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.


What You Missed at Pizza My Mind


Mandy Rogers presenting at the seminar

Hello Captains!  OnThursday, October 6th, the PCSE department hosted Northrop Grumman for Pizza My Mind.  Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide.  We were lucky to be visited by a former Christopher Newport alumna, Mandy Rogers and Vice President of the Intelligence Solutions Business Unit, Ms. Ginger Wierzbanowski.

Northrop Grumman is a very large defense contractor but they are also involved in their local community.  Half of the company is based on technical work and the other half is focused on leadership. One of their biggest outreach missions was the creation of prosthetics for individuals who cannot afford them. They are also involved with gaming, cyber intelligence and biometrics. Northrop Grumman’s Biometric Ecosystem is a comprehensive range of biometric intelligence solutions currently being used for military, law enforcement, counterterrorism and border control.  In addition, they work on collaborative projects partnering with over 60 different companies including Lockheed Martin, MITRE Corporation and BAE Systems just to name a few.


Haley Currence speaking with Mandy Rogers

Mandy Rogers graduated in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science.  She started interning at Northrop Grumman during her junior year.  She became a part of a rotational program within the company and has worked in more than 10 different states.  Teamwork, Mentors, and a little failure got her to where she is today.  Mandy stated, “One has to embrace their failures in order to succeed”.  What she valued most about CNU is her liberal arts education. She believes that is what makes her a better employee and critical thinker.


Jonah Lazar speaking with VP. Ginger Wierzbanowski

Ms. Wierzbanowski is the Vice President of Intelligence Solutions Business Unit. She has extensive expertise in both domestic, international space, defense policy, and military intelligence.  Before working at Northrop Grumman, she served in the Air Force for 20+ years. She highlighted the importance of being a well-rounded individual and noted the importance of having communication skills.  “Make sure you know how to communicate or no one will listen to your ideas if you can not sell them”.

Northrop Grumman is now accepting applications for summer internships and full-time jobs.  If you are interested, students should go to: www.northropgrumman.com/Careers.  Please come out to the next Pizza My Mind so you do not miss great presenters like Northrop Grumman!  Pizza My Mind is hosted every Thursday at 12:20 p.m. this semester.  See you there!


Inaugural Womens Mentorship Program Kick-Off


Two students meet their Mentor for the first time

Hello Captains!  On Monday, September 12th, CNU’s PCSE Department hosted its Inaugural Mentorship Program Kick-Off reception.  The event took place in the Luter Hall Atrium where students and mentors came out to learn more about this new program, and to meet each other face-to-face for the first time.  The initial group consisted of only female students and mentors as the program came from an idea from the newly established SWE, Society of Women Engineers chapter last year.


Dr. Nicole Guajardo speaking at the event

The Dean of the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Nicole Guajardo gave a warm welcome to all and remarked about the importance of students taking advantage of opportunities such as the Mentorship Program to enhance their educational experience.

The Mentors come from a wide variety of known companies such as NASA, Newport News Shipbuilding, Canon, Riverside Hospital just to name a few and most hold positions such CEO and Managers in their respective fields. At the kick-off event we learned that the mentor/mentee relationship can be as formal or as informal as we see fit. A few suggested activities included conversations over coffee, a campus visit at CNU or to the Mentor’s place of business, resume critiques or even good book recommendations.


Sadie Rynestad with her new Mentor from Canon

What are the benefits of having a Mentor?  Mentors share their knowledge and experience and provide students with encouragement, insights and possible career advice.  They can provide a realistic perspective of the workplace and offer advice, knowledge, and networking tools to the student.  Not only does the Mentee benefit from this program but the Mentor can too.  For many, mentoring can offer a great satisfaction by helping a student reach their professional goals and sharing their knowledge with eager students.

The PCSE Department hopes to open this program to all PCSE students next fall.  As stated above, there are many benefits of having a professional Mentor.  You don’t want to miss the sign up next fall for this great experience!


What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Hello Captains! Last Thursday we had MITRE come and speak to us about the opportunities within the company. Internships at MITRE will have you working side by side with other interns and full-time staff. Interns will do direct sponsor work and be full team members. Prime candidates are not only computer science majors. They are looking for problem solvers, someone with a diverse background, someone that is part of extra curricular activities, and has passion for technology.

What is MITRE? MITRE was established in 1958 to serve the public interest. They are a not-for-profit which means the organization uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization’s shareholders. They work in partnership with the government,applying systems engineering and advanced technology to address issues of critical national importance.They focus on innovation, collaboration and results.



