Archive for Alex Cole

Pizza My Mind presented by the U.S. House of Representatives

Randy Vickers, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the United States House of Representatives, hosted January 17th’s Pizza My Mind. Randy Vickers is a former DOD employee who works to prevent breaches on the representatives systems and to protect the entire network from potential security risks. Vickers and his team are responsible for the technical security of all members of the House of Representatives as well as their shared infrastructure.

Unlike most security jobs, Representatives within the security team have a right to privacy on a much higher level than a standard employee. In order to take data outside of the building or work remotely, permission must be acquired specifically from the relevant representative. This is a layer of complexity most security jobs do not require.

The most notable challenge is the maintaining of the right of petition. Anyone has the right to address their representative through email. This creates a large number of emails that must be monitored to prevent malicious code from getting through. For example, when the emails are gathered and sorted, they must be prevent attempts to access data. If malicious code is missed or if a representative opens something hazardous to the network, then the email or file is quarantined and the file is blocked by the firewall. In more extreme cases, the computer will be temporarily taken off of the network.

A map (will be pictured below) that is used to track activity on the relevant computers was shown. While the jagged lines appear to be nonsensical at first glance, the patterns of high activity can easily be seen in different colors. This helps detect where possible dangerous sources may be originating from.

Vickers gives an interesting perspective on the inner workings of his response team and the struggles they must deal with to keep the House of Representatives running. This is the first chance most students have had in understanding how the back end security teams works. If this interests you, then it will be beneficial to ask future employers about their government contracts and whether or not they are able to connect you with work at the House of Representatives. The vast majority of their positions are contracted to other companies so this is the best way to approach this opportunity.

No paid internships exist at the moment but unpaid internships do exist if you live in the D.C. area. You can also visit their office individually if you would like to learn more.

Follow the link below to see the site for House of Representatives.

Pizza My Mind Presented by Langley’s Software Dev Team

Flight Commander of the 10th Intelligence Squadron’s Cyber Flight at Langley Air Force Base, 1st Lt. Jason Rimer, visited students last Thursday to tell them about possibilities in Cyber Intelligence. Although student visits are available, the 1st Lt. recommended the internship as an opportunity to get practical experience in the field. While the internships are not yet approved to be a paid position, his Cyber Flight team is committed to making each intern feel valuable. He promised that interns are considered equals among regular employees and their voice would be considered just as important.

Jason Rimer showcasing his tips for success

In addition to speaking on internship opportunities, 1st Lt. Rimer also provided tips to students that will help them once they enter the professional workforce, no matter the field they choose. These tips include focusing on small iterations of projects that will grow as more feedback is acquired, staying organized, and if a problem is found, seeking a solution that is positively valued by getting feedback from colleagues and considering the financial benefits.

The end of his presentation featured an example of his team’s first work The Black Pearl, an application that was designed to help support staff on missions. The main feature of The Pearl allowed staff to take advantage of an improved interface that enabled them to easily access tools necessary for their mission. In order for 1st Lt. Rimer’s team to improve the interface, they interviewed hundreds of crew members and asked them to provide feedback about their work environment. By receiving feedback from colleagues, the Cyber Flight team was able to figure out which problems needed to be solved. Over time, the primary features changed heavily in favor of what the employees wanted, which allowed staff members to thrive. Given the success of the project, The Pearl serves as a strong example of processes that CNU students could benefit from learning about and reflecting on as they start to join professional workforces.

If you would like to learn more about opportunities with the Cyber Flight team, check out the following link or email them at

Pizza My Mind Presented by Canon

If you think Canon only made cameras, then you are in for a surprise. Canon is a global company with branches across the world, including numerous sites within the Continental United States. The main branch of Canon Virginia primarily focuses on automated ink cartridge and printer toner manufacturing, the medical products group, and administrative and engineering support. Canon Virginia presented Pizza My Mind on November 8, 2018 and employees David White, Ty Nelson, and CNU alumni Paul Risque all took part in this discussion.

The Canon team

Canon emphasized their positive environmental practices and how their operations are meant to protect the environment, despite being a factory. There are few companies that are as environmentally friendly as Canon, making them unique against other global business. Canon Virginia discussed future goals which included their passion in environmental sustainability.

Employees at Canon have a well-defined path to advancement in multiple skills with the ability to rotate positions every 6 months for 18 months as a part of their Engineering Rotation Program. This allows employees to experience a wide variety of work and determine what job best fits their interests and skills.

