Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 26 Jun 2015

Over 2,000 cybersecurity and information assurance professionals are expected to attend next week's NSA Information Assurance Directorate's Information Assurance Symposium (IAS) in Washington. DC. The event includes presentations, panel discussions and training sessions aimed at keeping participants up to speed on emerging developments in this critical field.

Attendees will also have an opportunity at the event to learn about the innovative and industry-relevant cybersecurity programs at Capitol. Cybersecurity program chair William Butler will be joining Capitol's director of graduate recruitment, Xavier A. Richards, at the symposium, together with select faculty.

"This is a very exciting event for us to be attending," Richards said. "It's hosted by the NSA and will have cybersecurity leaders, decision-makers and practictioners in attendance. The NSA has also invited international cybersecurity experts to this event, so participants will be engaging a global perspective."

During the symposium, Richards and her colleagues will be getting the word out about the university's undergraduate and graduate programs in cybersecurity and the career-boosting opportunities that come with a Capitol degree. Capitol offers bachelor's and master's degrees in Cyber and Information Security as well as a doctorate in cybersecurity. Numerous post-baccaulaureate certificate programs are also available, including in Digital Forensics and Incident Handling, Information Assurance Administration, Network Protection, Secure Cloud Computing, Secure Mobile Technology, Secure Software Development and Security Management.

“One of the really outstanding things about our programs is the quality of our curriculum," Richards said. "It's practical and industry-oriented, with students gaining exposure both to theory and labs. We enable professionals to advance their skill sets and become thought leaders in their fields, addressing some of the most pressing concerns in the cybersecurity arena."

The master's and doctoral level programs are also designed to accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals. All of Capitol's graduate degrees are offered online, utilizing a real-time, synchronous learning platform that replicates classroom conditions -- without requiring a commute.

"Our programs are very flexible," Richards said. "Professionals at all career stages can take our classes from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a computer connected to the internet. It's a very unique way to balance school and work and be able to do both at the same time."

The IAS event will be held June 29 through July 1 at the Washington Convention Center. More information here.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 23 Jun 2015

The 5-meter parabolic antenna in front of Capitol Technology University's main building is a recognizable landmark on campus, but after years of use it was starting to show some wear and tear.

A team of students, however, has made it their mission to bring about the necessary cleaning and upgrades. It is currently in action as a tool for radio astronomy, and has even been put into use in the search for extraterrestial life.

Carlos Del Cid, Erlin Cruz, Ennis Roulhac and Matthew Barrett undertook the overhaul beginning in November 2014, with the encouragement of Capitol professors Dr. Alex "Sandy" Antunes, Dr. Charles Conner and Dr. Hong Yu. 

The students subsequently decided to turn the endeavor into their senior project.

"The objectives of the project are to revitalize the antenna and then complete four individual projects," the team explained in an e-mail. "We plan to refurbish as much as possible from the existing structure to minimize the cost. We also want to create a modular foundation for future upgrades as needed. In addition, future student may be interested in further upgrades with additional modules and sensors for new experimental projects."

"To date, the team has accomplished the following; disassembled, cleaned and refurbished the antenna motor drive mechanism, which led to the antenna dish regaining motion; disassembled and replaced electrical components in the power distribution unit; and installed a server unit for data acquisition and storage," the team said. "The project is also integrating software defined radio such as GNU-Radio, which takes the received signal and analyzes them for various uses."

The students' individual projects are also under way. Barrett is collecting data for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence signals; Cruz is creating a graphical user interface to control the structure; Del Cid is using the antenna as a telescope for radio astronomy, and Roulhac is adding reception for radio communication frequencies.

The group project also involves using an Arduino platform as the foundation for controlling the antenna. Additionally, sensors will be used to register the position of the antenna dish as well as the orientation. 

"This is so that when an individual needs to place the antenna into a particular position the feedback will be displayed from the sensors to acknowledge its location. This will also create the custom settings for each of the projects. We are planning to finish all this projects by the end of the summer," the team said.

Pictured. Dr. Alex "Sandy" Antunes (second right) with students.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 17 Jun 2015

The Capitol Cyber Challenge summer camp session for June 22 and 26 has been cancelled, but a session scheduled for later in the summer is still on.

That session will take place from July 20 to 24. Registrations are being accepted now.

The week-long program is designed for high schoolers in grades 9-12 with an interest in computer networks and how to defend them. It will include scavenger hunts and other cyber games; training in computer forensics; coding and scripting with Python and other languages; creating software robots; working with 3D printers; and other fun and informative activities. The program will run from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.

