Posted by raherschbach on 11 May 2017

Capitol Technology University is pleased to announce that Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) scholarships are being funded this year for the Fall 2017-18 school year. This scholarship program is available to students at designated Centers of Excellence in cybersecurity education, including Capitol.

Students chosen for this prestigious opportunity receive full scholarship packages including undergraduate or graduation tuition as well as a stipend ($22,000 undergraduate and $30,000 graduate) for room and board. In exchange, for each year that they receive the scholarship recipients agree to provide one year of paid cybersecurity work for the federal government after graduation.

Full-time students entering their third or fourth years of undergraduate education; students in their first or second year of a master’s degree program; and students pursuing doctoral degrees are eligible to apply. Note current DoD/Federal Civilians, Active Duty Military (Active Guard and Reserves), and students who currently have a service obligation are not eligible.You must apply through the university. The deadline for completed IASP applications is 15 May 2017. Completed applications must be submitted with official transcripts and 2 letters of reference from faculty or employers. Capitol will interview all applicants the week of 22-26 May 2017. Notification of selection will be made to students on 29 May 2017. The selected student list will be forwarded to NSA by the deadline of 31 May 2017. NSA will make the final selections by 1 August 2017.

Completed applications should be received at the following locations by midnight 15 May 2017:

The IASP student application instructions are located here. (Appendix C)

The IASP Application is here. (Appendix D)

Assistance for Students

Resume workshop: assistance:

Review times: 5/11 from 5pm-6pm EST and 5/12 from 4pm-5pm EST. To reach the Career Services department, e-mail or phone 240-965-2494. Make sure to leave a message.

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Posted by raherschbach on 11 May 2017

Professor, Astronautical Engineering

Project Hermes, a student-led endeavor that investigates command and control of satellites using the TCP-IP protocol, originated with an idea put forward by Capitol professor Rishabh Maharaja while teaching a class at the university. Since then, Maharaja has gone on to serve as principal investigator and mentor for the project, which will be included with the Cactus-1 payload scheduled for launch by NASA in late 2017.

Maharaja holds a master’s degree in Astronautical engineering from Capitol and has served on the faculty since graduation. He is deputy flight operations team lead for the EO-1 mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He spoke with Capitol Chronicle about the genesis of Hermes, its mission, and the ways in which it brings together students from multiple disciplines.

What is Project Hermes? What does it aim to accomplish?

The goal of Project Hermes is to research TCP-IP based satellite buses. It brings together astronautical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science – thus reflecting different facets of Capitol. Students from these different disciplines come together to work on a single goal, namely the design of a TCP-IP based bus architecture. Eventually, we’re hoping to add cybersecurity and business students to the team.

This project also demonstrates the link between the classroom experience and the collaborative learning experience represented by student projects. I originally came up with the concept for Project Hermes while teaching Introduction to Space during 2013, and I then mentored the student team as it turned that concept into a reality.

What makes this project unique?

It provides a proof of concept that allows for the use of commercial, off-the-shelf gear such as Android phones or WiFi modems in commanding and controlling satellites. In 2015 the TCP-IP based bus was successfully demonstrated on a Sound Rocket Flight based out of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. In 2015 Team Hermes was able to established a Wi-Fi network in space for system bus use, pair an Android smartphone in space to an Iridium-based Wi-Fi hotspot device, utilize the Iridium constellation for communication with the payload, use and program various applications available on the Google Play store to function as our Flight Software, and use TCP/IP devices (smartphone and smartwatch) on the ground as our Telemetry & Command System.

The low earth orbit flight on CACTUS-1 will allow team Hermes to demonstrate the use of Iridium constellation for a satellite-satellite link and to use the tracking data provided by Iridium for determining an orbit.

What are some of the specific roles assigned to team members from different fields?

The astronautical engineering students generally look at the satellite as a system; they determine what it needs in order to function. The electrical engineering students are responsible for devising the power scheme – how the satellite is going to be powered, and what it needs to do in order to remain power-positive and functional. They put together the battery and the solar panels – whatever is required in order for the system to work. The computer science students do the programming. They work with the astronautical engineers to determine what the payload needs in order to function, and then they develop flight software that corresponds to those needs.

