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Posted by raherschbach on 6 Feb 2017

Career preparation is a major priority at Capitol. In addition to offering programs in high-demand fields such as engineering and cyber, the school strives to mentor students in career-building skills and helps connect them with employers through events such as our twice-yearly Career Conference.

More than 25 area employers, including the CIA, the National Security Agency and Orbital ATK, will be participating in the Spring 2017 conference, to be held on Friday, February 17 on the Capitol campus.

“We attract a unique set of employers due to our location,” said Sarah Alspaw, associate director of career services. “Capitol is just one exit north of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and in close proximity to Fort Meade. We’re conveniently near to the many federal contractors that work out of the Annapolis Junction-Columbia area.”

The Career Conference is more than a job fair, however. Unlike events at many colleges, where students often receive little help or advice before encountering a room full of employer booths, Capitol’s conference is part of an overall career mentoring program that includes interview practice, resume reviews, coaching by Career Services personnel, seminars on business etiquette, and other career preparation activities.

This semester, the conference will feature several workshops, on topics ranging from meeting preparation to recognizing body language in interviews.

In one workshop, Samantha Van Sant –  who is pursuing a theater vocation while also serving as Capitol’s associate director of admissions – will lead students in practicing improve techniques and applying these to interview situations.

“It’s designed to help the students with interviews, in terms of spontaneity and flexibility in what they’re saying and how they’re responding to what they’re seeing," explained Van Sant. who has trained with the Baltimore Improv Group and currently works with an independent troupe, Topiary, that performs around Maryland and Pennsylvania.

“It’s important to have the ability to carry on a conversation on the spot,” Van Sant said. “Students often walk into interviews with a certain paragraph or dialogue memorized in their head, ready to go – but interviews don’t always go like that.”

For employers, meanwhile, the Career Conference brings several benefits. They know they’ll be meeting students with backgrounds in specific technology, engineering, and business fields – including astronautical engineering, cybersecurity, and electrical engineering.

“We require all of our students to attend, and we require all our students to be dressed appropriately,” Alspaw said. “It’s good for employers because if you’re looking for qualified candidates, you’ll find them. You’re not going to show up and have two hours of no one to talk to. You’ll be meeting with students who are actively seeking internships and full-time opportunities.”

The Career Conference will take place from at the McGowan Center on the Capitol campus in Beltsville, MD. Doors open at 10 am for juniors and seniors, and at 11 am for freshmen and sophomores. Workshops will be held in the afternoon, from 2pm to 5pm. You do not have to be a Capitol student to attend; the event is open to interested members of the wider community. For more information, contact Career Services at careers@captechu.edu

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 1 Feb 2017

By Sharhonda Whitfield

As many of us know, perception is everything. Sometimes our perception can be clouded by the things that we see in the media. Often times, being on social media can distort how you perceive yourself or others based on whom or what you follow.

An example of this is the distorted perception of beauty. Dove conducted research which delved into self-esteem, body image, and body confidence. They found that as pressure about beauty increases, the body confidence of a person will decrease. The study revealed that 63% of women believe that social media is influencing today’s definition of beauty.

Among other things, social media venues have become a powerful tool for marketing cosmetics. Studies show that makeup increases people’s perceptions of how likeable a woman is, her competence and her trustworthiness. Even young children have started wearing makeup. A survey done by the Renfrew Center Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to advancing the education, prevention, research, advocacy and treatment of eating disorders, found that one in five young girls between the ages of 8 and 18 have worn makeup because they have negative feelings about their bare faces.

“Companies want everybody to just wear makeup and that’s supposed to be the beautiful thing about people,” says Kyara Goodwin, a cyber and information security major at Capitol. “It’s like you can’t be natural. The fact that little kids and middle school kids are acting grown and wearing makeup is really weird.”

Meanwhile, the fashion industry has come under renewed scrutiny concerning its attitude towards body diversity. Historically, tall, ultra-slim models have been the norm, with critics suggesting the industry foists unrealistic concepts of beauty on women and girls. Recently, some have started to challenge the stereotype; in recent weeks, two plus-sized models, Ashley Graham and Iska Lawrence, were featured on major magazine covers.

