Posted by raherschbach on 19 Jul 2016

Combining IT with business is a winning proposition in today’s economy, but it’s hard to find a university with a program that melds the two, says Capitol senior Mike Strittmatter, who is currently completing his degree in Management of Cyber and Information Technology (MCIT).

“I wanted to merge the two. I really like doing business but at the same time I really like doing network management,” said Strittmatter, who transferred to Capitol after completing an associate’s degree in networking at Cumberland Community College. “When I was looking around at different universities, I saw there weren’t many options – it was either going into doing more advanced networking, or business. There wasn’t a good middle ground.”

That’s when he heard about Capitol’s program.  “One of my friends, who is also going here now, talked to me about Capitol and so I came down and looked around. I saw they have a degree program that combines both – they have the business AND the information assurance, which is really close to what I was doing in networking,” he said.

The MCIT program aims to produce systems thinkers with both management expertise and technical competence. Students in the program study principles of management, organizational behavior, personnel management, and marketing, among other subjects, and also take IT courses such as programming, network security, secure data communications and data handling.

That made for a good fit, Strittmatter said. “I’m an Eagle Scout so I’m a natural leader, and when I looked at the way the program is laid out, I saw it has a lot of courses that are oriented towards leading and managing teams. I really liked the fact that when businesses look at your resume, they’ll see that you have a lot of leadership and management experience already, as well technical experience. Having a strong network background already, the IT component of the program complements my associates’ degree while the business side gives me the foundation I’ll need for a career in management.”

“I want to do the technical work but at the same time I really want to do management as well, and so it really kind of fell into place.”

Strittmatter’s affinity for business reflects his background: he and his father run a small family company that specializes in furniture reupholstering. He likes keeping busy, and he’s used to juggling classes and work responsibilities. “I’d get bored just sitting around,” he said.

At Capitol he soon sought out opportunities to supplement his coursework with involvement in student projects.  The TRAPSat project, which is focused on developing a method for capturing space debris using aerogel, was of particular interest.

TRAPSat was looking for someone with Strittmatter’s business acumen and he was welcomed on board. “I make sure all the tasks get done in a timely fashion, I make sure our projections for the project closely line up, and I do a lot of part procurement,” he explained. “Once we decide what parts we need, we still have to go through the process of ordering them, which involves procedures and paperwork.” Currently he is Lead Business Analyst/Engineer for the team, which is participating in NASA’s RockSat X program this summer and preparing for a full orbital launch opportunity as part of the CubeSat Launch initiative (CSLI).

On the engineering side, Strittmatter helped design the project’s camera subsystem, aided in the redesign of a raised aerogel support container, helped machine and mill our structural subsystem, and did electrical work on the payload, among other things. “Even though I’m a MCIT student, you don't have to be an engineering major to engineer,” he said. “Having a passion for creating and building things as well as the perseverance to learn the engineering processes and the willingness to do it right is what it really takes.”

He’s also had the opportunity to develop his interest in 3-D printing. Strittmatter says he learned how to 3-D print while at Capitol, and became so fascinated by the technology that he went out and bought two 3-D printers of his own. In recent months, he’s been assisting not only TRAPSat in this area but also the school’s SatNOGS group, which is endeavoring to set up a ground satellite communications system on campus. Many components of the system, including gears, ball bearing housings, and antenna elements have been 3-D printed with Strittmatter’s assistance.

Currently, he is spending this summer as an intern at the NSA, where he says he’s been encouraged to dive further into the information assurance field.

 “My plans are to fuse all these different areas of interest together,” says Strittmatter. “I’m really a jack of all trades – I like to do a little bit of everything.”

Capitol senior bridges business and tech

Combining IT with business is a winning proposition in today’s economy, but it’s hard to find a university with a program that melds the two, says Capitol senior Mike Strittmatter, who is currently completing his degree in Management of Cyber and Information Technology (MCIT).


Posted by raherschbach on 14 Jul 2016

A group of area high school students are on campus this week, gaining a detailed overview of computer networking at a brand-new camp launched by Capitol this summer and led by Professor Andrew Mehri. It is the second of two new camps offered this summer; an earlier one covered programming.

Capitology spoke with Mehri on Thursday, day four of the networking camp.

“We began with a general introduction to how the internet works, then moved on to the layering mechanism,” he explained. “We went into the OSI and TCP-IP models, and looked at the network the way a networking professional would see it.”