Internship positions are posted regularly and traditionally take place in the Summer. Interns will be given real projects and gain experience in Canon’s unique culture. Risque expressed genuine excitement about all the interesting projects he was able to work on as an employee of Canon, including the secret projects only meant for Canon Virginia employees.

CNU alum Paul Risque addresses the crowd

If you are interested in what Canon Virginia has to offer, you can find out more information on their company and employment opportunities at the following link:

Pizza My Mind Presented by United States Strategic Command

Have you heard of the United States Strategic Command? If you haven’t, then you are missing out on amazing opportunities. Civilian workers and CNU alumni, Chris McDaniels and Frank Zarzour, lead a presentation on the possibilities of working with the United States Strategic Command. Despite being civilian workers, both McDaniels and Zarzour work directly with military personnel in addition to working with other civilians on a daily basis.

McDaniels and Zarzour

The purpose of this group is to guarantee the security of the United States and its allies. Their responsibilities include strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, intelligence analysis, space operations, and missile defense. A wide variety of positions and leadership opportunities are available to those interested in getting hands-on experience in those fields.

Normally, employment processes are restrictive and highly preferential to veterans and civil service workers. However, it is possible to get into these programs, especially into programs focused in cyber security, through their available internships. Interns are allowed to bypass many of the obstacles in the hiring process. To become an intern, a student is required to have a 2.0 GPA and the ability to work up to 40 hours a week on breaks from school. A strong knowledge of programming and networking services is preferred, though not required.

Mcdaniels addressing a student question

If you can fulfill those requirements, there are internship opportunities available now. You can find out more at the following link:

Pizza My Mind by HyperSizer

James Ainsworth, Director of Engineering Services at HyperSizer, spoke about employment opportunities and expectations at Pizza My Mind on November 29, 2018. HyperSizer is an engineering company that works to provide software solutions, training, and new engineering methods primarily within the aerospace industry.

James Ainsworth

Ainsworth opened the discussion with a description of what the company is looking for in terms of new hires and what the company can offer in return. Software developers skilled in coding languages such as C#, C++, WPF, and Python are preferred, but it is not a requirement to have those skills right away. Since the company is small, junior HyperSizer employees are given a chance to improve on their coding skills and become closer to their colleagues by being mentored by senior employees. The company office is located in the Newport News City Center, only minutes away from CNU. Given that HyperSizer is in such a convenient location for students, they should consider the opportunities that HyperSizer may have for them.

Potential projects available with the company include launch technologies and structure design. These projects allow employees to work with a variety of high-tech materials as well as updated 3D graphical UI’s in order to show off new designs and make it easier to create new ones. In addition, HyperSizer also has work with relational databases and software scripting readily available.

If you are interested in the opportunities HyperSizer may have for you, the following link will help you learn more about what is available to you:

Pizza My Mind Presented by Huntington Ingalls Fleet Support Group

Hard Stuff Done Right. If you are looking for a challenge you will enjoy this week’s presenter. This past Pizza My Mind was presented by HII Fleet Support Group (formally AMSEC) with Stephen Kortz, program manager of the NNS Facilities Engineering department, leading the talk. Fleet Support Group is a full-service supplier to the US Navy and commercial maritime industry providing support in Maintenance and Modernization, Training, Logistics, Engineering, and Technical Services. The primary location is in Newport News but there are other locations including one in Pascagoula, Miss.

The company has billions of dollars in business each year with no signs of slowing down so it will continue to provide opportunities well into the future. Large amounts of technology and applications are used to keep the company up and running. SharePoint and a wide array of network services combined with standard laptops or tablets are commonplace within the company. A focus of the use of this technology is to accurately and efficiently document and describe both the jobs being done and the location at which they will take place. New employees will have the opportunity to learn and experiment with these technologies as they work.

Kortz discussed many opportunities throughout the companies’ various branches so if you wish to learn more check out their site.

Pizza My Mind Presented by Swisslog

Would you like to experience the future of Robotics solutions? Swisslog may be for you. The company specializes in automatic and robotic data driven solutions for many fields including healthcare and automotive industries.

Swisslog has offices all around the world and employees have the opportunity to take part in a hackathon where the chosen teams may travel to new locations in order to compete.

