Archive for September 2020

Tuesday Tea with Dr. Anton Riedl

September 22nd’s Tuesday Tea featured Dr. Anton Riedl, the Physics, Computer Science and Engineering department chair. Dr. Riedl is from Bavaria, Germany. He grew up not far from Munich. It was there he attended Munich University of Technology to pursue a five-year degree (Diplom Ingenieur). During that time, Dr. Riedl spent a year at Purdue University in Indiana where he got his masters in electrical engineering. He returned to Munich to first complete the Dipl.-Ing. degree and then his doctorate, both in electrical and computer engineering.

Throughout his life, Dr. Riedl had an interest in engineering which drew him to pursue further study in the topic. While studying at the university, he was inspired by his professors and also by graduate students who worked as teaching assistants. He thought, “I would like to do that, too.” Another contributing factor to becoming a professor and staying in academia was his wish to be in a position to help students and provide guidance in things like college, scholarships, and job applications.

Dr. Riedl was also particularly drawn to the environment of teaching and working at a university. He enjoys working alongside people and in a diverse environment. This and a passion for learning new things in new fields and being able to apply this knowledge have made teaching at Christopher Newport University a good fit for him.

Being from Germany, Dr. Riedl spoke fondly of his cultural background. Bavaria has a lot of opportunities to engage with people outdoors. There are mountains and hills to go hiking and little places to stop and eat along the way. Germany and the surrounding areas also have some cool old castles. And, of course, there is the Oktoberfest in Munich, about which Dr. Riedl said, “You have to experience it for yourself.”

For students, Dr. Riedl offered the advice, “work hard and you can do really well.” He advised fully committing and applying yourself to your work. In addition, “build your relationships and networks.” Sometimes knowing the right people opens incredible opportunities. Also, having spent a few weeks as an exchange student in the U.S. during his high school years and later on a year for his masters, he highly recommends studying abroad for anyone who gets this opportunity. It’s a great way to engage in diverse cultures and get a better understanding of international communities around the world.

Thanks to Dr. Riedl for sharing his life experiences.

Pizza My Mind Presented by NASA DEVELOP

Pizza My Mind was presented by NASA DEVELOP on September 17th. Presenter Adriana Le Compte is a NASA DEVELOP Fellow at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. DEVELOP is part of the Earth Science Division at NASA. This program enables participants to collaborate with NASA researchers, partner organizations, and state and local governments on a research project. Participants use data from NASA Earth observations in research projects to address local issues. There are 11 locations across the country, each with different focuses and different projects available. 

NASA DEVELOP core values include collaboration, service, passion, and discovery. Participants will work a 10 week term in which they research and study data to give meaningful feedback about the issue addressed in their project. Project examples from past years include a Massachusetts water resources study on the effect of beaver reintroduction to certain areas and flooding and a project in Philadelphia on health and air quality. 

To be eligible, you can be a current student or a recent graduate with a minimum gpa of 3.0 and interest in remote sensing, science, and a desire to learn. All majors welcome! There are three terms throughout the year in spring, summer, and fall. The deadline to apply for the spring term is October 9th!


Benefits of participating in NASA DEVELOP include growth in technical skills, experience in a professional workplace, team collaboration experience, and networking opportunities. Applicants can set themselves apart by showing passion and interest in the project they are applying to work on. 

Thank you to NASA DEVELOP and to Adriana Le Compte for presenting!

Tuesday Tea with Dr. Mohammad Almalag

The Physics, Computer Science and Engineering department at Christopher Newport University hosts an event called “Tuesday Tea” every Tuesday for students and faculty to meet, drink tea, and chat. This semester, the events are held virtually and feature a different international professor from the department each week. Students and faculty who tune in get to learn about their culture, which is a great way to foster diversity in an organic way. This past Tuesday, September 15, Dr. Mohammad Almalag shared about his life.

Dr. Almalag was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There, he grew up and attended King Saud University for his undergraduate degree in computer science. This was not always his intended major, however. When he first started university, he was studying pharmacy. Taking an anatomy class, Dr. Almalag quickly realized this was not what he wanted to do, so he followed his passion for computer science. 

After graduating, Dr. Almalag received a scholarship to come to the United States to get his masters at Ball State University and Ph.D at Old Dominion Univeristy, both in computer science. He chose teaching over several other job offers, because it is his passion, and “life is too short” so you should “do what you love.” Dr. Almalag’s current research projects include researching traffic patterns before, during, and after the pandemic and refining an algorithm for cloud computing. 