SArah Clark, a junior, electrical engineering major, interned with MITRE this past summer. Her internship was very hands-on. SArah said she was given a project and a due date to complete her assignment. Along the way, she had mentors,project leaders and co-workers that she could turn to when she had a question or was not understanding something. She also got a chance to travel to Boston and present her work to professionals. “This job opened my eyes to what a professional environment could look like. I also enjoyed the fact that my work was going to actually be used and be helpful to future programs.”, SArah said. If you have any questions or would just like to talk to SArah about her MITRE internship, please email her directly sarah.clark.14@cnu.edu.

As of right now, MITRE Corporation is accepting resumes. If you are interested in applying or want to find more information about MITRE, contact Justin F. Brunelle at jbrunelle@mitre.org or Carlton Northern at northern@mitre.org.

Spotlight: Victor Wiss

Victor Wiss, who goes by (Gordon), is a sophomore majoring in computer engineering. Gordon did an internship with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia where he worked on advanced radar technologies. He started working with NSWC in May of 2016. Prior to starting his internship, he had to go through background checks, clearance and drug tests, and any foreign relationships he had were contacted as part of his clearance. He plans to continue this internship during the winter and spring breaks. Department of Defense Pathways Internship Program comes with a deal that they pay for half of his tuition and in return he will be working for them for three years after graduation.


How did you find out about this opportunity?

“I took a field trip with the PCSE department last fall to the marine core base in Quantico and it was advertised there. As well there was a job posting on the USA jobs.”


What did you take away from this opportunity?

“I learned that there is much more to industry than what I have been taught in img_7666school. There is always something new to learn and discover. I also learned how to deal with naval administration military structure laboratory.”


What did you work on/work schedule?

“I worked 40 hours a week, Monday-Friday 9-5. My project included working on researching applications for software defined radio technology, which will be included in future naval radar systems. I learned that what I am doing actually have an impact and will be used.”


Can you give any tips for those who are interested in internships?

“I would suggest to get involved on campus and in our department. There are research opportunities as well as competitions within the department. I also advise to grow your technical capabilities. Do not be afraid to apply for internships because you feel like you do not have the skills. They do not expect you to know much, they want someone who is able and willing to learn quickly.”

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind – Lockheed

Harry Johnson greeting the CNU students.

Harry Johnson greeting the CNU students.

Hello Captains! Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind Event was hosted by Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company. Veteran employee Dr. Harry Johnson began the presentation by outlining the goals and values of Lockheed Martin. Most prominently the importance of a diverse work environment.

Lockheed Martin, according to Johnson, focuses on solving complex problems and striving to become the “World’s best system engineers.”  The companies’ work is expansive and covers mechanical, computer, and software engineering. Areas of interest include Aeronautics, Space Systems, Rotary and Missions Systems, and more.

Johnson continued by expressing the importance of interning. “It is most important to intern,” as most positions are filled by former interns who have already been tested and gained experience within the company. In practical terms the company would prefer to invest in interns, including opportunities for valuable security clearances, and build them into stand out employees. CNU student and Lockheed Martin intern, David Cole spoke briefly to express the importance of teamwork and linux usage during his time with the company.

Fellow Lockheed Martin employee Amy Nandy, hiring manager of the Manassas site, finished the presentation with a focus on the benefits of working at the Manassas site of Lockheed and Martin. Nandy emphasized the unique flex schedule used at the site that allows employees to work in such a way that they have each second Friday off. A position with the company also comes with numerous movement opportunities in order to “transition and try new roles,” within the company. Remember that they are active in all 50 states! So opportunities are endless once hired.

If you are interested in working or interning for Lockheed Martin then you should act fast as the fall recruiting process is already beginning. It is important to aim for at least a 3.0 GPA if possible before applying to a position! The Manassas site will be holding interview events starting September 27th! Check out the following link for more information on events and how to apply for a Lockheed Martin position.


What You Missed At Pizza My Mind

Soozie Darling speaking with CNU students after presenting IPPON

Soozie Darling speaking with CNU students after giving her presentation

Greetings Captains! The PCSE Department hosted IPPON for Pizza My Mind on September 1, 2016 and welcomed back their very own alumna, Susannah (Soozie) Darling. Darling graduated from CNU in May 2015 with a degree in Applied Physics and has been with IPPON since December 2015. IPPON Technologies USA is a global company which delivers innovative digital, big data and cloud application services. They employ consultants who provide critical recommendations and guidance at any time during the lifecycle of a customers project.

Soozie began her presentation with a quick background on IPPON and how they first began. “What does IPPON stand for?” was my first initial thought. IPPON isn’t an acronym for anything, it actually means, “one full point.” According to Darling, the company was founded in 2002 in France as a Java consulting company and has grown to become one of the largest software companies. Since it was so successful, a USA branch was opened in 2014. It started with 3 employees and now, as of April 2016, they have grown with 22 Engineers and 4 staff members. This rapidly growing company hopes to have 20 US offices by 2026!