The camp participants aren’t just learning about networks, however; the camp is also giving them practice in applying what they learn.

“On day three, we went full hands-on,” Mehri said. “We started out on the physical layer by putting cables together, then moved up a layer to where they used hubs and switches, and then today they’re going be using routers. They’ve already been introduced to the application layer, by watching data on the network with WireShark. They understand what a packet is, what the payload looks like, what headers and trailers are – so they’re really getting a full picture of the technology involved in a network.”

The camp wraps up Friday with a session on network security, both internally using virtual LANs, and externally using firewalls.

Students drawn to the camp generally have an interest in computers but do not necessarily have any prior experience with networking, Mehri said. The event is open to any student in grades 10-12 with an interest in digging into the technologies underlying today’s internet and finding out how it all works.

Capitol plans to offer both the programming and networking camps in future summers. To find out more, contact the academic dean’s office at


Posted by raherschbach on 13 Jul 2016

Dates have been announced for the next series of virtual info sessions for prospective doctoral students. These "virtual open houses," conducted via Capitol's distance learning platform, provide an opportunity to talk with faculty, become familiar with program goals and requirements, and ask questions about a full range of topics related to doctoral study.

Sessions will be held at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time on the following dates:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Register here. After your registration is received, we'll send you a link containing information on how to access the session of your choice. 

"It's an opportunity for prospective students to speak with and meet our dean of academics and other members of the academic team, as well as faculty members who teach in our doctoral programs," explains Meghan Young, director of admissions operations.

Capitol's graduate programs are conducted online, via a real-time "virtual classroom," and the info sessions also provide an introduction to  that environment.

"It offers a chance to see what the virtual classroom looks like, and to become familiar with the various tools and capabilities of our platform," Young says.

Capitol currently offers two doctoral programs. Our DSc program in cybersecurity, established in 2010, balances a strong theoretical foundation with research and hands-on experience. It aims to prepare graduates to be leaders in the field's top organizations, including federal agencies and private companies. 

In 2015, Capitol launched a PhD program in management and decision sciences, designed to prepare sensior professionals for senior positions in either the public or private sector. Through a rigorous and varied curriculum, students cultivate high-level decision science skills, and contribute to the field with innovative and practical doctoral research.


With new facility, Capitol Technology University offers enhanced satellite op training

Learning to command and control and spacecraft requires both knowledge and practice, but being able to obtain hands-on training is often a challenge for students. Opportunities to assist with actual missions are limited and – understandably, given the costs and high stakes involved –little direct responsibility is placed on students.


Posted by raherschbach on 7 Jul 2016

Learning to command and control and spacecraft requires both knowledge and practice, but being able to obtain hands-on training is often a challenge for students. Opportunities to assist with actual missions are limited and – understandably, given the costs and high stakes involved –little direct responsibility is placed on students.

With the help of the Hammers Company, a MD-based firm that has contributed to numerous NASA and commercial missions, Capitol Technology University now offers a resource that most space engineering programs lack: a platform for real-time training in a virtual satellite environment.

At Capitol’s brand new Space Flight Operations Training Center (SFOTC) students use actual spacecraft software to control virtual satellites, replicating the scenarios they would actually face on the job. The system incorporates a number of tools pioneered by Hammers, which has supported more than 30 NASA missions with real-time simulation, flight, and ground software systems. The VirtualSat® spacecraft dynamic simulator “closes-the-loop” with the flight software simulating the actual spacecraft in orbit with sensors and actuators. Firing thrusters, performing spacecraft slews and monitoring the spacecraft telemetry is capable in the virtual environment. VirtualSat allows the instructor to inject errors into the spacecraft to train the student to detect anomalies and conduct recovery procedures to up-link to the spacecraft. The Galaxy® spacecraft command and telemetry system allows the student to actually operate the virtual spacecraft in real-time and function as a spacecraft operator.

 “From the operator’s standpoint, when you’re on the system, it looks exactly like the spacecraft,” explains Marcel Mabson, a software test engineer at Hammers and a Capitol alumnus. He has been on site at the school for much of the spring and summer, and training lab managers and preparing the SFOTC for the fall semester.

Classroom learning, while vital, can only go so far when it comes to preparing students for flight ops, Mabson said.

 “It’s one thing to read about it in books, but it’s a whole different story when you’re responsible for a real bird that costs several hundreds of million dollars to build and launch,” he said. “The SFOTC will give students a leg-up when they go into the real world and work in operations. They’ll have the experience.”