In Britain, doctors have urged the media to use models with realistic body proportions instead of really thin women who, they believe, are linked to the rise in eating disorders. A report by Vivienne Nathanson of the BMA concluded that the “media can boost the self-esteem where it is providing examples of a different variety of body shapes, roles and routes for achievement for both young men and women.” In the UK, ads have even been pulled from TV because the models used were deemed unhealthily thin.

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries came under fire in 2013 after comments surfaced from an interview he did in 2006. In the interview he says that he didn’t want fat or not so cool kids wearing his company’s clothing. Sales went plummeting because of the comments made.

Capitol student Princess Wilson thinks that “the perception of beauty in media is getting better. We’re being more versatile with what we’re doing. It’s not just this little thin girl that looks she can get knocked down by the wind. It’s varying different shapes and sizes, because like you can look beautiful whatever size you are, but it all depends on how you carry yourself."

Both students agree that obsession with looks, appearance, and fashion can become unhealthy both for individuals and society at large.

"The one thing that really annoys me about the media is the common theme of what people should look like and how things should be. People are afraid to live their own lives. There shouldn’t be something that we have to conform to. It’s kind of really bland in my opinion,” Goodwin said.

According to Kyara, the incessant focus on beauty and fashion distracts people from more pressing issues in our society. “The news tries to make some things seem less important," she says, citing the ongoing controversy over police shootings as an example. "They make it seem like there isn't a serious problem."

Meanwhile, Kyara says, “the media blows tiny things out of proportion, like Kim Kardashian getting implants or how she’s lost or gained a lot of weight, things of that nature.”

The students also agree it’s important not to believe everything you hear and read. Stories concerning celebrities are not always accurate and reliable. Claims about products are often misleading, with companies promising effects that the product does not deliver.

“It’s annoying,” Princess says. “I don’t like buying a product that is advertised to do such and such a thing when it actually doesn’t do anything. Like with a lot of the products that are supposed to wash your hair, but a lot of them just make bubbles and clear out the very minimal of what you need to get out of your hair.”

Such practices, of course, predate the social media era. What’s changed, though, is that individuals have more power than ever before to engage in self-branding – posting only things that flatter us in some way, such as pictures that have been taken from the perfect angle, or edited to give us perfect skin.

Social media provides a glimpse into other’s lives – but it’s often a distorted glimpse, showing only the good things that have happened to them, or even things that did not happen at all.

When it all gets too much, some choose to unplug, taking extended breaks from Facebook and other social media outlets, or staying off of them altogether.

“Sometimes I log out of all social media and I just keep to myself. There are so many negative things on social media and things that I just don’t want to see. It’s not like I can just unfriend everyone for what they post, so I just deactivate my account for a while,” Kyara says.

Photo: Kyara Goodwin (left) and Princess Wilson. Photo by Sharhonda Whitfield.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 18 Jan 2017

By Sharhonda Whitfield

Last week at Capitol we began our spring semester. We always wonder what our students are thinking at the beginning of a semester as well as what they expect to accomplish overall. Many students just want to earn good grades or have a relaxing semester, while other students are hoping to land an internship.

Gary Visser, a sophomore and lab manager in the electronics lab, said that “preferably, I would like to get all As this semester as well as get an internship. But really I’m using this semester to kind of calm things down as far as classes are concerned."

"Last semester was pretty hectic so I kind of took a little bit of a breather this semester. So, I’m just looking to have a nice time, get some good grades, and relax before next semester kicks off,” he said.

Another student, Alexander English, said “I’m applying for an internship with a deadline in February. Hopefully I will get it.” He also hopes next semester to “take the classes that I need because they were not offered this semester.”

Many students have decided to relax this semester because during the fall semester they took six classes, or they had three or more classes in one day. Some other students are excited to be taking certain classes that interest them, such as Introduction to Astronomy, Game Theory and Design, Horror Fiction, or  Psychology. This breather will also allow them to be able to apply for many more internships and apprenticeships.

Getting an internship seems to be what many students want this semester. To help students out with this task, Capitol is hosting a Career Conference on Friday February 17th that will give students the chance to meet and talk with employers from different companies and organizations like the NSA and Northrop Grumman and perhaps have them look at their resume.

