Management of Information Technology

Dr. Liz Chang – 46 Years of Service

Posted by | Computer Science, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology, STEM Education | No Comments

Liz ChangDr. Elizabeth “Liz” Chang was honored with a Years in Service Award by the Hood College Graduate School at the recent Graduate Degree Recipient Reception. Retiring from Hood after 46 years, Dr. Chang has made invaluable contributions and served our students and the institution with unparalleled dedication, commitment and distinction. “Her contributions to the College are too many to enumerate fully,” emphasized Dr. April Boulton, Dean of the Graduate School, at the ceremony. Professor Chang came to Hood in 1972 to teach in the Department of Mathematics where she taught at all levels of the curriculum. Always academically curious and energetic, she became interested in an emerging field, computer science, and working with another mathematics professor, she spearheaded curricular innovations that introduced the first programming course at Hood.

Fast forward several years later, when, while teaching hundreds of students in mathematics and developing several new courses in computing, she created the Computer Science program. The growth and interest in the program was such that in the early 2000s the college established the Department of Computer Science. Professor Chang switched her focus and taught exclusively in the new department, where she served for many years as the department chairperson, designed the Web minor, helped develop master’s programs and served as a graduate program director for many years on different occasions for most of our programs. Dr. Chang was active and resourceful in bringing only the best to her students. For instance, in 2015, Dr. Chang was awarded an Academic Innovation Grant with her proposal to develop “Flipped Classroom” materials for Web Development classes, when she created materials that allowed students to explore technical content before practicing it in class and to review it after class.

Professor Chang has taught across virtually all of our undergraduate and graduate programs including courses in mathematics, the core curriculum and the First Year Seminar. Even now, her students from decades ago remember her courses fondly and never miss an opportunity to express the impact her teaching had on their lives and professional careers. Her service to the College spans more than four decades of continuous leadership and innovation. Congratulations to Dr. Liz Chang for an outstanding 46 years of service, and we wish her a very happy and interesting retirement!!

Student Profile – Kamal Saran Rangavajhula

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, International Students, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

photo latestKamal Saran Rangavajhula received his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Andhra University at Vizag in India, and decided to continue his education at Hood College by enrolling in the college’s Master of Science in Management of Information Systems (MIS). Kamal says he was not too familiar with the campus and the department but the praise he heard from an uncle, a Frederick resident, was more than enough to decide to come to Hood.

Kamal chose Hood’s MIS program because it has a cluster of science and management courses, and both are essential. “Coming from a science background I have the interest to know about Management.” Therefore, Kamal was exploring either the pursuit of MBA or MIS courses. “I didn’t really want to leave science.”, he says. By choosing the program which incorporated both IT and management classes, was a great decision and finally gave him a peace of mind.

Kamal is currently working on a research project with Dr. Carol Jim and Dr. Ahmed Salem, with the title Detection of Unauthorized Usage of User Accounts through Mouse Dynamics. This research is in the last stage, as Kamal is writing a paper on it. He believes that the knowledge he received in his classes at Hood is definitely current. “The projects that I did in my telecommunications and data analytics classes are real-time projects that we did in the class,” says Kamal. Moreover, the concept of group project gives him a head start when starting to work in an organization.

Kamal believes the MIS program is high quality as there a vast number of research projects to do in the field and the program teaches you about current, essential job markets. It is also interesting as the atmosphere rapidly changes between the management and IT classes one takes, and the program is one he would recommend to others.

From Psychology to Management of Information Systems – The Unique Journey of Jeffery Larson

Posted by | Graduate School Highlights, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

Jeff_Larson_headshotTell us about yourself…

I’m from the little town of Alexandria, Minnesota, a beautiful town, full of pleasant people, and known for housing the discredited Kensington Runestone and a 10 foot Viking statue named Big Ole. I graduated from Jefferson High School and after a variety of service and factory jobs, enlisted in the army as a microwave communications specialist. In spite of the “trial by fire” of boot camp, I look upon this time in my life fondly. I was surrounded with opportunities to better myself, and I benefitted from the support and structure. Most of all, I needed the tools to improve myself, and the military had those in spades.

Before the Army, the longest I held a job was a year and a half, and the Army always re-assigns soldiers fairly regularly. Wanting to avoid following a career because it is convenient, I decided to use my education to pursue another love: reading. I loved getting inside the characters of books, and seeing those characters develop and grow. I enrolled in Frederick Community College as an English major, but after a Psych 101 class, changed my major to Psychology with no regrets. It took a great amount of effort, but I achieved high grades, and transferred to Hood.

How has your experience been at Hood so far and why did you decide to come back?