In the future, we’ll have cybersecurity students whose role will be to protect assets and keep them from being hacked. We’ll also bring business students on board to oversee budgeting, allocation of hours, and other managerial tasks.

What do you see as the main benefits for students from working on a project of this nature?

They have the opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary team. They come to the table offering something that their course curriculum teaches, and then when they work with other course curricula, they learn concepts and skills that are associated with those fields. In this way, their knowledge expands.

Say I’m a business major, for example, and I find myself working with electrical engineering majors. I’ll learn something about where electrical engineering fits into the project, and this in turn can strengthen my business perspective.

What is unique about Capitol in terms of our ability to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary education? What makes us well-poised to offer these opportunities?

We always encourage student growth and exploration. In my Introduction to Space class, for instance, I often have students who are taking it as an elective. They may be electrical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science majors, and they are in the class because they want to learn something about space. Capitol allows them to take courses such as this as electives. The university in general encourages students to “think outside the box” – it’s part of our institutional culture. We’re always glad to see students investigating something that is different and at the same time related to their primary area of focus.

Students are also encouraged to come up with concepts, develop them into projects, and form multidisciplinary teams. Hermes is just one example of such a project. Various other astronautical engineering projects such as CACTUS-1 and TrapSAT also encourage inter-disciplinary collaboration.

You’ve been instrumental in the launch of Capitol’s new Space Flight Operations Training Center (SFOTC), the successor to the Space Operations Institute. How does the SFOTC foster interdisciplinary education?

As a professional flight operator, I can tell you that working with people from different disciplines is very much part of what goes on in the real world. The SFOTC, with its simulator and telemetry software, will encourage this because it will allow students from different disciplines to see how a spacecraft is flown. The SFOTC will be integrated into a variety of courses offered by the astronautical engineering program, and many of these classes will be open to students from other fields.



Posted by raherschbach on 11 May 2017

A proposal to cut energy costs and improve the student experience through improved lighting at Capitol has won the Climate Change competition sponsored by the university’s engineering department. The event was intended to raise awareness among students about the ways in which engineering solutions can be used to remedy environmental problems.

Sophia Laschiavo, Amanda Taylor, and Dean Zinetti received the top prize for their entry, which demonstrated the benefits of switching from incandescent tube lighting to an LED system. 

“The goal is to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and lower the cost of lighting and electricity,” said Zinetti, the team leader. “The easiest way to do that is to change from tube lights to LED lighting.”

“We built a physical display that included both LED lights and incandescent lights, and used a lumen meter to show the difference in luminosity. And then we used kilowatt devices to show the amperage and wattage of each set of lights. That way you can see the difference in power consumption,” he said.

“Both sets of lights use 120 volts at 60 herz, but the wattage consumption is greatly different. For the same wattage, the luminosity is two thirds greater with the LEDs. We also showed examples of other schools making the switch, and how this not only led to cost savings but had health benefits for the students,” Zinetti said.

Competing teams presented their entries during the Jump Start Juniors event at Capitol on May 5, providing the high school students in attendance with a window into the role engineers can play in addressing issues of wide societal impact.

One of the goals was to show young people that they can make a difference by brainstorming ideas and then developing them into practical projects, said Dr. Nayef Abu-Ageel, chair of the electrical engineering program at Capitol.

“We want students to take an active role and point the way forward to other students,” he said. “It’s important for young engineers to know that they can do something about environmental issues, and indeed any number of issues that are of  importance to the community.”

Funding for the Climate Change competition was provided by the National Science Foundation via the Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education Assessment Research (MADECLEAR) program.



Posted by mdwassenius on 3 May 2017

Some may be surprised to find out that Capitol Technology University hosts an annual poetry contest. After all, we’re a tech and engineering school. Students come here to learn how to code, build circuits, design apps and games, protect computer networks, and launch rockets. What does any of this have to do with poetry?

