Archive for April 2021

Microsoft Mentoring Program

This spring, PCSE majors Alexandra (Lexi) Burroughs, junior, information science, and Kayla Davis, senior, computer science, participated in a virtual mentorship program offered by Microsoft.  The opportunity came via email forwarded by the Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering.

The 6-week program took place remotely on Microsoft Teams and consisted of weekly meetings with a mentor and a group of students from around the United States.  Microsoft employees served as mentors coaching small groups on strategies to navigate challenges both in and out of the classroom.  Through my interview, Lexi and Kayla shared their experiences and the highlights of the program.  Both commented favorably that it has been a positive experience.  They were able to develop their interpersonal skills alongside other students and at times, felt they were pushed out of their comfort zones and encouraged to reflect in order to improve their problem solving and teamwork skills. 

Additionally, both Lexi and Kayla noted that they were able to talk to other mentees about their struggles and realized that they were not alone as technical majors. They were able to build their networks by making friends with students from all over as well as connect with Microsoft professionals.

“This program has been incredibly helpful for building my soft skills that I can apply directly to my classes and internship”, said Lexi Burroughs.  Lexi plans to continue to meet monthly with her Microsoft mentor.  “This program is definitely worth the time and it helped me learn ways to be resilient and cope with adversity”, said Kayla Davis. 

PCSE students, be on the lookout for the next opportunity to apply to this awesome program.  Many thanks to Lexi and Kayla for taking the time to reflect on your experience in the Microsoft Mentoring Program.

Posted by: Erin Rutan, Computer Science, Class of 2021

Pizza My Mind Presented by Dominion Energy

On March 25, the Physics, Computer Science and Engineering department hosted Dominion Energy for Pizza My Mind. Dominion Energy is a company that provides energy and power as well as natural gas to several states within the United States. They are headquartered in Richmond, Virginia and have offices all around Virginia. Dominion has the third largest solar fleet in the United States, and has their goals set to reduce their carbon emissions to zero! Presenters Hillary Hall, Staffing Specialist –  Talent Acquisition, Trey Shuford, Engineer and Christopher Newport University Alum, and Lauren Lemelin, Student Ambassador and current Christopher Newport University student shared more about Dominion’s culture and opportunities. 

Dominion Energy’s core values focus on safety, ethics, excellence, embracing change, and being one cohesive company. With customers in 16 states, they work to bring energy to homes, businesses, and vehicles with electricity or natural gas. Dominion hopes to build a clean future. Diversity has always been a priority at Dominion, not only in the workplace, but with suppliers as well. Community involvement is encouraged, and resources are provided to employees to participate in diverse interest groups and volunteer. 

Interns at Dominion are offered many benefits and opportunities to grow. Not only are they paid for the 10-12 week internships, but interns may qualify for housing stipends to assist with relocation. Interns can work on professional development, shadow other departments or positions, and get involved in volunteer products. Internships are available to all different majors. In order to stand out, applicants should show off all the things they do like sports, extracurriculars, projects, interests, etc. on their resume. Part of the application process involves a series of short answer questions. Hillary Hall recommended putting effort into your answers, because these questions are read. 

Trey Shuford started as an intern at Dominion and transitioned into his full time position after graduating from CNU in May 2020. He encourages students to apply as he has had a great experience with Dominion! 

Employees at Dominion Energy receive full medical, dental, and vision coverage, a 401k, a non-traditional pension, flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement options, and the opportunity to engage in volunteer hours.  If you’re interested in becoming a part of Dominion Energy, check them out here: careers.dominionenergy.com

Thank you to Hillary Hall, Trey Shuford, and Lauren Lemelin for presenting at Pizza My Mind!

Pizza My Mind Presented by Verisign

On March 4, Verisign joined the Physics, Computer Science and Engineering department to present Pizza My Mind. Verisign is a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure. With the mission to “enable the world to connect online with reliability and confidence, anytime, anywhere,” Verisign enables internet navigation for many of the world’s most recognized domain names. Verisign’s main office is in Reston, Virginia, and they have data centers across the country as well as server spaces around the world. Presenter’s Sean Mountcastle (Vice President Engineering, Technology Services Group), Hari Sola (Sr. Engineer — Software Engineering), Dave Carney (Human Resources Specialist), and Kelly Donnelly (Senior Recruiter) shared more about the culture at Verisign as well as opportunities they have available.

Verisign’s core values include passion for the pursuit of continuous improvement, respect for others, integrity, taking responsibility for actions, and holding themselves to a higher standard. With many technologies worked on within the company, there are a variety of diverse rolls available. Verisign engineers strive to develop solutions, ensure reliability of key infrastructure, and drive innovation. These tasks are accomplished in an agile working environment. Interns can hope to accomplish the same goals. 

Interns are expected to be passionate about technology, willing to learn quickly, and have good programming skills. Verisign offers a lot of support for their interns and full time employees. Interns receive mentors and are given tasks that have a real impact on the company. To stand out, applicants can highlight personal projects and hackathon participation, demonstrate interest in the subject, and show curiosity and willingness to learn as well as attention to detail. US Citizenship is a requirement. 

Verisign is engaged in community outreach to promote diversity, and they are looking for diversity in applicants for both internships and full time positions. Once hired at Verisign, there is a focus on promoting from within as well as internal mobility. Benefits to working for Verising include tuition reimbursement, education reimbursement, and support for employees. Verisign reacted quickly to concerns for COVID-19 by switching to work from home, increasing mental health benefits and PTO accrual, giving employees more holidays, encouraging time off, and supporting their employees in a multitude of other ways. 

To learn more about Verisign’s opportunities, please visit verisign.com/en_US/company-information/verisign-careers/index.xhtml

Thank you, Sean Mountcastle, Hari Sola, Dave Carney, and Kelly Donnelly for joining us at Pizza My Mind for the first time. We hope to see you again!

Pizza My Mind Presented by IBM

The Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering had the pleasure of hosting IBM for Pizza My Mind on March 11. IBM is headquartered in New York, and has offices across the United States. Their work includes artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, hybrid cloud, and other services. As a large company, IBM strives to make an even larger impact by combining people and technology to help out communities in need. They work to aid those impacted by natural disasters, as well as help to provide education, food, and health services. Presenter Tom McCreary, Client Technical Manager at the IBM Federal Office in McLean, Christopher Newport University Alum, and Chairman of the PCSE Industry Advisory Board, joined us to talk about the opportunities available at IBM.

A career at IBM allows you to experiment with technologies, industries, roles, and locations all without having to leave the company. IBM prioritizes diversity and inclusion. There are early career opportunities available for developers, designers, data scientists, and more. 

The IBM internship is a 10-week program in Washington DC with 50 positions available. Applications open in the fall, and applicants are expected to express interest in learning new things. The Internship program for Summer 2021 is full at this time, but they will begin taking applications for the Summer 2022 internship program in September. Interviews begin in January and include a trip to DC to meet other potential interns and give a presentation. 

To learn more about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com

Thank you, Tom McCreary for taking the time to talk about IBM with us.  We hope to see you again next year!