Current CNU student Gabriella Bishop works there as a Controls Systems Engineering intern. currently . She has been able to work with and help create comprehensive plans to be used thoughout the design process. Richard Hawley, Software Developer, discussed the Software and Controls Hub. This section of the company deals with design and production of software used by the company including experience with dozens of software applications as well as the entire SDLC ranging from testing to deployment.

CNU student Gabriella Bishop explains her role with the company

CNU graduate Jacob Oakley spoke next about the integration and testing team. His duties included going to warehouses and working directly with the tech used there. He also wrote manual tests to test software functionality.

Finally Kelly Rangel, Cait Kooistra, and Jennifer Knapp spoke about Swisslog’s Customer Service. The goal of the department is to provide remote help in regards to Swisslog technology and to keep them working smoothly as well as occasional on site support and monitoring.

Overall Swisslog offers a variety of opportunities and is currently hiring for internships and full time positions. Reach out to Joan Negron of Human Resources if you have questions at

or check out their site here

Pizza My Mind Presented by Riverside

Healthcare IT is a niche but a critical field with room for growth for new hires. Riverside Regional Medical Center’s Dennis Loftus, Sr. Vice President and CIO, lead the presentation on Riverside IT. The IT department has won the highest award in healthcare IT 13 years in a row and they are hopeful they’ll accomplish this again this year.

Dennis Loftus speaks to a student

Currently the department is working on implementing new technologies such as the EPIC system. Loftus briefly mentioned a previous security breach that Riverside suffered. The breach has led to the company focusing heavily on education about these scenarios in order to avoid them in the future.

Christine Luttig, Manager, Intranet/Internet Services and PCSE graduate, took the stage to discuss Riverside’s internship program. Internships are unpaid at the present moment but contain valuable experience in healthcare IT. Riverside has no other job openings presently. Christine emphasized the importance of working as a team to enhance each members strengths. Riverside is flexible to allow for new opportunities for its employees and to find the best fit for them.

Christine Luttig addresses the crowd

If you would like to learn more see Riverside’s website below.

Pizza My Mind Presented by Newport News Shipbuilding

Hard Stuff Done Right. Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, prides itself on facing challenges head on.

Rosetta Rolan addresses the crowd

Rosetta Rolan’s presentation focused on the many internship opportunities open to CNU students including an IT Co-op program, Engineering Co-op program, and a Business Management Co-op opportunity. Full time positions are also available for graduates.

Each of these programs requires a different application, a 3.0 or higher GPA, U.S. citizenship, and active works towards a degree.

Participants in these programs will be given the opportunity to work at the shipyard with professionals as well other interns doing real work for the company. Engagement with others is a key part of the internship process as stated by computer science major Scott Durant, student intern for NNS. Durant explained he was placed on a team of five and worked closely with them over the summer.

Scott Durant

Internships are paid and support flexible hours or work from home within reason. In order to apply go to

Learn more about NNS here

Pizza My Mind Presented by CVP

CVP hosted last week’s Pizza My Mind. A winner of many awards, the goal of the company is to coordinate with the public sector and fortune 500 companies to help improve their business performance. Core markets for the company include healthcare, national security, and State or Local governments.

Raelene Wagoner addressing the crowd

CVP achieves these goals with a combination of supporting strong business values and by adhering to a Continuous Change environment to advance technology in important ways. Advances in BigData, Cloud, Cybersecurity, and Agile/DevOps are major focuses of CVP and potential work areas for new employees. New hires may be developers and analysts on any of these technologies.

CNU graduate and current CVP software developer Louis Gomez was present and spoke briefly on his experiences. Right from the beginning he was able to work on interesting projects that contributed to the company. He has worked on a dock greeter for Amazon Alexa and with Amazon Web Services serverless functions and databases for various purposes. Even as an intern he was able to work on relevant projects and future PCSE majors could be the next to be given the opportunity

CVP organizes its efforts into communities of interest that any employee may experience through asking questions or going to meetings and decide what is the best fit for them. The COI’s include BA Testing, Big data, Development, Health Solutions, Media and Communications, Cloud Architecture, Project Management, Information Security, Training and Outreach. Success within the company can be measured and rewarded through CVP’s Performance Development Plan. It allows employees to easily see the training and progress needed to achieve their goals.

Wagoner and Louis Gomez

Finally, paid days of service, casual work attire, and donation matching are other perks employees could make use of. If you are interest in CVP then learn more from the link below or find them on Twitter or facebook as @CVPCORP