"It's perfect both for students who are interested in cybersecurity but don't know much about it, and also for those who have had some cybersecurity experience during high school and want to increase their knowledge base," said Meghan Young, director of Admissions Operations. "They'll have the opportunity to come to this camp for a week, nine to four, and get hands-on experience under the guidance of experts in the field."

"It's a really great experience for high school students to come in and have a college experience over the summer. I think a lot of students and parents are going to be pretty excited about it," Young said.

Capitol Cyber Challenge will be hosted at the McGowan Center on the university campus. The cost for a one-week session is $500. Click here for a printable registration form, or contact Joy Exner at jlexner@captechu.edu or (240) 965-2485 for more information.

 

 

Alumni Profile: David Shifflett

Computer science and engineering are always in flux. And for David Shifflett, a Northrop Grumman cybersecurity system engineer, US Army veteran and Capitol alumnus, it’s this ongoing change and expansion that makes his line of work most exciting.

“I love the field because it is always growing,” he says. “There’s really no end to what we can get to.”

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 11 Jun 2015

Capitol Technology University’s new assistant director of doctoral programs, Dr. Michael R. Fain, took up the position in May after having previously contributed his expertise to the Capitol academic community as an adjunct professor. Dr. Fain will continue to teach courses in business, communications and writing while advising D.Sc and Ph.D students and helping to run the annual doctoral residency.

Dr. Fain spoke to Capitology about his passion for education, his personal background, and what he sees as the signature characteristics of Capitol as an institution of higher learning.

Could you tell us a little about yourself? What drew you to a career in higher education?

I’m originally from Kentucky; I grew up in Louisville and attended public schools there. After that, I went to Western Kentucky University and completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field of communication disorders.  I started my professional career working as a clinician, and then later moved to Washington, D.C. to do my doctoral work at Howard University, also in communication disorders.

I’ve always wanted to be an educator. I love education; I’ve known since seventh grade that I wanted to go into teaching. My experiences at Western Kentucky and Howard kept that aspiration going, though I’ve also continued to be very interested in clinical research. At Howard, I did work on the communication disorders affecting Alzheimer’s patients. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s, so the topic had personal significance for me.

After obtaining my degree, I taught at a number of universities, starting with Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. I had a really wonderful experience there and was able to do some of my clinical work in addition to teaching. Unfortunately, the weather in Cleveland was not to my liking! I left Ohio and went to teach at West Georgia College, and then found myself drawn back to the DC area – it’s like a magnet. I accepted a position at the AARP, which involved going around the country to set up satellite offices for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Later, a new opportunity arose when the DC government decided to establish a Department of Mental Health; because of my background working with Alzheimer’s and dementia, I was able to help with the administration of this new department.  Subsequently, I was director of rehab services at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. I’ve also worked as a consultant, assisting individuals who are seeking to earn their GEDs,

When did you begin teaching at Capitol?

I joined the adjunct faculty here in the fall of 2014, teaching ENG 408, which is the technical writing class. In the spring semester, I was afforded the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course in ethics in addition to English.  When the position of assistant director of doctoral programs opened up, I decided to apply – and the rest is history! In this position, I wear multiple hats, so to speak: primarily, I’m here to work closely with the dean of Business and Information Sciences, Dr. Helen Barker. In addition,  I will act as an advisor to over 100 doctoral students who are enrolled in the program at different stages of their degrees; students can call me when they have questions about what classes they should be taking or any other aspect of the program. I’ll be very much involved in the doctoral residency, which is held three times a year over a three-day weekend.

Meanwhile, I still teach technical writing; I will also start teaching a doctoral class in ethics later this summer.

What do you like most about Capitol? What makes us stand out as an institution of higher learning?

One of the jewels of this university is the fact that it’s a small institution. The fact that we have such a close-knit, almost family-like, environment helps facilitate learning, in my view. If a student doesn’t show up for class, there’s a very good chance we’ll run into each other and I can pull him or her aside and find out what happened – and also ask  that person if there’s some way I can help with whatever challenge he or she is dealing with.

This is very different from the much larger higher education institutions, where students can feel they are just numbers; many fall through the cracks and no one really notices.

We have an open door policy at Capitol; students can come in at any time, office hours notwithstanding,  to meet with me about their concerns. Capitol is also committed to working with students from diverse backgrounds – not only diverse in terms of culture, but diverse in terms of professional experiences.  I am honored and consider it a privilege to work here; to have Dr. Helen Barker as a mentor is like a dream come true. Every day I have an opportunity to interact with, in my opinion, some of the most gifted intellectual peers and students in this country. The Best Is Yet to Come!