Darling shared the company’s vision, which is “to bring together people with the brains and the brawn to serve the technology needs of customers. IPPON pioneers the concept of HumanIT, where technology is evaluated in terms of what scaled levels of changes it can make in everyone’s everyday life.” She then went on to talk about the company’s values, which are passion, courage, dependability, open-mindedness and personal growth. In conclusion, Darling spoke highly of IPPON’s global diverse culture. This is something she cares deeply about because everyone brings in different perspectives. They believe in a work hard/play hard dynamic where everyone collaborates. She finished with saying that everyone has fun together, there’s always a good feeling coming into work, and it becomes a place that’s hard to leave after the day is over.

Well there you have it Captains, IPPON is an upcoming company to definitely keep an eye out for and recommended by a CNU grad!

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind


Nicole W. Baab, University Relations Coordinator, getting to know the CNU students after the seminar

Hello Captains!  Last Thursday we were lucky to have one of the largest energy providers in the world. Dominion Power presented at Pizza My Mind.  Dominion Power values its company on safety, ethics, excellence, and teamwork. They are located in 47 different locations throughout the country with their headquarters located in Richmond, Virginia.  Forbes has ranked them as one of the best places to work offering the strongest opportunities for employees.

So, what exactly does Dominion Power do?  The company is built on public service, innovation, and community involvement.  In addition to their core energy production, transportation and storage businesses, they invest in communities where we live and work.  They also practice responsible environmental stewardship wherever they are located.

Towards the end of the presentation, the representatives from Dominion shared information about internship opportunities for 77 different majors including Business, Info-Tech, Chem, and Engineering.  There are 8 states that they provide internships in and they pay their interns up to 22 dollars an hour.  75% of interns get hired to work for Dominion.  That is 190 interns per year!

Christine Simon sharing about her internship

Christine Simon , a senior, computer science major, is one of the lucky interns that got offered a job at Dominion.  She commented on all the skills she learned through her internship, “I developed a lot of skills while at Dominion.  I learned time management, how to be a good employee, and I had opportunities to work on a lot of different projects within the plant”.  Christine interned at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station her first year.  She managed the plant computer systems and worked on four different teams.  Her second year she interned at the Surry Power Station and was involved with their cyber security team.  She will continue her career at the Surry Power Station in the spring as an official employee.

If you have a 2.5 GPA or higher, start applying for a summer internship at Dominion. Applications are accepted now up until December.  8 lucky Captains had internships last year, so get out there and apply now!

How to Apply

  1. Go to dom.com/careers
  2. Visit Careers Partial
  3. Connect of Login
  4. Click Search for Jobs or Job Search Agent


Spotlight: Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson, an Applied Physics major who’s also doing the Five-Year Master’s Program in Computer Science spent his summer in Guanajuato, Mexico as a part of the Veranos UG Program. This is a 7 week program where students conduct research and publish a written technical report. There’s a conference at the end of the program where students present their research, Eric’s was titled “Designing a Small Scale Cyclotron Accelerator for Teaching Purposes.”

How did you hear about the program?

“I’ve worked at the Jefferson Lab for almost two years, and I expressed interest in wanting to live in a Spanish speaking country. Turns out that a researcher there is Mexican, and he was able to put me in contact with one of his colleagues from the University of Guanajuato. That colleague was the one who told me about the Veranos UG program. I applied, was accepted, and so I flew down to Leon, Mexico in June!”

Eric with all of his coworkers and mentor (pictured in the middle.)

What was the most interesting part about your time in Mexico?

“I pretty much had no idea what was going on, at all! I never studied Spanish in school, and the only practice I got before going to Mexico was what I was able to do on my phone. I figured I could understand enough to survive, but I found out VERY quickly how wrong I was. When I arrived, my phone no longer worked and I couldn’t understand a single person. I knew nothing about the city of Leon, or Guanajuato, I didn’t know where I was half the time and finding my apartment was close to impossible. My mentor left for two weeks only two days after I arrived, and I was more or less left completely on my own to figure everything out.

Another interesting part of my time in Mexico is that I got the opportunity to visit a friend I met last summer working at the Jefferson lab! I took a 5 hour bus ride to go see him in Mexico City and was able to stay with his family for a few days.”

Eric and friend in Mexico City

What did you take away from the experience?

“I learned a lot about accelerators and how they work during my time abroad. I can say confidently that I now have a very intimate understanding of them! I wrote my technical report and delivered my presentation entirely in Spanish. I found out after the conference that I was the only foreign student who presented in Spanish, everyone else delivered their presentation in English. I was able to learn the language in 7 weeks and even consider myself fluent now! I got so much out of my time in Mexico. I learned the ins and outs of accelerators, learned an entirely new language, created connections and became friends with some amazing people.”

