Posted by raherschbach on 26 Aug 2016

Due to inclement weather in the area, the 9th annual Capitol Technology University Scholarship Golf Tournament has been rescheduled from its original date of Friday (September 30).

The event will now be held on October 24 at Turf Valley in Ellicott City, MD.

Each year, this exciting event raises funds to support the growing needs of students and ensure they have the financial support they need to realize their academic goals.

The tournament also helps build rapport among different members of the college community, including sponsors, trustees and college administration, faculty and staff, as well as students and alumni.

Registration for a foursome is $500. For an individual, the cost is $150. Non-players may register for $50. For full details about the event, and a link to registration and sponsorship forms, visit our Golf page or send an e-mail to

The tournament has three main purposes, says Capitol Technology University's president, Dr. Michael T. Wood.

“One, it raises money for our students. The major purpose is fundraising, to provide scholarship support and financial aid. Two, it’s a great opportunity to have some social camaraderie with our constituents and our supporters. It gets a lot of people who are members of the extended college community together for a good social time,” Wood said.

“Third, it brings us greater community visibility. Being out at a local golf course community enables us to generate contacts and relationships with people from various walks of life who are active in that community,” he said.

Registration costs cover not only the greens fees and equipment, but also a continental breakfast, lunch, and beverages on course. Each participant will receive a golf shirt marking the occasion, along with a sleeve of golf balls bearing the name of the college. An awards ceremony will be held after play is concluded.

The event will take place at one of the region’s premier getaways. Set among central Maryland’s rolling hills, Turf Valley boasts stunning autumnal scenery in addition to all the amenities of a top-class resort. Besides two 18-hole courses, it is home to a spa, a conference center, and a restaurant specializing in fusion cuisine.



Posted by raherschbach on 15 Aug 2016

By Dr. Michael T. Wood, President, Capitol Technology University

They don’t need GPS to figure yardage to the hole.

Their mastery of trajectory, slope and wind variation allows them to always choose the right club.

They know the number of dimples on golf balls for best aerodynamic performance….ditto for grooves on golf clubs.

They know how to put a small round ball into a slightly larger round hole.

They have plenty of time to think about the next technology solution as they walk or ride 100 – 200 yards to their golf ball 18 times.

Golf appeals to their spirit of perfection.

Still, they can shoot a “10” on a hole without swearing…much…I think.

They appreciate golf as an eco-friendly endeavor (so long as divots are replaced and ball marks repaired).

The game gets them away from their computers for a while (unless they’re carrying one of those automated scoring devices).

Golf awakens their individual potential for achievement and their social skills, playing with three others for four hours or so.

There is always a laugh or two, at the expense of somebody’s funky shot off a tree or in the water.

They understand why an 18-hole round of golf requires 19 holes.

And, because golf is a SCIENCE!...or an Art…or both.

So, Geek or other – Registration is open for Capitol's 8th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament for Scholarships. Get a foursome (or we’ll put you in one) and sign up. It’s an opportunity to have fun in the great outdoors and enjoy camaraderie, along with a bit of athletic pursuit that anyone can do. Weather at the end of September should be grand, and the course at Turf Valley will be in great shape. Enjoy continental breakfast, golf and lunch with fellow students, staff and friends of Capitol. All net proceeds go to scholarship support of our students. September 30, 2016, 9am tee. Contact Dr. Donna Thomas at or 301.369.2543.


Posted by raherschbach on 15 Aug 2016

NASA’s Orion program anticipates human travel to the “Red Planet” by around 2035. And when that happens, Carl Hansen hopes to be on the ground control team.

“That’s my life goal: to be on the flight operations team for the first manned mission to Mars,” says Hansen, a 2016 graduate in astronautical engineering.

An Avrum Gudelsky scholarship recipient, he has furthered his aspirations both at school and in his career by gaining a wealth of practical experience in systems engineering. While at Capitol, he was part of Project HERMES, which is developing a system that uses the internet protocol to control high-altitude payloads. He participated in the RockOn! and ROCKSAT-X programs, helping to build the Hermes payload for a rocket launch provided by NASA.