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 5 Jun 2015

By Susanna Carey, Librarian

As he spring semester was wrapping up, the Puente Library hosted their final student program of the academic year, which was the library's first Kite Flying Contest. Considered a success, the contest was a program created by library aide Keyry Velasquez, and the library is already planning to offer it as an annual spring event.

Keyry stated: “We wanted to have an event that would relax students’ right before final exams.” The contest consisted of students bringing their own kite's that would be tested on style, how quickly kites could fly up into the air, and for how long the kite would fly. Students had a great time competing against one another and prizes were given to students who won. First place went to Rachel Derocher, second place was Garrett Baseley, and third place was Karen Tavarez.

Thanks to all who participated and we look forward to seeing you next spring!

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 2 Jun 2015

It’s an inspiring example of vision, determination and eventual triumph over the odds. A team of four undocumented Latino teenagers at a Phoenix-area high school entered an underwater robotics competition and beat the team from MIT. Their achievement was chronicled in the movie Underwater Dreams, directed by Mary Mazzio. The film garnered critical acclaim and was shown at the White House in May of 2014.

The team’s experiences also provided the basis for a 2015 feature film, Spare Parts, starring George Lopez, Jaime Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei.

And the story doesn’t end there.  New generations of robotics enthusiasts at Carl Hayden High have carried on the legacy started by the boys, with the Falcon Robotics 842 team continuing to ace competitions to this day. 

Nayovi Leon, a Capitol freshman studying Management of Cyber and Information Technology, can tell you anything you want to know about the storied Falcons. She was a member of the team for two years, during which it made first place in regional competition. Leon is in the credits for Spare Parts, having contributed her welding skills to the production. She also appears in Underwater Dreams, commenting on the team’s legacy.

“It shows that even though we’re from a community which faces many obstacles, we can amount to something,” Leon says. The original team members “set the bar high for us,” she adds.

Leon is passionate both about robotics and about advocating for the Latino community. While serving as public affairs head for the Falcons team, she appeared on the Univision television network to promote STEM education for minority youths.

Enrolling in a university on the East Coast was a momentous choice for someone with close ties to her hometown. “At first I thought it was crazy to move out to Maryland,” she acknowledges. In the end, though, the quality of Capitol’s programs won out over the other schools she was considering, and Capitol was able to offer a financial aid package, reflective of Leon’s high GPA, that clinched the decision.

“I love Capitol,” Leon says.  “Class sizes are small, I’ve been able to build relationships with my mentors and professors, and the Cyber Lab is a great resource. It’s particularly exciting when employees from the NSA or other companies and organizations come to the campus to give talks about developments in the field, their personal experiences, and what we can do with our degrees.”

Meanwhile, her advocacy work continues. She is spending this summer back in Phoenix, assisting the organization Chicanos Por La Causa with its IT and cybersecurity needs as part of a summer internship.

With technology fields seeking to promote greater gender and ethnic diversity and attract more women to pursue STEM careers, Leon feels she is in the right place at the right time. She is setting her sights on a career in cybersecurity after graduation.

“There are a lot of opportunities out there,” she says.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 29 May 2015

By Sarah Alspaw, Assistant Director of Career Services

You hear the ‘ding’ that this round is complete, and you head to your corner to decompress, rest, and strategize for the upcoming round. 

Summer is a great time to stop, relax, and recuperate from classes, tests, and projects.  However, 3 months is a long time, and there is a lot you can do to develop yourself in other ways during this time.

INTERNSHIPS & PART TIME JOBS

Many students pursue summer internships, which provides the opportunity to learn and develop soft skills, practically apply what you are learning in the classroom, and to experience a preview of what life will be like after college.  This will allow you to reaffirm what you want to do, or to realize that you may not like doing it as much as learning about it.

Most students who will have internships for summer 2015 have already secured one; and many have already started working.  It may be difficult to find an internship this late, but not impossible.

Here are a few resources to help you with your search:

If you cannot find an internship, part-time jobs are a great way to get experience, even if they are not in a related field.  You would be surprised what transferrable skills you can learn, and I am happy to help explain those skills on your resume.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Attending conferences, workshops, and networking events is a great way to expand your knowledge and network. 

Opportunities like this: http://www.govconnectscyber.com/internship-opportunities/, or this http://www.ftmeademwr.com/events/jobFair.php, or the MITRE Fort Meade job fair on June 4th (email me or see the LinkedIn group for details) allow you to meet potential mentors or future employers and colleagues.

Make sure when attending these types of events you are dressed professionally and act appropriately and professionally as well.