My academic growth at Hood has been fantastic. More than that, the students and professors have been essential at growing a sense of pride in learning and achieving that I have rarely seen on such a wide scale. In my senior year, I was trying to decide where I could go from Hood to keep growing intellectually. I had tailored as much of my undergraduate career as I could to studying the various aspects of human sexuality, and spent much of my senior year looking into Masters and Ph.D. programs for psychology, but a growing desire to return to a technical career kept distracting me. Partway through my final semester, Dr. Elizabeth Chang, who taught the web design course I took for my non-lab scientific thought core requirement, noticed how much I enjoyed it. She invited me to join the Computer Science club, and later asked me why I didn’t major in computer science. Dr. Chang told me of the Master’s in Management Information Systems program, and encouraged me to apply.

When I finally applied, I saw the same things that initially attracted me to Hood. Small college, small class size, academic rigor and a culture of learning. Further, my brief time in the Computer Science Club had shown me different and interesting ways that Hood’s CS department was crossing disciplinary lines through their personal and professional interest in very human ways of using their technical expertise. Things like musical computing which showed self-expression through highly organized code, or seeing the Women’s March in DC through tweets using Graphic Information Systems (GIS). I was fascinated, and that fascination grew into a determination to fuse my two major personal interests for a career. Thanks to Dr. Chang, I knew of a place where I could learn those skills in a way that was effective for me. It didn’t hurt that I live in downtown Frederick, either.

Why MIS? Can you explain how and why you decided to make a career change from Psychology?

I love that I studied psychology, and despite the growing urge to return to a technical career, I still feel that the study of the human mind is intrinsic to my academic self, and I needed a career that fit the two. I didn’t take any management courses during my undergrad, but I do know that my interest in psychology ultimately revolves around people. In that, management and psychology have common ground. As for the technical portion, I already know I will love it, and I already know the professors at Hood have a lot to teach me.

When I realized that there are few, if any, programs that will fit me as well as the MIS degree, it became an obvious choice. I realized that there probably aren’t any programs that will both fit me and set me up for success like the MIS program will.


Can you offer advice to those students who might be in the same situation – changing their major/career? What are some of the things to consider before making that decision?

I didn’t come to this decision overnight. I labored over it, and hunted for information to ensure I wasn’t making a mistake. For anyone considering a career change, research your potential path. There is a lot to look into, like career forecasts and job growth, but just as important is to decide if you have the wherewithal to push yourself through the transition. Most importantly, will the change help you become someone you want to be, or help get you to a place where you can have the opportunity to improve in a way consistent with yourself?

What do you expect from MIS program?

While I can’t be sure where I will end up, I think the MIS degree will give me the tools to reenter a field where inactivity breeds irrelevance. Further, I think it will do so while retaining a focus on people. I think, and the DOL confirms, that this is a very in-demand skillset. I have no worries about my future employability.

 

The Specter and Meltdown Vulnerabilities: a CPU/Architecture Perspective

Posted by | Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

SpecterMeltdown-Pierce-HoodCSSpecter and Meltdown, names given to a recently discovered vulnerability that affects almost every computer chip manufactured in the last 20 years. If exploited, attackers could gain access to data previously considered completely protected. The Specter and Meltdown flaws work by exploiting two important techniques used to make CPU chips execute faster, called speculative execution and caching.

Speculative execution allows a CPU to attempt to predict the future to work faster. For example, if the chip determines that a program contains multiple logical branches, it will start calculating the values for all of the branches before the program decides which branch to take. When the correct branch is determined, the CPU has already produced the values for that branch. If the CPU sees that the same function is frequently used, it might use idle time to compute that function so it has what it thinks the answer will be ready if needed.

Caching is used to speed up memory access. Random access memory (RAM) is located on separate chips and it takes a relatively long time for the CPU to access data in the RAM. There is a special small amount of memory storage called CPU cache that is built on the CPU chip itself that can be accessed very quickly. This cache memory gets filled with data that the CPU will need soon or often. Data that is produced by such speculative execution is often stored in the cache, which contributes to making it a speed booster. The problem arises when caching and speculative execution start circumventing protected memory.

Protected memory is a foundational concept underlying computer security. It allows a program to keep some of its data private from some of its users, and allows the operating system to prevent one program from seeing data belonging to another. In order to access data, a process needs to undergo a privilege check, which determines whether or not it’s allowed to see that data.

A privilege check can take a relatively long time. Due to speculative execution, while the CPU is waiting to find out if a process is allowed to access that data, it starts working with that data even before it receives permission to do so. The problem arises because the protected data is stored in CPU cache even if the process never receives permission to access it. Because CPU cache memory can be accessed more quickly than regular memory and due to the long latency associated with privilege checks, the process can potentially access certain memory locations that it shouldn’t be allowed to access. As this problem exists in the hardware there is no direct way to correct it. Software patches have been offered to mitigate the exposure but have led to some degradation in performance of the CPU. In many cases, the software patch is targeted at a specific product and installing the wrong patch can severely impact system operation.