Currently, he works for Honeywell as a console engineer, assisting with the Aqua and Aura satellites on the Earth Observing System mission. “We have twelve hour shifts, either day or night. Typically I’ll come in and monitor the spacecraft passes, make sure that the spacecraft downlinks its science data properly. If there’s an issue, either with the ground stations or the spacecraft, you have to troubleshoot.”

Internships while completing his degree helped Hansen make a smooth transition from school to job. “I’ve been working in control centers for three years now, while also studying at Capitol,” he notes. “My career and my education have gone hand in hand. There have been times when I’ve learned things at school that I’ve been able to apply immediately at work, and times when I’ve learned things there that I could then take with me into my classes at Capitol. I’ve learned simultaneously both here and there.”

“I’d like to become a systems engineer on a manned mission. Towards the future I’m going to be looking at the International Space Station, and potentially the Orion program.  Systems engineering for human space flight is really, really cool,” Hansen said.

It’s an interest that first burgeoned during his teen years, when Hansen and his friends built Lego spaceships and imagined what it would like to be inside one, flying towards the stars. Later he had the experience of encountering a highly realistic space environment created by a Newtonian space flight simulator. By his junior year in high school he knew he wanted to become a space flight engineer; the only question was which school would provide the best opportunities.

He considered several options in the region, but a visit to the Capitol campus made the decision easy.

“After touring Capitol and seeing the Space Operations Institute when it was acting as a backup control center for the TRMM and TOMS-EP missions, I realized that Capitol really had it together,” he recalls. (While both TRMM and TOMS have ended, the SOI continues as the home of a newly launched Space Flight Operations Training Center).

While many schools offer broad programs that cover aerospace as well as astronautical engineering, Capitol’s program is focused specifically on astronautical – allowing students to delve deeper and acquire expertise more quickly.

“Many of my fellow team members say they had to take courses that aren’t really related to what they are planning to do. At Capitol, by contrast, we had more in-depth classes that get you ahead in terms of space flight operations and space systems engineering. Some of those highly specialized classes, such as spacecraft dynamics and control, spaceflight communications, or orbital mechanics, are considered by many to be graduate-level classes. Being able to take them as an undergraduate put me farther long in my education.” Hansen said.

“They really train you well to become a space systems engineer,” he said.


Posted by raherschbach on 10 Aug 2016

Receiving data from CubeSats and other Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites can be tricky: their passes over a given location last only a few minutes. That’s not enough time to download images and other large files.

This summer, Capitol students and their counterparts in the university’s Brazilian summer exchange program were involved in a project designed to address this problem.

The solution? Create a network of satellite ground stations around the globe, linked by computer and equipped with software that can co-ordinate the sharing of data – thus allowing a user in one part of the world to communicate with a satellite even when it is no longer in range.

The SatNOGS network, launched in April 2014, currently has three live ground stations, with several others in development.  It was designed with experimenters in mind, with stations that can be constructed for under $500 using readily available tools and the help of a 3D printer.

As it expands, the network will be able to provide vastly enhanced capabilities for retrieving status and telemetry signals as well as payload data from a wide range of LEO satellites, including the International Space Station (ISS).

“SatNOGS consists of a group of stations that are connected to the network; through the web you can download data from satellites even when they are not flying over your ground station,” explained Jonathas Kerber, who studies computer engineering at UFAM-Universidade Federal do Amazonas and was a participant in the Capitol summer exchange program, dubbed Capitol CubeSat Intensive. “If it’s within range of another ground station in the network you can still access your satellite, which is very helpful.”

Adjunct professor Nathan Weideman supervised the project, with Capitol students Xavier Allan and Jackie Cleves serving as teaching assistants. In addition to preparing documentation for SatNOGS, Allan and Cleves constructed a dome that will house the antenna system on top of the McGowan Academic Center and protect against weather hazards.

