Posted by raherschbach on 14 Oct 2016

Electrical engineering professor Garima Bajwa, PhD, is the newest member of the Capitol Technology University faculty. She holds a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a doctorate in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of North Texas (UNT), in addition to her undergraduate degree from the Mody Institute of Technology and Science.

While at UNT, she received the award for Outstanding Doctoral Student, was a finalist in the national Three-Minute Thesis competition, and was also in the top eight for the UNT/Sherman Barsanti Inspiration Award. She is also a winner of the ACM-Women Travel Award. Her volunteer work includes serving as an officer for World Echoes and as a teaching mentor. In the following interview, Dr. Bajwa spoke to Capitol about her research interests, teaching vocation, and what she sees as the essential attributes for engineering success.

How did you become interested in engineering and technology?

My parents are both professors - my father in animal breeding and genetics, and my mother in food science and technology. Growing up in an academic environment, I became very interested in science. Then my brother took up engineering and was soon building telecommunications systems and dealing with networks. That inspired me to go into the field as well.

What are your primary research interests?

My PhD was in computational neuroscience, and I became really interested in brain-computer interfaces – how we can control things around us using our brains. I’m also interested in data science – how we can unravel patterns in seemingly chaotic data, which enables us to predict human behavior and build better products. These fields involve a variety of research areas: data analysis, signal processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

As a teacher, what do you find most rewarding?

I’m thrilled when my students first come to class with no clue about the subject, and then leave feeling that they get it – that moment when they understand how they can physically relate what they’re learning in class to their actual environment. It’s not just a concept for them; they can relate what I’m trying to teach them to what they can see and feel.

What do you see as the essential attributes for success as an engineer?

First, you have to get your fundamentals right. You should be able to connect what you’re doing in class to the real world. You also should have critical thinking skills. That’s crucial. Some engineers think “well, I’ll just build this or modify that”, but it’s actually important to go beyond that and ask why we need it and what is it going to improve. How does it impact the environment around us?

What do you enjoy the most about Capitol?

I have the freedom to do what I want as a professor. That’s something I love about Capitol. And, everyone is very warm, friendly and helpful.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching and research?

I used to do a lot of athletics, and I’m trying to catch up on that now. In my free time, I love to dig deep into things outside of research that grab my attention. I also travel frequently with friends, usually hiking and exploring nature.


Posted by raherschbach on 13 Oct 2016

The cybersecurity program at Capitol Technology University is one of the nation’s first – and this month it’s celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.

In 1999, in response to growing student interest, the university began developing a master’s degree program in a field then referred to as “network security.” The new program was unveiled in 2001, following approval by the university’s accreditors.

At the time, cybersecurity was available at most colleges and universities only as an elective concentration, typically as part of a business management or computer science department. Capitol was the first school that responded to student demand by offering a degree program.

The college also innovated by offering the program entirely online – at a time when graduate education was still largely reliant on the traditional classroom model. Today, Capitol also offers an online doctorate in cybersecurity as well as a certificate program and an on-campus bachelor’s degree.

For Dave Ward, one of the original architects of cybersecurity at Capitol, the fifteen-year milestone is “wonderful” and a time to take stock of the rapid changes that continue to shape the field.

“When we started the program, we really didn’t know where this was going,” Ward says. “We had a very good idea concerning specific pieces that had to be addressed. But the rationale for putting together an entire degree program was not obvious.”

Ward himself was skeptical. “I saw cybersecurity primarily as a network issue and as an engineering issue. I wasn’t anticipating the kinds of criminal chicanery that we see today – from malware to social engineering.”

At the time, Capitol offered a single course in network security as part of its master’s program in internet architecture. “Students kept telling us they wanted more,” remembers Rob Ashworth, who developed the curriculum of the new degree program together with Ward and another professor, Charles Cayot.

Fast forward to 2016, and not only have cybersecurity threats burgeoned and become more sophisticated, but they also have the potential to impact health, safety and well-being as never before. In today’s “Internet of Things,” everything from the kitchen fridge to the family minivan is a potential attack surface. That translates into a critical need for cybersecurity expertise – and for programs, like Capitol’s, which focus on practical training conducted by professionals who work in the field.

”We’re no longer primarily up against ‘script kiddies” or other amateurs who see hacking mainly as a challenge or sport,” Ward says. “What we have now is organized crime bent on stealing or extorting very large amounts of money, as well as trying to steal intellectual property. We also have government-sponsored attacks conducted in Cold War-style, as a way to damage an adversary without direct military action.”

