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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

Hello Captains! We were very excited to host a new company this past Thursday called ivWatch. IvWatch is a local medial company located in Hampton, Virginia. Their goal is to advance patient safety in infusion therapy and vascular access.

 

Students listening to ivWatch present

 

Peripheral IV’s are a common procedure that comes with common problems. About 90% of hospital patients get an IV but the current IV failure rate is 50%, 23%. These failures are due to infiltration. IvWatch has come up with a product for early detection of IV infiltration. The ivWatch Model 400 is a patient monitoring device that uses a reusable sensor cable with a visible and near-infrared light that looks for changes in the optical properties of the tissue near the PIV insertion site. If infiltration is detected, the ivWatch monitor will provide audible and visible notifications, alerting clinicians of an infiltration event. The benefit of this device is that it offers an affordable solution and immediate improvement in patient safety.

IvWatch is looking for internships and full positions to be filled. They do not require a security clearance. The positions are not specific and experience is not as important but if you are smart and are willing to work they will find a place for you. They want a resume and a cover letter and they do check social media.

If you want more information or just want to visit the website, check them out at ivwatch.com

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.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Team @ CNU

UAS Team members building the competition aircraft

The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Team was founded four years ago in a small dorm room in Warwick River Hall by PCSE majors Austin Suhler and Jake Tarren who were soon after joined by another computer engineering student, Nigel Armstrong. Since then the team has grown significantly. They have moved into a dedicated lab in Luter Hall, have added 20 members, and for three years in a row, they have competed successfully in the international Student UAS competition hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Austin Suhler retrieving the practice drone model after flight

What is the UAS Team about?

The team’s vision probably says it best: “To inspire and educate future leaders in Unmanned Aerial Systems.”

The UAS team is a group of students who are interested in all aspects of unmanned aircrafts – technical as well as non-technical. As a team, they have organized themselves in several subgroups each focusing on important components of the overall project. The Payload Team, for example, deals with the hardware that goes inside the drone, while the Flight Team makes sure that the aircraft is still aerodynamic and operational after equipment is added. This team also flies the aircraft. Other subteams include the Software Team, which writes the code for the drone to fly autonomously, and the Cyber Security Team, which secures any networks and wireless links that are used during competition. The team also includes students who are interested in marketing and fundraising, which both are quite important for the long-term sustainability of the team.

In order to do well at the competitions, the students meet regularly throughout the year to learn about the technologies and work on the various components of their unmanned system. During the spring semester, as soon as the weather allows it, the team spends most Saturdays at a flying field in Suffolk, Virginia to practice flying and to perform systems tests. These ‘field trips’ are not only a great opportunity to learn how to fly drones, but also to hang out with other team members. In fact, most team members will agree that going to the flight field is one of the highlights of being in the club.

The UAS Team in the 2016 competition

Every June the UAS team competes in the AUVSI Student UAS competition, which is held at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

According to the official rule book, the competition “is designed to foster interest in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), stimulate interest in UAS technologies and careers, and to engage students in a challenging UAS mission. The competition requires students to design, integrate, report on, and demonstrate a UAS capable of autonomous flight and navigation, remote sensing via onboard payload sensors, and execution of a specific set of tasks. […] The competition has three major elements: the Technical Design Paper, the Flight Readiness Review Presentation, and the Mission Demonstration. The paper details a team’s UAS design. The presentation details the team’s testing and preparedness for the competition. The demonstration simulates a mission in which the UAS and team is evaluated. The mission consists of autonomous flight, obstacle avoidance, object detection, and air delivery.”

What are the benefits from being on the UAS team?

Apart from having fun and learning tons of relevant knowledge, being a team member can have ‘direct consequences’ when it comes to jobs and internships. Many employers, also outside the UAS field, are thoroughly impressed to see students being engaged in a club like this, learning about tools and technologies in one of the hottest R&D fields around, and solving real-world engineering challenges.

Several students have received internships or job offers because of their involvement with the team. Take for example Davis Catherman, the team captain. Due to his experience with the UAS team, he was offered an internship at NASA where he joined a team of researchers in the UAS sector. Another great example is Sadie Rynestad, who was recruited as an intern by DroniCar, a NASA spin-off in York County, which develops unmanned solar airship systems.