Yet the Puente Library is home to an impressive poetry collection that includes works by Billy Collins, Nikki Giovanni, Keetje Kuipers and Mary Oliver. Through April 12, moreover, the library will be hosting the 16th Annual Sandy Pisano Poetry Contest, with prizes to be announced by the library.

In fact, the gap between the worlds of poetry and technology may not be as wide as people often think. There are notable examples of poets who are also engineers – among them Richard Blanco, who read at President Obama’s second inauguration in 2012.

Blanco won praise for his inaugural poem, "One Today," which offered a panoramic view of modern-day Americans as we live, work and interact. He has published three collections of poetry and has received numerous national awards – and he is also a civil engineer by profession.

Nor is Blanco the only example. In 2010, Sarah Wetzel won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry for her book Bathsheba Transatlantic, hailed by Garrett Hongo as “a necessary book for our time.” Wetzel, whose second book won an award from the A Room of Her Own (ARHO) foundation, holds an engineering degree from Georgia Tech.

Poets are also represented in computer-related fields. In 2014, The Atlantic interviewed TJ Jarrett, a young poet who has been garnering wide acclaim. In addition to authoring two books and serving as senior editor for Tupelo Quarterly, Jarrett is also a software developer.

Jarrett told The Atlantic that working in IT provides stability and pays the bills, and also has a puzzle-solving aspect that keeps her mind occupied.

She drew parallels between coding and writing poems. Both, she said, involve “parts that come together to perform a larger action.”

In a way, blending tech and poetry, far from being a peculiar idea, makes perfect sense – poets need to cover the rent, while engineers and technologists often crave an artistic outlet.

If that sounds like you, then the Sandy Pisano poetry contest might be just the impetus you need to take a break from the lab and experiment with words and imagery.  The contest is open to all students and there are no topic restrictions. Submissions may be a maximum of two pages (many of the most memorable poems in English are under a page), and each poem should have a title. One submission per student, please.  All poems entered in the contest must be original work.

If you’d like a chance to discuss poems and poetry writing ahead of the contest deadline, mark your calendars for March 29 – the library will be hosting a one-hour workshop. And it won’t just be about food for the mind – snacks will be provided!

For more information, contact the library ( or the communications department ( We look forward to reading your poems!

Photo of TJ Jarrett is from Used by permission.


Posted by mdwassenius on 3 May 2017

Doctoral students at Capitol Technology University typically are established in their careers and their goal is to deepen their expertise in order to advance further. Many are also raising families. Online programs such as Capitol’s eliminate the need to travel to another destination in order to achieve their academic goals, thus serving students who might otherwise be hampered by geographical constraints.

“There just aren’t very many doctorates in cyber,” says Laura Black, who is completing her DSc at Capitol. ”And the ones that exist are not near where I currently live. It wasn’t feasible for me to move someplace for three years. I have a house here in the DC area; I have a family -- I can’t just tell everyone ‘ok, let’s go!’”

“I needed to find something that was either DC-based or that I could do while remaining in the DC area. 

Capitol’s DSc program, established in 2012, centers on online classes provided through an Adobe Connect-based, synchronous distance learning platform.  Black says the interactivity of a real-time session adds an extra dimension to the learning experience.

“I’ve really enjoyed the classes that we have the most discussion in. I was surprised to find that the Adobe Connect infrastructure was that versatile in terms of, say, having a group dialogue,” she said. “Some of the professors really focus on getting people to talk, on fostering that discussion and banter and camaraderie, often among people with very different backgrounds.  Because we have students from all over the United States, it’s been really interesting to see how people in say Texas or California look at things.”

Because the class sessions are recorded, she has the opportunity to review and reinforce important material from the lectures and discussions.

 “I like the fact that I can go back and replay segments if I need to – that’s really useful. If the instructor says ‘this is what I want for homework next week,’ I can put down into my notes that he said this, say, eight minutes and twenty seconds into the session. And then later I can go back and scroll through that if I need to,” Black said.

“I still take notes, but it’s good to know that if I missed something – for example, if I had to step away for a few minutes to go put my son to bed -- I can always go back and review it.”

Pictured: Laura Black with son Robbie