Meanwhile, Ward notes, the rise of the “Dark Web” has provided a venue for the illicit activities of a wide range of criminals, from drug dealers to human traffickers.

Compared to fifteen years ago, a cybersecurity program is no longer a rarity. Capitol has numerous competitors. But while many take a more academic approach, Capitol’s program remains keenly focused on the practical application of learning.

Professors continue to be recruited from among the best and brightest in the military, government and private arenas, and the curriculum is continually updated to reflect their insights and experience.

 “This program was built up over time by subject matter experts,” notes fellow professor Cayot. “One of our real strong points has been that the instructors are extremely knowledgeable about the material and can relate to the students from the workplace, in addition to teaching them the latest published solutions.”

Commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary, the cybersecurity program will be holding a special event on November 14, featuring current faculty members as well as Ward and others involved in the program’s inception. For more information, contact Joy Exner at


Posted by raherschbach on 11 Oct 2016

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, an annual initiative designed to promote awareness of the need to protect networks and digital assets, Capitol is holding a poster contest for students. All Capitol Technology University students are eligible to enter the contest, which features a monetary prize for the best poster. 

Each poster  must feature original student artwork and illustrate the safe use of the internet and/or mobile devices, focusing on one of the following concepts:

  • Cyber Security
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Cyber Community Citizenship (Cyber Ethics)
  • Malicious Code (worms and viruses)
  • Inappropriate texting 

Posters will be prominently displayed for one full year (October 2016 to October 2017) and a monetary prize will be awarded.

  • Submit all posters by October 21
  • Judging will be on Cyber Saturday October 22
  • Winner will be announced on October 28. Prize given out shortly after.


Please e-mail all completed  posters and questions to Dr. William Butler:

To find out about other NCSAM activities at Capitol, click here.


Posted by raherschbach on 10 Oct 2016

A dedicated group of Capitol students recently spent their Friday night battling cyber threats during a 24-hour lock-in at the university’s Cyber Lab, held in conjunction with MITRE Cyber Academy’s sixth national Capture the Flag (CTF) competition.

Team members faced off against students from colleges and universities across the country, tackling such challenges as binary exploitation and reversing, web exploitation, computer/network forensics, cryptography, and critical infrastructure protection.

When the event finished at 5 pm on Saturday (September 17), Capitol’s team had racked up an impressive 1,910 points, placing in 7th place out of 46 schools in the college division.

It was an exciting result for a team that consists largely of freshmen and sophomores, many of whom are new to the world of cyber competitions. According to Cyber Lab manager Yesihake Abraha, who led the effort, their success had a lot to do with the degree of collaboration.

“The reason we did well is that we had a lot of people coming together and collaborating, not just working separately,” Abraha said. “The CTF can be done individually or in a group environment. We wanted students to come in and see what we could find out by working together.”

The event allowed more experienced students to mentor their younger counterparts, helping them build their confidence as they gained practice in handling an environment of intense competition.

“A lot of people get scared by CTFs,” Abraha explained. “They don’t think they’re smart enough to do it or they don’t think they have what it takes. Bringing everyone here really helped with the morale. Students loved coming here -- they met new people and figured out how to do these challenges. We were all enjoying ourselves, having fun.”

Beyond the MITRE event, the longer-term plan is for Capitol’s cyber team to participate in several competitions over the year, culminating in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC).

“We wanted students to come in and participate in the MITRE challenge so they will be prepared for the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC) later in the school year,” Abraha said. “We’re planning on having more events like this in the future.”



Posted by raherschbach on 28 Sep 2016

Capitol Technology University will be hosting a series of events and activities during October in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an initiative designed to raise awareness of the ongoing need to protect computer networks and systems from breaches and intrusions.

The calendar for the month includes a contest for student-designed posters, a visit to campus by the university’s National Security Agency representative, and a Cyber Saturday event featuring speakers as well as activities for parents and students.

NCSAM this year coincides with a milestone at Capitol: the school’s flagship cybersecurity program is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. The occasion will be commemorated during a special event on October 30.

“NCSAM is an annual even that was started by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” explains Dr. William Butler, chair of the cybersecurity program at Capitol and head of the Critical Infrastructures and Cyber Protection Center. "It’s a time of the year where we draw the nation’s attention to the importance of cybersecurity.”

“During the month, the DHS as well as other agencies and organizations involved in cybersecurity provide advice to the average computer user on how people can better protect themselves against different varieties of cybercrime, including ransomware, infected e-mails, malware, social engineering and identity theft,” Butler said.

This year, NCSAM happens to coincide with a special milestone at Capitol. In October, the university is celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the launch of its cybersecurity program, with a commemorative event scheduled for October 30.