Also, if you are looking for a good book to read from on the beach or by the pool, I have a few suggestions:

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace by Daniel Goleman
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected by: Devora Zack
  • The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure by Catherine Blyth
  • Periodicals or magazines from your particular area of interest or major

FURTHER YOUR SKILLS

A runner who doesn’t train for several months will lose some stamina, the same goes for technical skills.  This can be avoided by practicing from home.  www.code.org is a great website to learn new programming languages. Scratch https://scratch.mit.edu/ is another good one.  Work on projects at home to practice and hone your skills.  Reflect on your notes and textbook from the previous semester.

VOLUNTEER

“Volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers,” according to the Corporation for National and Community Service1.  Obviously, correlation does not equate to causation, but better to have something that may be helpful on your résumé, especially if it only costs you a day or two of your time. Plus, volunteering will give you greater ties to the community, will help develop social and soft skills, and gives you a pretty good feeling when helping others. http://volunteermatch.org/ is one website that can help connect you to volunteer opportunities in your area, but there are many other websites and organizations that can do so as well.

CAREER SERVICES

If you are looking for me, you can find me in your corner. If you need any assistance locating opportunities or resources, please make an appointment with me by emailing careers@captechu.edu. I can meet in-person, over the phone, or online through Google Hangout or Skype.

I am available most days (M-Th) from 10am-6pm.  However, there are a few days I will not be on campus, so it is important you make an appointment so I can guarantee that I will be available.

1 http://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/research-and-reports/volunteering-pathway-employment-report

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 27 May 2015

By William H. Butler,  Chair, Cybersecurity Program, Capitol Technology University

It's becoming rare to find an employee at any company or organization who does not use Cloud-based services to help get his or her work done. Dropbox and Google Drive are two popular examples.

We turn to such services if there is a perceived capacity shortfall in our corporate IT offerings. Can you access shared drives and workspaces while away from your enterprise network? If the answer is no, then you've probably at least thought about seeking out personal cloud storage services. If the company's IT resources aren't enabling us to do our jobs, many are inevitably going to take matters into their own hands and procure IT services from outside the workplace. Solving our own IT needs can bring about a sense of personal satisfaction.

Unfortunately, it also brings risks. Are we unwittingly exposing corporate data to unintentional disclosure or modification by hackers? Are we making it easier for cyber criminals when hosting our data on a Cloud service? How many personal Cloud drives do you have? Do you know where all of your data is being hosted? How many Cloud drives have you forgotten about? Take charge of your data today!

IT staffs would do well to pay attention to the unmet needs of their customers and employees and come up with new ways to serve them. Companies are implementing data loss prevention (DLP) strategies to prevent the unintentional or intentional leakage of corporate data. What better way to prevent data leakage in the first place than to give employees secured storage solutions which are readily accessible via anytime, anywhere, on any platform, but in a secure manner? The point is not that commercial offerings are not secure enough for personal or corporate data. The point is that employees should not be driven to solve their own accessibility challenges. That’s IT’s job.

IT’s job is a difficult indeed; one that I would not want. However, these “shadow IT” solutions can pose a threat if not properly integrated into the IT and security plans. Always keep an eye on those free cloud drives and don’t forget about them after you are done with the phone or computer. Proper disposal is the last phase of the IT life cycle and arguably just as important as defining the requirement.

I would love to hear your stories about forgotten cloud drives and do-it-yourself IT solutions – See you next month.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 19 May 2015

Are you a high school student making plans for your summer? How would you like to spend part of that time learning how to detect cyberattacks and foil those who try to carry them out?

This summer, Capitol is offering a unique, week-long camp experience for high schoolers in grades 9-12 with an interest in computer networks and how to defend them.

Capitol Cyber Challenge will be offered twice: from June 22 to 26, and from July 20 to 24. The program will include scavenger hunts and other cyber games; training in computer forensics; coding and scripting with Python and other languages; creating software robots; working with 3D printers; and other fun and informative activities. The program will run from 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.

"It's perfect both for students who are interested in cybersecurity but don't know much about it, and also for those who have had some cybersecurity experience during high school and want to increase their knowledge base," said Meghan Young, director of Admissions Operations. "They'll have the opportunity to come to this camp for a week, nine to four, and get hands-on experience under the guidance of experts in the field."

"It's a really great experience for high school students to come in and have a college experience over the summer. I think a lot of students and parents are going to be pretty excited about it," Young said.

Capitol Cyber Challenge will be hosted at the McGowan Center on the university campus. The cost for a one-week session is $500. Click here for a printable registration form, or contact Joy Exner at jlexner@captechu.edu or (240) 965-2485 for more information.

 

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