Eric delivering his final presentation

Did you document your time in Mexico?

“Yes, I had so many people ask me about my trip and how I was doing each day that I started keeping a journal of my experiences. I basically wrote an entry each night about all the crazy, new, or exciting things that I came across in Mexico. The final journal ended up being 164 pages single spaced! Another way I documented my time abroad was through pictures. Since I wasn’t really able to shave my beard, I thought it would be a cool idea to make a flip-book of the selfies I took in random places all over Mexico that showed my hair and beard getting continuously longer!”

If anyone has any questions or wants to know more about Eric and his experience in Mexico, feel free to send him an e-mail him at eric.thompson.13@cnu.edu

Spotlight: Caroline McElhenny

IMG_6609Caroline McElhenny, a student at CNU graduated last winter with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and is currently in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. McElhenny is currently taking on three completely different roles at CNU, making her a prime candidate for a new segment on the PCSE Blog, The Spotlight. Each month, we will highlight some of the extraordinary accomplishments of students, alumni and faculty within the PCSE department. I had the opportunity to interview Caroline this past week and had a blast!

What exactly are your roles at CNU?

“I am a graduate student, which means that I am still taking physics classes, although they will be focused on education during the summer. I’m also a physics tutor on campus at the Center for Academic Success and a lab assistant teaching two sections of the Physics 105L class.”

What is the most interesting part of your situation?

“With my job as a tutor, it’s always fun to see the students come into tutoring that are in my 105 labs. They’re always surprised to see me in a completely different setting. In one, they view me as their teacher and in the other I’m a peer tutoring them with their homework. It’s an entirely new dynamic and they always tell me how surprising it is that I want to go into teaching rather than taking the more practical route after I finish up my time here at CNU. It’s also neat to see things from the professor’s side. I get to grade papers, make sure that my scholar account is up-to-date, and I get to actually teach material. Since the 105L class doesn’t strictly follow a lecture based class, some of the time I get to teach the students completely new material they haven’t been exposed to yet. I think that is one of the best things I do here at CNU. It’s very fun and rewarding.”

Why is it that you chose teaching over going into research or industry?

“Coming into my freshman year at CNU, I knew that I wanted to get a Masters in Physics because of my love for the subject. I was accepted into the 5 Year Masters in Applied Physics program and it was then that I decided to go to a conference with my advisor and some of my friends in the physics program. The conference was called CUWIP, which stands for Conference for Undergraduate Women In Physics and that’s where my realized my true calling.

At the conference, there was a panel of people that spoke about the types of jobs they went into after receiving their Bachelors in Physics. There was someone on the panel that did patents for a company, another that did research, a high school teacher and someone who did science demos for kids. It was really interesting because everyone in the audience kept asking questions to the other three people on the panel and were super impressed with what they did, but all I wanted to do was talk to the high school teacher. She kept talking about how she gets to inspire students on a daily basis and give them back that curiosity that gets lost throughout the many years of schooling. She spoke about an idealistic, wonderful world where everyone was excited about science and I realized that this is what I wanted to do.”

What were your biggest influences?

Tutoring at CNU was a huge influence, but I didn’t know that at the time. I’ve always wanted to inspire people and I got a sneak peak of what that was like while tutoring. The best part of it for me is seeing the students really understand the material after struggling through it. I tell them that I was once in their shoes, and I think that helps them feel like they aren’t alone in their difficulties and it IS possible to understand and master the subject if you aren’t perfect at it from the start. Like I mentioned earlier, I never truly considered teaching until that conference. I’ve been guided into the direction of research for as long as I can remember, to the point where I didn’t really think teaching was an option. I slowly came to the realization that I was merely doing what was expected of me, and that it was never truly what I was passionate about. So that’s when I began toying with the idea of teaching and spoke to my advisor. Coincidentally, she taught high school before she went back to school to get her Masters and now she’s a professor at CNU who also does research. I think there’s comfort in that, in case I do want to switch my career to do research. She’s definitely influenced me to take the plunge into the MAT program.”

Why high school?

“Everyone asks me the same question! I know that high school students can be a handful, but they are more mentally developed to understand the math and reasoning behind physics. They’re old enough to grasp all of the concepts on a deeper level, which I feel like is much more rewarding than just memorizing the outcomes. Taking on a problem and explaining it through the language of math, to me, is much more interesting than memorization. Although, math is something that a disappointing number of students dislike and I will strive to change their views on it. I would like to work with the inquisitive minds of teenagers because that is where I feel like I would make the most impact, in teaching both math application and physical laws. I feel like someday teaching at a liberal arts college such as CNU would also be really fun, but only time will tell!”


The Spotlight: Caroline McElhenny, March 2016