Dr. Almalag is very proud of his home country and culture. There are a lot of historical landmarks in Saudi Arabia including castles in mountains and scuba diving in the Red Sea that he listed as must see attractions. Having great respect for elders is very important, family is everything, and you can always know you have a great support system surrounding you. Dr. Almalag spoke longingly of the good middle eastern food he misses. 

Besides teaching and research, Dr. Almalag loves to grill and fix or build new things. He gave some great advice for students pursuing computer science: Make sure you like what you are doing and are putting in the work necessary. “Focus on your strengths.”

Thanks to Dr. Almalag for sharing his life experiences. 

Internship Spotlight – Automatic Data Processing (ADP)

Over the past summer, several students from Christopher Newport University worked at Automatic Data Processing (ADP) as interns. Seniors Jacob Boyles, Tyler Baldwin, William Dzubak, Chandler Eskey, Kailee Lesko, Liam Rowell, Erin Rutan, and Max Wayne spent six weeks of their summer working virtually from home as interns at ADP. The internship was originally scheduled to be 10 weeks in person, but was pushed back four weeks and switched to online due to Covid-19. ADP specializes in providing cloud based human resource management solutions. The interns each summer work on various projects under this umbrella.

Max Wayne, a computer engineering major, worked on an application development team alongside William Dzubak and two other interns. Their project was to create a script to auto-tag fields on Microsoft Sharepoint items with relevant user’s information. Tyler Baldwin, Kailee Lesko, and Erin Rutan worked together on the Intelligent Content Solutions team on a project to develop a webpage and independent components to improve and make the user experience friction-less. 

There were many challenges to overcome in this new virtual environment. Max reported that the most challenging thing for him was learning new Microsoft technologies necessary to accomplish his given tasks. This was all worth it for the enjoyment of working alongside teammates and seeing the weekly progress throughout the internship. Tyler, Kailee, and Erin had similar challenges, having little to no experience with the various technologies they worked with during the six weeks. The satisfaction of finally seeing things working was one of the highlights of the experience.

Max strongly recommends ADP. He shared that the “management and all the associates we got to work with were extremely friendly and helpful. Asking questions was never frowned upon. ADP is a very diverse and inclusive company that is very active in fighting against discrimination.” He got the internship through on-campus recruiting and connections to a CNU alum who recommended his application. It is like CNU’s Center for Career Planning likes to say: “You get jobs by talking to people!”

Pizza My Mind Presented by Raytheon Technologies

Raytheon Technologies presented Pizza My Mind on Thursday September 10th. Presenters Dr. Harry Johnson and Krystal Finch shared some information about their cool company and what opportunities they have available. Raytheon is an aerospace defense company that deals with a broad spectrum of technologies and subjects such as space, quantum computing, and all kinds of engineering. 

The company values trust, respect, accountability, collaboration, and innovation. Dr. Johnson was proud to talk about just how much Raytheon cares for its employees. Beyond caring for its own employees, Raytheon supports the broader community with volunteering opportunities for employees and support for non-profit organizations working to feed the hungry and bolster education. 

Raytheon responded to the changing work environment due to Covid-19 adeptly. The company switched to work from home and provided work chairs to employees to foster a comfortable experience for employees. They also have measures in place to keep employees that must return to working in person safe. 

Good news! Raytheon offers opportunities for recent graduates as well as internships and co-ops for current students. With locations all over the United States, there are opportunities to travel for those who are interested. Another benefit is potential student loan repayment. Raytheon is looking for all different majors, and internships often lead to offers for full time positions. The best ways to set yourself apart from other applicants are to network, know about the company and position you’re applying for and why you want to work for them, and have a high quality resume with a GPA of at least 3.0. 

Here is where to apply: https://www.rtx.com/careers/overview

Thank you to Raytheon Technologies for presenting at Pizza My Mind!

Pizza My Mind Welcome to the Department

On Thursday September 3rd, we welcomed everyone back to Christopher Newport University with an introduction to the clubs and organizations in the Physics, Computer Science and Engineering Department. Each club president gave a little introduction to what they do and how to join. The PCSE department has many different clubs to offer from official organizations like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to clubs like the Linux User Group (LUG), the Cybersecurity Club, the Unmanned Aerial Systems Team (UAS) and many more!

The PCSE department also has the pleasure of welcoming new faculty members this semester. 

Dr. Samuel Henry, Dr. Mike Lapke, and Dr. Nazli Siasi have joined our wonderful faculty.

Several students paired up with professors this summer to do research as a part of CNU’s summer scholars program. Samith Chowdhury, Jack Lynam, Audrey Lawton, and Kyle Werntz shared about projects they got to research.

For the rest of the year, Pizza My Mind will be presented by guest speakers from various companies, so make sure you tune in every week to learn about different companies and job opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who presented!