How can you join the team?

The team is always accepting new members. If you are interested in any aspect of UASs, contact Davis Catherman at davis.catherman.14@cnu.edu.  Also, you can always stop by and take a peak in the UAS lab in Luter 242 to see what the team is up to!

 

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Hello Captain’s! Back by popular demand was iDTech for Pizza My Mind. Our presenter, Mark Moreno did a fantastic job outlining opportunities that add a fun and positive experience for students who are looking to enhance and practice their technical skills.

iDTech is the world’s largest summer technology camp for kids ages 6 to 18. The company was started in 1999, in a studio above a garage overlooking Silicon Valley, California. When they first started, they had a total of 280 students enrolled over the entire summer. Today, tens of thousands of kids and teens attend each season. This company went from 4 locations to now being in 29 states and even being in two other countries.

Students asking more questions about iDTech.

 

The goal of iDTech is to get kids exposed to the STEM field and show the importance of higher education. Their mission is “to develop and deliver the highest quality, most inspiring, and inventive technology experiences to the next generation of visionaries—one student at a time.”

iDTech has been voted #1 in work place environment seven years running by Bay Area News Group and recruits top talent from universities like Caltech, RIT, Stanford and CNU!! If you missed this seminar and would like more information, go to idtech.com.

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

Victoria Meadows, Applied Physics, Class of 2014

Hello Captains!  Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. for Pizza My Mind.  We were excited to welcome back PCSE alumni, Victoria Meadows and Dorion Jackson who joined the group of presenters.  Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. is headquartered in our own back yard, Newport News, Virginia and is the largest plumbing wholesaler in North America.

Dorion Jackson, Information Systems, Class of 2014

Ferguson is a supplier of commercial and residential plumbing supplies.  However, their expertise goes beyond plumbing.  They are a diverse distributor that has multiple businesses including HVAC/R, waterworks and industrial that includes services for aerospace, automotive, energy, health care, technology and transportation industries.

Ferguson grew from a local supply company to now having over 23,000 employees and they take pride in their Training Program which is designed for employees to really learn the Ferguson business from the ground up.

Ferguson is a good corporate company that supports many local programs that adds positively to the community. Check out the Ferguson Cares webpage for more information https://www.ferguson.com/content/ferguson-cares and their Careers page https://www.ferguson.com/content/careers.  Ferguson is looking to expand their workforce and they have opportunities for interns and soon to be graduates!

Spotlight: Niki May

Niki May at the Google Head Quarters in Israel

Over Christmas break Niki had the opportunity to take a trip through birthright with her Rabbi to Israel.  Birthright Israel is a unique, historical partnership between the people of Israel through their government, local Jewish communities (North American Jewish Federations, Keren Hayesod, and The Jewish Agency for Israel), and leading Jewish philanthropists. Birthright Israel provides a gift of peer-group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. (information found here)

Lucky for Niki, her Rabbi had a few connections at google headquarters and provided her with the opportunity to visit Google following her Birthright trip.

What Google projects did you get to see while you were on your trip?

“I went to the research and development headquarters and was able to talk with some employees and see the not- so- top secret stuff that they were doing. For example, I got to see some of the integration of Waze and Google Maps that they had been working on. I went into this room and it was like a 4D google earth. All four walls around you were like a virtual google earth, you could zoom in, turn and navigate the maps.”

 

Did they give you any advice on applying for internships/ jobs?

“Google internships are highly competitive and their main advice was to maintain a high GPA, gain experience through other well-known companies prior to applying”

More information about applying to specific jobs at google can be found by clicking Here!

What other interesting things did you learn about on your visit?

“I learned a lot about cloud computing, incorporating other applications to their products for example Waze and google maps. By integrating the two you will be able to find the fastest route and have a larger amount of analytical data collected to find the best route of travel. ”

What are your plans for this summer?

“I am interning with Booz Allen Hamilton this summer. I am on a  task force of programmers who are given a project by the military and we have the whole summer to create a program to do whatever they need. The task force I am on is work through the military and I applied last summer and found out in the fall. I have a few connections with people in research and development at Google so I am hoping to use the experience I gain there to get an internship or job there in the future.”