Weideman says the SatNOGS node will be an asset to ongoing satellite projects at Capitol – including TRAPSat, which is focused on collecting space debris with the help of aerogel.

With TRAPSat, we want to be able to retrieve images, Weideman noted. “And that requires constant contact with the satellite. Normally when you’re in LEO you get 7 to 11 minutes, as it passes over you, and that’s it. And often that’s just not long enough to download the data. With enough of these stations, in theory, you could have an orbit that’s constantly in contact -- so you can push things down like photos.”

Kerber, who worked with the antenna controller and tracking software, says the summer program experience was valuable because he’ll be involved in similar activities when he returns to Brazil.

“I will be a ground station manager at my university, and this was a first try that gave me an opportunity to see what should and shouldn’t be done. With this experience, it will be easier to get a team together and make things work quickly,” he said.


Posted by raherschbach on 8 Aug 2016

Ken Mayer has devoted much of his professional life to designing curricula and course content, and in developing ways to deliver them to students. He learned database programming while still ­­­­in high school, and maintained an interest in computer science while majoring in Greek and Latin during college. He was involved with an internet startup, delivering courses to high schools, prior to joining Capitol Technology University. In addition to supervising the university’s online education platforms, he is a member of the adjunct faculty, teaching mythology and other humanities courses.

Capitol embraced online education early on and continues to show a strong commitment to this mode of delivery, especially at the graduate level. Why?

The interaction between our professors, who are working professionals, and our students, who also are often professionals in their fields, is a key component of our success as an institution.  That’s why Capitol was an early adopter of online technology. Because we’ve wanted to have professors who are working, they needed to be able to teach in the evenings. Our students, too, are often only available in the evenings. Online was a natural outflow of that. We’re still very much about professionals teaching professionals, and it makes sense – in this fast-paced world – to do more things online.

What is the guiding philosophy beyond Capitol’s approach?

The key terms would be “live” and “interactive.” That was something that was missing in my previous job, where we were sending out course materials without getting any data back. These were primarily asynchronous, work-at-your-own-pace materials, and we had no metrics available on how students responded to the materials.

When I came to Capitol and looked at examples of the classes being offered, it was great to see that students were engaged and interested in responding in real time, and that the professors were responding to them. I see that as something unique about the Capitol experience, in comparison to a lot of other online programs.

Do you see a role for asynchronous delivery? Are there situations where asynchronous would be appropriate?

Sure. In fact, a lot of our courses are blends of live and asynchronous.

What do you see as some of the stand-out capabilities of our distance learning platform?

What really stands out is how the professors use it. When we have, for instance, faculty members  teaching cybersecurity, they will use the capabilities of our live platform in order to have students share their screens and work together on programming, live. They might collaborate in a diagnosis of malware in a virtual computer, with one student logging in to the virtual machine and sharing the screen to the class so that everyone can work in real time on diagnosing the problem. Meanwhile, the professor will be there, commenting and showing the students where they are on target or going off track. The professor can also take over control, if needed. So it’s hands-on in a way that’s actually not even possible in a traditional classroom.

How did you become involved in distance learning?

I started out as a database programmer in high school, then went to college and studied Greek and Latin – while still keeping up with computer science. In the early 2000s I was involved with an internet startup, delivering courses to high schools, and after that I came to Capitol. I’ve done a lot of work in designing tests and curricula, and in developing ways to deliver them to students.

Where do you see distance learning going in the future? What’s on your wish list?

I’d like to see more in the way of interactive quizzes and other assignments that can be incorporated within the live classroom. There are vendors with products that would enable us to conduct quizzes in Adobe Connect and then bring them back in and grade them – and this feature would even be accessible to students who listen to the recordings of the class session, as opposed to being there in real time.

Currently, our class recordings are useful supplements – allowing for review or reinforcement – but they don’t always work well as stand-alone materials. That is, you wouldn’t offer the recorded sessions on their own, without the context of the live class. I’d like to see us give more attention to developing recorded material that would work asynchronously as well as live. The software needed is not expensive; the challenge is producing the content.