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Posted by raherschbach on 3 Nov 2016

Capitol seniors Amanda Raab and Bryant Rogers II, recipients of the 2016-17 Golf Scholarship, thanked participants Friday (October 28) at the university’s annual golf tournament, drawing attention to the opportunities opened up for them as a result of attending Capitol.

“I’m originally from a little town called Perkasie in Pennsylvania, and my family has been involved in the artesian well drilling trade for three generations. I’m the first one in my family to go to college,” Raab said. “It was a big financial decision for us, and we were nervous at first – but after the first one or two years at Capitol we realized that the opportunities I was receiving I would not get anywhere else.”

Raab, who is double-majoring in Astronautical Engineering and Computer Science at Capitol while interning at NASA-Goddard as part of a satellite mission, said scholarship assistance has been a game-changer.

“All the scholarships that are available to students at Capitol really make a huge impact on students’ lives – not only theirs but their families’ lives as well,” Raab said.

Rogers, a computer engineering senior, also spoke of opportunities arising from a Capitol education. “I have three company offers so far and am currently narrowing down my choices,” he told the tournament participants. “I’m very grateful for what you have done for me.”

While school can be stressful, Rogers says, he feels motivated to "keep striving, because that's who I am. The stress, the struggles and hardship are worth it when you finally reach that dream job."

The students’ comments came at the end of a brisk golf outing which saw 13 teams competing at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, MD. Held every year in the autumn, the event raises proceeds that then go towards scholarships awarded to students.

The tournament winners this year were the foursome of Haden Land, Larry Letow, Dave Olson and Ryan Worch. Second place went to Jason Dunbar, Greg Hustead, Colin McGee and Matt Pfouts.

Capitol president Dr. Michael Wood and his teammates Rick Todd and Dwight Yoder finished in third, while the foursome of Fred Hesser, Page Hesser, Jeff Rhyne and Melinda Bunnell-Rhyne came in fourth.

Page Hesser scored the ladies’ longest drive and the ladies’ closest to the pin awards. Among the men, the longest drive went to Dwight Yoder, while Chris Thomas scored closest to the pin.

For a photo gallery of the 2016 tournament, click here.

Blog

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.

Blog

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 jexner@captechu.edu.

Blog

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: whbutler@captechu.edu

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

Blog

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.”

 


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