The most immediate action security teams and users can take to protect computer systems is to prevent execution of unauthorized software and avoid access to untrusted websites. Security policies must be are in place to prevent unauthorized access to systems and the introduction of unapproved software or software updates.

Bill Pierce

*Prof. Bill Pierce, the author of this article, is an Assistant Professor of computer science at the Department of Computer Science & Information Technology at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Computer Architecture, Digital Logic and Switching Theory, Digital Signal Processing and Musical Computing.*

Protect Yourself in 2018 with These Cyber Tips

Posted by | Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

17_CyberSecurity_Tshirt-1Each time we use our computer or device while on campus, we become a node on the College’s computer network. Being called a “node” may sound impersonal, but in reality it is an automatic assignment of personal responsibility. When it comes to computer security, a network is only as secure as its weakest link. This means that each one of us, (each node) must exercise a great deal of responsibility when using network resources and while connected on the campus network. Here are four common cases that may compromise your personal security and impact campus network security:

#1 Never Respond to Emails Asking for Personal Information
No colleague, friend, IT support professional or vendor with whom you interact should ever ask via email for account information, credit card numbers or passwords. Under no circumstance should you ever respond to such information requests via email.

#2 Never Respond to Calls about Tech Support You Did Not Initiate
A common new scam is receiving a call from a “Helpdesk” or “Microsoft Tech Support” about your computer. Legitimate technical support organizations respond to inquiries by their users, they don’t proactively call their users to “fix” unreported problems.

#3 Ransomware
Ransomware is a special type of malware. Be suspicious of any emails trying to trick you into opening infected attachments or clicking on malicious links. Common sense is your best defense. In addition, backups are often the only way you can recover from ransomware.

#4 Scam Alert: Your Trusted Friends Can Hack Your Facebook Account
If you receive a message from any of your Facebook Friends asking for urgent help to recover their Facebook account, because you are one of their ‘Trusted Contacts,’ don’t blindly believe it. Researchers have detected a new Facebook phishing scam that can trick even an experienced technical user into falling victim to the scam, helping an attacker gain access to your Facebook account.

Any of the above may compromise your system or device (e.g. tablet, phone) or allow scammers to obtain your personal information. More importantly, any of these will make you the “weakest link” in the College’s network, putting everyone else in danger of further exploitation. Computer security is, unfortunately, one more thing we must be vigilant about. But with some common sense you can keep yourself safe and contribute to keeping the campus computing environment safe for all of us.

 

By Eddie F. Hamad M.S.’18 (Cybersecurity), CISSP, CEH and George Dimitoglou, Ph.D., Program Director, Cybersecurity

How a Hood graduate degree can help you get a high-paying job

Posted by | Accounting, Bioinformatics, Biomedical Science, Business Administration, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Financial Management, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology, Professional Development Institute, Uncategorized | No Comments

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According to job and recruiting marketplace Glassdoor, nearly seven of ten people (68%) report that compensation is among the “leading considerations” when choosing where to work. In “25 Highest Paying Jobs in America in 2017,” physicians, software engineers and managers are among the highlighted highest paid jobs. “This report reinforces that high pay continues to be tied to in-demand skills, higher education and working in jobs that are protected from competition or automation. This is why we see several jobs within the technology and healthcare industries,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s Chief Economist. Therefore, one of the crucial and initial steps to take if looking into such highly paid valued positions, is to obtain the needed education for executing them.

Whether one is looking into changing a career to IT or software architecture, getting a promotion to Software Engineer Manager or starting work in the ever-growing fields of Cybersecurity or Biomedicine, the Graduate School at Hood College is here to for those seeking advancement.

For advancement in jobs mentioned in the Glassdoor research, such as Pharmacy Manager, Information System Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis Manager, Hood’s Graduate School offers degrees in Business (Accounting, MBA, Financial Management), Computer Science (Computer Science, IT, Management of Information Systems and Cybersecurity) and Bioinformatics, Biomedical Science and Geographic Information Systems, all designed to deepen intellectual understanding and to broaden competencies for career advancement. The Graduate School is also providing graduate-level courses for non-degree-seeking individuals who wish to pursue continuing education for career growth or personal interest or to sample a particular program.

Take a first step towards your dream job at the Hood College Graduate School. Contact us at gofurther@hood.edu.

The full list of Glassdoor’s highest paying jobs can be found at http://bit.ly/2EvThqd

Outstanding Student- Management in Informaton Technology

Posted by | Management of Information Technology | No Comments

i-QcFk8rK-L  Larbi Bricha, a native of Morocco fluent in French, Arabic and English, is currently the Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and Data Management in the Hood Graduate School.  Larbi has been successfully applying his data management skills acquired in the MIT program in the Graduate School office.  In addition, he has served as a graduate teaching assistant in the Computer Science department.  With his strong background in data analysis and approachable demeanor, Larbi has consistently been a leader among his peers, which also made him a natural teaching assistant to fellow students.   In and out of the classroom, Larbi’s command of data analytics and management techniques has made him the clear candidate for this year’s Outstanding MIT Student award.

