www.scholarshipportal.com/students/browse/scholarship/479/ernst-mach-grant-for-students-from-non-european-countries.html. I applied for the grant in March of last year, and got a lot of help from the university in Austria in the application process. Dr. Riedl and Dr. Flores were kind enough to write letters of recommendation for me, which was a huge help. In June I was notified that I had been awarded the grant, which will be a 940 Euro / month supplement to my studies there.”

Do you have any advice for others going through these application processes?

“I think the biggest thing is just to decide that you’re going to study abroad. I made that decision Freshman year and went looking for opportunities, and eventually came upon this one. CNU makes the actual paperwork pretty simple, so you don’t have to worry too much about the process. My next challenge will be transportation logistics, but as it gets closer it just gets way more real and exciting!”

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Mark Liljeqvist, a Systems Engineering Director at Swisslog, speaks to a student.

Mark Liljeqvist, a Systems Engineering Director at Swisslog, speaks to a student.


Hello Captains! Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind Event was hosted by Swisslog, a global company focusing on automation solutions for hospitals, warehouses, and distribution centers. Swisslog employee, Bill Leber gave a brief opening statement on the company’s solution providing philosophy before passing the mic onto speakers on behalf of each of Swisslog’s core departments.

The first speaker, Mark Liljeqvist, is a part of Swisslog’s System Engineering and Consulting branch. Employees in his field will specialize in making strategic decisions related to supply chain aspects and picking to correct technologies to get the job done efficiently. The primary technologies used by Swisslog include their in house software Warehouse Manager and other technologies such as QuickMove, ProMove, and related hardware.

Jonathan Harmon then took the stage to discuss his branch of the company, Controls. Controls allows for a large amount of experience with low level hardware and high level software through in office testing of layouts for new projects. Most of the testing is done through emulation of the site in question. The controls branch also offers significant travel opportunities in multiple countries for those interested.

Third on the list was Kahmeil Brown with the Global Help Desk. Work at the Help Desk is heavily based around monitoring customer sites and assisting in root analysis of potential down times. 99.7% of all issues are resolved remotely to offer the freedom to work in multiple locations. The help desk is also a major starting point for other career paths within the company including project management positions, data administrators, and analysts.

Finally, Bill Stewart, of the Software engineering branch, closed the presentation. Stewart discussed a recent reorganization into the North American Software and Controls Hub which will provide many new opportunities for CNU students! In the software engineering section of the company Warehouse Manager 6 will be the most used software which allows a large amount of customization for specific projects to use as they please. Manipulating WM6 is a major focus of any position in software engineering.

Swisslog is currently looking for interns to work on projects in groups throughout the semester and following summer. They have hired CNU students in the past so make sure to look into them especially if you are a junior or senior as they take priority during the hiring process. Swisslog is also hiring full time employees. Check out their site for more info.

http://www.swisslog.com/en