That includes experience with responding to unexpected events, such as a loss in communications or a systems failure. Instructors can introduce anomalies that the student will have to address. “For instance, your spacecraft has stopped talking to you,” Mabson says. “How do you recover from that? Through the software, students will be able to understand the flow and management in any number of scenarios.”

Capitol professor Rishabh Maharaja, a systems engineer for NASA’s Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) spacecraft, says the SFOTC will be integrated into several astronautical engineering courses at Capitol, and will be available to all students in the program.

It provides “real world experience while they’re still in school. And they can take that wherever they go, whether it’s to NASA or a private company, because the underlying principles are the same.”

Because other disciplines such as computer science and electrical engineering are involved in satellite operations, he anticipates that the new resource will be extended beyond AE to other programs at Capitol as well, he said.

Mabson sums up the SFOTC as “an amazing place for future engineers to learn the engineering behind spacecraft development, operations, commanding, and data analysis.”

“The fact that we can train the students to see how they react in different situations, to get the full stress as it would be in a real NASA mission, is definitely an advantage for the school to have,” he said.


Posted by raherschbach on 1 Jul 2016

By Sarah Alspaw, Associate Director of Career Services

Today, we are announcing a major change to the required Career Events for the 2016-2017 Academic School Year. Listen up, because BOTH of these events are required for students who want to qualify for the Capitol Technology University Job Guarantee

*drumroll* Now presenting the CAREER CONFERENCE!!!!

The Career Conference will take the best parts of Career Day and Career Fair and allow students to learn new concepts and apply what they learned on the same day.

Mark your calendars because the Fall Career Conference will take place on September 27th, from 9:30am-4pm, with the workshops running from 10am-noon, lunch is provided, and the Job Fair will run from 1pm-4pm.  We will flip that schedule for the Spring Career Conference on February 17th, with the Job Fair from 10am-1pm, free lunch from 1-2pm, and workshops for the rest of the afternoon.

These events are REQUIRED and Business Professional Attire is a must.

Questions can be sent to

If you are an employer hoping to host a table at the Job Fair, information about registration and pricing can be found on the following website:

I look forward to seeing all of the students on September 27th and February 17th.

Argotis founder Vaidya honors parents by launching Capitol scholarship

Nischit Vaidya’s career has taken him from entry-level IT jobs to becoming a sought-after security engineering consultant and, in 2013, starting his own firm, Argotis, Inc. Wishing to express his gratitude to his parents for their encouragement and support, while also wanting to help talented young cybersecurity students meet the challenge of paying their tuition bills, Vaidya decided to establish an annual scholarship at Capitol Technology University.


Posted by raherschbach on 10 Jun 2016

When it comes to cybersecurity programs, bigger is not necessarily better.

Capitol Technology University may be a small school, but its laser focus on engineering and technology fields enables it to provide aspiring cyber warriors with unparalleled opportunities to launch their careers, says Dr. Bill Butler, chair of the school’s cybersecurity program, which stresses a hands-on approach to the subject starting from day one.

“Unlike many other colleges and universities, we don’t make our students wait until their junior year before they can start taking cybersecurity classes,” he says. “Attend Capitol, and you’ll start building up your expertise in the field right away.”

Butler, a seasoned professional and educator who has served as deputy chief technology officer for USCENTCOM and as chief information security officer (CISO) for the US Marine Corps, is steering Capitol’s program through a time of rapid transitions in the cybersecurity field, including increased focus on mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).

He says applied learning is particularly important in cybersecurity because of the quick pace of change. Students who do not get enough hands-on practice and exposure to real-time industry trends are likely to find themselves behind the curve when they enter the job market.

That’s why Capitol hires working professionals to teach in the cybersecurity program, he says, and also why it places importance on facilities such as the Cyber Lab – a unique facility, launched  in 2009 with the help of a BRAC grant, that enables students to test their skills in real-time scenarios and serves as the hub for Capitol’s cyber competition teams.

“That’s a huge differentiator for us when the students visit our campus,” Butler notes.

Also setting Capitol apart is its status as an NSA and DHS-designated Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), its location in close proximity to the NSA headquarters at Ft. Meade, and its credibility among employers in both the public and private sectors.