Greater Maryland Graduate Women in Science (GM-GWIS) Spring 2017 Travel Award

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Computer Science, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology, Mathematics Education and Leadership | No Comments

PictureGreater Maryland Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) is the local chapter of an international organization dedicated to empowering women in science. The GWIS mission is “to build a global community to inspire, support, recognize and empower women in science. The organization strives to build a powerful international network of women scientists, mentor the leaders of today so that they can inspire the leaders of tomorrow and empower women scientists to excel in their careers.”

GM-GWIS is granting a “Travel Award” for GM-GWIS members for their participation to the DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA) Professional Development Day (PDD) on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Professional Development Day has been DCSWA’s signature event since 2006. Each year,
100 to 150 science reporters, editors, radio and video producers, freelancers, and students gather for a fun and exciting day of networking and skill-building. This year, PDD will include six panel sessions, three interactive workshops, a plenary speaker, breakfast and lunch, all-day resume coaching, and an invitation to socialize with your colleagues following the event. See the day’s agenda at https://dcswa.org/professional-development-day-2017/

Benefits of the conference and award include: A great day of fun, learning, and networking opportunities, and the honor of placing the award on your resume.

The Travel Award will cover the registration fee and provide an additional $10 stipend for travel expenses such as gas or Metro, as breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee. Up to two (2) awards may be made this year. Awardees must register and attend the meeting, and then submit receipts to GM-GWIS following the event to be reimbursed immediately. All graduate students who are GM-GWIS members are eligible. To register for professional Development Day, visit https://dcswa.wildapricot.org/event-2477067

Application Process: Applicants will submit an essay of 300-500 words that explains how they might benefit from attending this event. Applications are due by Wednesday, March 22; send your essay to greatermaryland@gwis.org; include name address, phone number, graduate school and major. If you do not receive next day e-mail confirmation of your submission, call: 301-304-0140. Awards will be announced on or before Sunday, March 26.

Applicants are encouraged to review the meeting agenda and the DCSWA website before completing their essay. Applicants do not need to be majoring in journalism or science writing. Science writing is a major part of many careers, and the information and networking opportunities of this meeting should benefit many types of STEM professions.

Application and Essay evaluation criteria:
1) Applicant is a graduate student and GM-GWIS member.
2) Essay quality:
• Writing, including grammar, structure, and use of support when needed
• Content convinces reviewer of applicant’s interest in the content of the meeting, and how it might benefit the applicant whatever her future career choice
3) Applications and essays will be evaluated by a panel of 3 or more members of the GM-GWIS Executive Committee.

* Awards may not be made if there are no applications that meet the guidelines proposed here, or if an awardee registers but does not attend the event.

 

Graduate Women in Science Establishes Local Chapter at Hood College

Posted by | Bioinformatics, Biomedical Science, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology, Mathematics Education and Leadership | No Comments

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FREDERICK, Md. — An international organization dedicated to empowering women in science is launching its 25th United States chapter Jan. 23.

The Greater Maryland Chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) will launch at 6 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons at Hood College. The event begins with an informal mixer followed by a lecture by featured speaker Col. Andrea Stahl, deputy commander of USAMRIID at Fort Detrick. Afterward, there will be a business meeting to discuss upcoming events for this new chapter.

The GWIS mission is “to build a global community to inspire, support, recognize and empower women in science. The organization strives to build a powerful international network of women scientists, mentor the leaders of today so that they can inspire the leaders of tomorrow and empower women scientists to excel in their careers.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about GWIS, visit www.gwis.org. For more information about the launch event, contact April Boulton, Dean of Hood College’s Graduate School and Associate Professor of Biology, and co-founding member of the new chapter, at 301-696-3600 or boulton@hood.edu.

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Hood College receives ABET accreditation

Posted by | Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

Hood College’s Bachelor of Science program in computer science recently received the ABET accreditation which is a demonstration of its commitment to providing students quality education. The ABET accreditation is a voluntary peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. The evaluations focus on program curriculum, faculty, facilities and institutional support and are conducted by teams of professionals from industry, academia and government with expertise in the ABET disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

This accreditation is noteworthy for students in our graduate programs who pay their way through school via tuition reimbursement from their employers. Several employers are only willing to reimburse students who enroll in schools with ABET accreditation. These employers see the accreditation as a measure of the quality of the programs at a school.

According to Xinlian Liu, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology, “this accreditation is expected to attract a lot more students to our programs, especially with our proximity to the I-270 technology corridor. We hope to see a lot more interest in our programs going forward”.

Find out more about the computer science department and programs, visit cs.hood.edu.