Also, Career Services has started a discussion board on MyCapitol where students can find out about available internships and full time positions.

 We hope that our students accomplish what they set out to do this semester. Welcome back Capitol staff, students, family, and faculty for another great semester.

For more information concerning career services contact Sarah Alspaw at careers@captechu.edu.

Pictured: Alexander English (right) and Gary Visser. Photo by Sharhonda Whitfield.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 13 Jan 2017

Management and Decision Sciences professor Dr. Robert Leonard joined the doctoral faculty at Capitol Technology University in Fall 2016. With thirty years of experience as a corporate marketing and communications professional in addition to degrees from three colleges, Leonard aims to build synergy in the classroom by drawing from both his business experience and academic interests.

Leonard has also dedicated significant time in his life to one of his great passions: music. As leader of the Blue Moon Big Band, he and his bandmates have toured the country, appeared on TV and radio, and even landed time on the big screen with the likes of Kevin Bacon and Renée Zellweger.

In the following interview, Leonard shared his thoughts on the management and decision sciences field, his approach to teaching, and the experiences he has gained during a rich and varied career.

What career and academic experience are you bringing to the program at Capitol?

I earned my BA in Communications from Loyola College, now Loyola University of Maryland, and followed that with an MBA at the University of Baltimore. Fifteen years later, I decided I wanted to move into teaching, so I went back to school and earned my doctorate in Applied Management and Decision Sciences from Walden University in 2014.

I’ve had a thirty-year career in corporate communications, marketing management, and public relations – a variety of disciplines that I think are intertwined and synthesize very well together, and are transferable from industry to industry. For the most part, wherever you go, marketing is marketing and PR is PR, and your job is to apply these skills to the specific industry and need. I’ve been in health care, I’ve been in tourism, I’ve been in the legal profession – all doing marketing and communications.

My biggest role was as director of communications with the International Oncology Network -- I really enjoyed the work, loved the company, and appreciated working with physicians and the staff. I left after the company relocated to Texas. Later, I worked for a winery in Pennsylvania for four years, doing business development and public relations. The perks were nice – my wife didn’t mind me bringing home the leftover sample bottles every weekend!

What are your primary academic and research interests?

I’m interested in understanding workflows better, and in how and why companies decide to undertake major organizational changes. It’s been my experience, working in the corporate world, that serious organizational issues often catch management off-guard – and I’ve long been curious as to why this is the case.  

When I was at Walden, I worked with the noted methodologist Dr. Walter McCollum. He was on my dissertation committee. McCollum got me very interested in the chicken and egg conundrum of what comes first: strong leaders or good followers. For me, this question is closely bound up with organizational change. The dynamics within an organization affect its ability to anticipate and respond to change.

What advice do you have for incoming students in the PhD program?

I’ve had new students come to me and express worry because they don’t yet know what their dissertation projects will be. They’re still trying to identify a topic. What I tell them is to narrow it down. Don’t try to take on all the problems of the world; find a specific problem to research and come up with a solution for that. You can go on and fix the world later.

How do you define “management and decision sciences”? What does the field encompass?

It isn’t a tightly defined field; to a certain extent it’s what you choose to make of it. For some thinkers in the field it’s simply about analysis and synthesis of a workflow – that’s what the science of management and decision-making boils down to. Others, though, would define it more broadly.

Part of what we do, both as educators and students, is contribute to defining and redefining the field to respond to changing needs. Because organizational needs change, the field isn’t static. Although there are major theorists, such as Maslow, whose work continues to exert a profound influence, there’s never going to be a single governing consensus as to what you do as an academic specializing in management and decision sciences. There isn’t one single thing we can point to and say, definitively, “this is it!”

The field is continuing to evolve. If we define it too tightly, we might be restricting our future thought leaders – essentially telling them they have to stay in this or that box.

What is your approach to teaching?

I see myself as a scholar-practitioner.  I’ve had a longstanding and deep involvement in corporate marketing and communications management, and my hope is that I can draw that experience into the classroom to benefit students.

I’m not a fan of lectures and I don’t present myself as a lecturer. I prefer to take the approach of being a facilitator – someone who collaborates with the students in the learning process – as opposed to talking at them for three hours, or telling them “here’s what you should know, take copious notes, and when I test you on it I expect you to spit it back.”