“The CAE gives us access to grants and scholarships and opportunities that other schools will not,” Butler said. “Only 4% of all the colleges and universities in the country have this designation, so it’s a small, select group. Only students at CAE-designated schools can apply for the Scholarship for Service, also known as CyberCorps, as well as the SMART scholarship for cyber and the Information Assurance Scholarship Program.”

“These are programs that carry stipends with tuition-free education and a three-year commitment to work for the government. The student receives a stipend, spends virtually nothing to attend school, is guaranteed federal government internships over the summer, and is guaranteed federal employment after receiving the degree. That kind of opportunity is hard to beat – and it’s only available to schools with the CAE designation, like Capitol,” Butler said.

In addition to the scholarship opportunities, Capitol students benefit from the designation because it gives them an edge at hiring time. Employers know that a CAE school teaches to the standards set by the NSA and that its students graduate with a strong skill set.

It’s no wonder, then, that Capitol graduates go to work for firms such as General Dynamics and Leidos, as well as for the DoD and other agencies.

“Our track record and access to industry sets us apart even from larger competitors here in Maryland,” he said. “We don’t try to do everything here. Instead, we focus on selected fields, such as cybersecurity, and deliver the best education available.”

“Whether you want to work for a contractor, the federal  government or the private sector, Capitol can help you get there,” Butler said.


Posted by raherschbach on 27 May 2016

Capitol and the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) marked an important milestone in their partnership Monday (May 23) as two CUIB cybersecurity professors wrapped up a four-week immersion training program held on Capitol’s Laurel campus.

Leonnel Franz Kwedeu and Ngatchu Damen Nyinkeu completed 120 hours of training that covered basic cybersecurity concepts, Linux system administration, cybersecurity tools, wireless communication and encryption, and internet privacy and anonymity.

The two CUIB faculty members are playing a key role in developing CUIB’s new cyber and information security department, which aims to meet a growing demand for cybersecurity expertise in Cameroon and other West African nations. As an established leader in cybersecurity education, Capitol is in a position to provide guidance on curriculum, academic requirements, course delivery and other aspects of the new program.

Mr. Kwedeu is the departmental chair of Computer Networks and Telecommunications Systems at CUIB, and Mr. Nyinkeu is a faculty member. The immersion program was designed to supplement their existing IT and computer science expertise with cybersecurity fundamentals.

“The immersion program essentially covered the freshman and sophomore cybersecurity courses at Capitol within a four-week period,” said Dr. William Butler, chair of the cybersecurity program at Capitol. “They worked with two of our professors, Dan Ford and Rick Hansen, and received training not only in the materials, but also in the delivery of the materials via classrooms and labs.”

While the CUIB program resembles Capitol’s in many ways, it also takes into account differences in the regional cyber environment. With infrastructure issues and economic disparities limiting access to desktops or laptops, Africans typically rely on mobile devices to a far greater extent than do their US counterparts, Butler explained.

“That means more of a specialized focus on mobile forensics than you’d see in a US program,” Butler said.

Members of CUIB first cohort in the program began their studies in Fall 2015 and will graduate after four years. They will be Cameroon’s first group of cybersecurity professionals with in-country academic credentials in the field.

One of their tasks, Butler said, will be to help raise awareness both in the government and private sector about the key importance of protecting digital assets.

“Here in the United States, we’ve been through a period where computer science and IT had taken off, but people weren’t aware fully of the importance of cybersecurity,” Butler said. “With business in West Africa becoming increasingly intertwined with computer networks, we’re likewise seeing an effort to promote such awareness at various levels – from individual businesses to Chambers of Commerce to the government.”

The concern doesn’t only affect business, he said. “Law enforcement is dealing with cybersecurity challenges, and terrorist networks such as Boko Haram also have the potential to exploit network vulnerabilities to cause harm and advance their agenda.”

CUIB, he said, is helping to build a robust response to these threats by developing its program and partnering with Capitol, an NSA-designated Center for Excellence in the field.

The two institutions also share a similar approach to educational philosophy.

Founded in 2010, the CUIB stresses hands-on learning, empowering students “to be job creators and masters of their destinies through experiential learning (learning by doing).”

Capitol, Maryland’s only independent university with a focus on computer science, engineering and IT, also emphasizes a practical approach education, drawing faculty who are professionals in their fields and engaging students in a wide variety of projects, labs and other applied learning experiences.

“We share with CUIB many underlying tenets in terms of our approaches to education,” Butler said.