“Fifteen years ago, Capitol decided to start the nation’s first master’s degree in network security,” Butler said. “Not only was it the nation’s first, but it was offered entirely online – which was an innovation as well. It represented a technological advancement in education as well as a new academic field.”

Cybersecurity programs have since proliferated across the nation – but Capitol continues to draw talented cyberwarriors-in-training each year to study with expert professionals in the university’s highly practice-oriented program. Butler says he’s counting on Capitol’s “very creative students” to devise ways of promoting cybersecurity awareness through the poster contest planned to run  through the month. Details will be forthcoming on the university portal.

Also in conjunction with NCSAM, mark your calendars for an October 6 visit by the NSA’s education representative, while on October 22 the Cyber Lab will host the next installment in the university’s ongoing Cyber Saturday program. For details on any of the planned activities, contact the CICPC or e-mail whbutler {at} .




Posted by raherschbach on 20 Sep 2016

Capitol Technology University will hold its inaugural Career Conference on Tuesday (September 27), combining a job fair and a series of workshops designed to help prepare students for various aspects of the job search. Attendance is mandatory for students in order to be eligible for Capitol’s job guarantee.

Sign-in is from 9:30 to 10:00 am. During the morning, you’ll attend workshops on such topics as:

  • Your four-year plan
  • Security clearances
  • The difference between Contracting, Consulting and Federal Service
  • Do you Need a Certification?
  • Highlighting your Accomplishments
  • Technical Interview Questions
  • How to Stand Out in Business
  • Employers represented at the job fair include:

 The Job Fair part of the event starts at 1 pm for juniors and seniors, and 2 pm for freshmen and sophomores. Professional attire is required. At the Fair, you’ll have the opportunity to meet representatives from companies such as Adnet Systems, Alertus Technologies, ICF International, The Mil Corporation, Motorola, Naval Intelligence Activity, Pepco, and Verizon.

All participants will receive a lunch pass during sign-in, along with raffle tickets for a chance to win gift cards and other prizes during the day.

Resume reviews

Prior to the Career Conference, the Office of Career Services will be providing resume reviews. No appointment is required; just walk in during the scheduled time windows (below). Bring a printed copy of your resume.  Two sessions will be held on campus, and one will be conducted virtually via the distance learning platform.

Resume Review Open Walk-in Hours

September 20 2pm-4pm in Student Life Suite
September 22 4pm-6pm online at
September 23 1pm-4pm in Library “Last Chance” Review

Tower Bus Schedule


Posted by raherschbach on 16 Sep 2016

By Sarah Alspaw, Assistant Director of Career Services and Graduate Student Support

If you are a senior, you can register for the Fall Senior Etiquette event on September 27 from 11am-1pm. This will take place during the Career Conference, and attending students will be provided with a catered meal. To register/RSVP, please fill out this form by September 19:

We are going to stray a little bit off theme this month from our usual sports metaphor to talk about something that is VERY important for job seekers, new professionals, and even (perhpas especially) for seasoned professionals.

Etiquette is not restricted to knowing which fork to eat with or opening the door of the person entering behind you. There are many ‘unwritten rules’ of how to conduct yourself, how to interact with your coworkers, and how to react in particular situations.

We are going to cover just a few today, which will not even begin to scratch the surface. Often you are going to just have to watch and learn from your colleagues. Very few of these professional etiquette rules are spelled out for you.

Some seem to contradict things you may have been told to do growing up. For example, it is never appropriate to pull the chair out for a colleague at a meal.  Also, it is never appropriate to treat genders differently, by allowing women to walk through a door first, or by refusing to walk through a door being held by a woman.

At Capitol, we are extremely flexible when it comes to scheduling meetings. We strive to make it very easy for you to see us; a majority of the time you can just walk in and see an advisor, financial aid consultant, or account managers in the business office without an appointment.  However, this is not going to be the case with your colleagues or supervisor.  You will need to schedule appointments and meetings in advance, make sure to arrive on time (not too early or late), and cancel appointments with at least 24 hours notice.

In a professional setting, it is rarely appropriate to be emotional or act emotionally. You should act pleasant towards all coworkers, no matter however you feel about a particular employee. When receiving feedback or criticism from your supervisor, you should not get defensive or try to argue. Lastly, it is important to separate your personal and work lives as much as possible.

Keep an eye out for additional upcoming blogs with more information about professional etiquette. 