I want to be around people who are ready to think, who will take the concepts we cover in class and build their own management theories. The next Frederick Taylor might be sitting in my classroom, waiting to be discovered. I encourage students to fill in the blanks on their own – that’s where discovery begins. It’s more beneficial for students to learn their way through, rather than being told.

What activities and pursuits do you enjoy outside of academia and professional work?

In 1998, my wife and I started a 1940s-style swing orchestra, called the Blue Moon Big Band. We’ve played venues ranging from supper clubs in New York City to wineries to weddings throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. We’ve sold our CDs in all fifty states and thirteen countries, and we’ve been on radio and television. In 2009, members of the band were also in a movie, My One and Only, starring Kevin Bacon and Renée Zellweger where we appeared as the swing orchestra under the direction of Dan Devereaux, Bacon’s character in the movie.  So, you could say I’m one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon!

Family is very important to me. My daughter just turned 13, so she’s at an age where she not only still loves her parents but also thinks we know a lot. So I’m relishing that!

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 13 Jan 2017

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

The cybersecurity field has been in the spotlight over past months as never before. If anyone was in doubt about its significance nationally and internationally, across a wide array of arenas, those doubts should have been firmly laid to rest.

Hacking and cyberespionage became a hot-button issue in the US presidential election, yielding a swarm of allegations that continue to be investigated. In 2016, it was no longer uncommon to see cybersecurity experts debating each other on national news, and seeking to explain developments to a bewildered public.

Meanwhile, the IoT’s potential to serve as the unwitting host for cyberattacks on a massive scale was demonstrated by a pair of exploits coming in quick succession.

In September, a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attack took security researcher and investigative journalist Brian Krebs offline, shutting down his website and blog. The attack made use of an “Internet of Things” bot, Mirai, which has reportedly infected hundreds of thousands of security cameras and other devices worldwide.

Mirai is also thought to be the culprit in a massive October attack against Domain Name Services (DNS) provider Dyn. Dozens of services – including Paypal, Twitter and the websites of leading newspapers and broadcasters – were forced offline.

Is it going too far to speak of a “Digital Pearl Harbor”? Probably not. While cybersecurity experts have long been warning about the risks, awareness has been slow to take root among the general public.

Recent events will hopefully serve as a “wake-up call” and create the sense of urgency needed to address long-standing security issues – including a burgeoning array of risks associated with IoT devices. The need for well-trained cybersecurity warriors has never been greater, and you can join the fight by enrolling in one of Capitol's cybersecurity degree programs, designated as Centers for Excellence by the National Security Administration (NSA).

The challenge to cyber security professionals everywhere is how we secure millions of legacy devices which are already performing important functions within our critical infrastructure and our homes. Academia is beginning to address this issue with awareness campaigns and applying systems engineering processes to system lifecycle support, which includes the concept phase of a new device.

These heady times in the cybersecurity arena coincide with a milestone for Capitol: in November, the university commemorated the 15th anniversary of its groundbreaking master’s degree program in network security, which ultimately grew into the undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity programs we offer today.

Two of the program’s founders – Professors Charles Cayot and David Ward – were on campus for a special ceremony honoring their contributions to the field and to the university. It was an opportunity not only to look back, but also to chart the course forward.

The cybersecurity faculty have been busy getting the word out, with recruiting trips to Fort Gordon and Augusta Technical CC to speak and recruit new students; attendance at the IoT conference in Chicago; and presentations to cyber security students at Volunteer State CC and Delta College.

The department also held its first-ever cybersecurity poster contest, which was won by Sean Mullin and Leif Heaney – both of whom major in disciplines other than cyber!

And, as always, we continued to subject our curriculum to rigorous review, upgrading as needed in order to ensure the education our students receive reflects the most current challenges in the field.

Cybersecurity is entering another era; one that which challenges all disciplines to address the IoT issue head-on and solve it before we’re attacked and our critical infrastructure devastated by a sea of compromised IoT devices.

For more information regarding our cybersecurity programs, please contact Joy Exner at jexner@captechu.edu or click here.

 

 


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