If you are a senior, you can register for the Fall Senior Etiquette event on September 27th from 11am-1pm. This will take place during the Career Conference, and attending students will be provided with a catered meal. To register/RSVP, please fill out this form by September 19:



Posted by raherschbach on 15 Sep 2016

An August 17 rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility carried student experiments from eight US universities and community colleges – and Capitol Technology University was among them.

The launch, capping this summer’s RockSat-X program at Wallops, took a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket to an altitude of 95 miles. Capitol students who had spent months building and testing their payload were on hand to see it lifted into space.

It was another milestone for the TRAPSat student team at Capitol, which has been experimenting with the use of aerogel to capture miniscule space debris. The team’s goal at RockSat-X was to provide a proof of concept for using aerogel as a debris removal tool, and to demonstrate that aerogel blanketing can be a viable alternative to Multi-Layer Insulation.

The TRAPSat payload included a camera used to record images of the debris and to provide the team with data. The team hopes to use this data as it continues refining the project ahead of a 2018 launch as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.

“The team was thrilled with the RockSat-X experience,” said TRAPSat’s lead engineer and principal investigator, Ryan Schrenk. “They were able to complete NASA’s review process, have their payload get on the launch pad, and see it actually launched into space. That says a lot. It says NASA had confidence that their payload would work, and that it wouldn’t cause interference with anything else.”

“NASA was happy with what we did, we were happy we were able to do it, and we appreciated being one of the few teams that was able to stay on schedule and within the restrictions provided,” Schrenk said.

Professor Angela Walters, chair of the astronautical engineering program at Capitol, said the review process – challenging as it is -- is one of the most valuable aspects of RockSat-X, since systems engineering is a way of looking at the “big picture”, and using systems engineering principles when making technical decisions and determining solutions to problems.

 “One of the benefits of the program is that the students get to go through these scheduled design reviews and have to meet the requirements. They’re required to pass those reviews in order to continue on in the program,” she said. “That’s great practical experience that students can use  in their post graduate careers.”

It also dovetails with the practical approach of Capitol’s AE program, Walters said. “Our focus is on systems engineering and processes,” she said. “We prepare them, over the course of their projects at school, for what they will encounter in real-world situations.”

Beyond that, she said, RockSat-X is just plain exhilarating.

“It’s cool to build something, have it placed on a rocket, and see it fly into space,” she said. “Lots of people dream about that kind of experience. Our students get to do it.”

Participating in RockSat-X were TRAPSat team members Christopher Murray, Zachary Richard, Robert Pierce Smith, Michael Strittmatter, Nathan Weideman, assisted by Zalika Dixon, Dan Whiteside, and Syiera Williams.

OnlineU lauds affordability of graduate programs at Capitol

Affordability, quality and career relevance: these are three touchstones for nearly anyone considering a master’s degree in today’s academic environment. A new report from OnlineU aims to identify schools that offer students the best value for their educational dollar – and Capitol Technology University is among those making the cut.


Posted by raherschbach on 14 Sep 2016

In today’s workplace, being able to move up the organizational ladder depends increasingly on the ability to understand data and use it effectively in making decisions. That’s true not only for management specialists but also for professionals in technological fields such as IT or engineering.

Adding data analytics expertise to technology knowhow makes for a powerful combination – and that’s one reason why Capitol is preparing to introduce new undergraduate analytics courses that will be available for all students to take, regardless of their degree program.

“We’re getting ready to roll out these courses during this school year,” said Dr. Helen Barker, dean of academics at Capitol. “While they’re focused on the business student, they’re open to students enrolled in any of our programs.”

The employment outlook in the analytics field is huge, Barker noted, with some projections estimating that around 40,000 positions will be available over the next few years. For those who wish to make analytics their main career specialization, the university will be offering a degree focus in that area.

Meanwhile, Barker said, “we’ll also be creating a certificate in the analytics area. That’s an exciting opportunity to add to any one of our technical degrees.”

Analytics is currently a central focus of two graduate degree programs at Capitol:  the master’s program in Information Systems Management, and a recently-launched PhD program in management and decision science. Both programs are based on the recognition that data is a core asset in almost any organization today, and that companies face an increasing need for personnel with the background and expertise needed to harness this asset effectively.

The new undergraduate course offerings will allow students to start building that expertise at an earlier stage in their career path, positioning them well for future advancement, Barker said.

“Helping people figure out how to make sense of that and turn the data into knowledge, thus allowing them to make better or higher level decisions, is one way in which people can move higher in an organization,” she said.  “The expectation is that higher level leadership needs to know how to make high level decisions – and knowing how best to use that data helps you do that.”

“It can  be a career booster for any of our degrees. All of them,” Barker said.