2016 CSIT Newsletter

UNK 2017 Robotics Mini-Golf Competition

UNK CSIT held its annual robotics competition on April 19th. This year, the robot were required to play mini golf on a 3-hole miniature golf course. The robot had to avoid obstacles along the way. The holes were randomly set up, which made navigation difficult. Four teams competed. Three teams competed in the regional MICS competition.

CSIT AI Students CSIT AI Students

New BMI app created by CSIT student Jacob McCann puts UNK student, faculty skills to work

CSIT Student creating BMI App

Collecting, calculating, reporting, filing and tracking body-mass index data for Kearney’s school children was a tedious task. That is, until Jacob McCann, a UNK CSIT student, put his emerging app-development skills to use developing a new mobile application.

After a semester of development through a unique industry-university development and internship program, Kearney school administrators and school nurses are putting the iPad app to use this fall compiling BMI student data in the schools.

The app is the brainchild of UNK faculty Kate Heelan and Bryce Abbey, who proposed the idea for the Hollman Internship Program project in December 2014. Intern Jacob McCann was selected from student applicants to work with Heelan and Abbey and experienced app-development mentors at Hollman Media in Kearney. McCann completed the app in July and has been working out the bugs this fall to see the final product, the School BMI Calculator, finished. It’s in use now.

UNK (Kearney State Collge) CSIT alum, Dr. Larry Peterson, Inducted into Nebraska Hall of Computing

UNK CSIT Alum wins award

In recognition of his life-time contributions to the field of computing and the computing industry, Larry Peterson,  Chief Architect at the Open Networking (ON) Lab, was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Computing on Thursday, April 14, 2016. Before ON.Lab, he was the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where he directed the PlanetLab project and served as chair of the CS Department from 2003-2009. In 2007, Peterson co-founded CoBlitz LLC to commercialize CDN technology developed on PlanetLab. CoBlitz was acquired by Veriue Inc. in 2010, and subsequently by Akamai in 2012. Peterson is co-author of the best-selling networking textbook Computer Networks: A Systems Approach (5e). His research focuses on the design and implementation of networked systems. Peterson is a former Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, was on the Editorial Board for the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking and the IEEE Journal on Select Areas in Communication, and served as program chair for SOSP, NSDI, and HotNets. Peterson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE, and the 2010 recipient of the IEEE Kobayahi Computer and Communication Award. He is currently working on a new cloud-based platform, called OpenCloud. Since retiring from Princeton, Peterson serves as a strategic consultant for Akamai (which acquired CoBlitz LLC, a CDN technology startup spun out of Princeton in 2008), along with his position with ON Lab.

Dr. Peterson received his B.S. in Computer Science from UNK (formerly KSC) in 1979, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Purdue University in 1982 and 1985 respectively. Thank you Dr. Peterson for your key role in making networks what they are today!

CSIT Sponsored Hour of Code for Middle School Students

December 8th, 2015, from 6:30-7:30 PM in Otto Olsen Room 110. 
UNK Hour of Code UNK Hour of Code - Complete!

CSIT Partners with Grand Island Public High School

A new partnership between the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Department of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) and the Grand Island Career Pathways Institute (CPI) is aimed at tackling the IT workforce deficit in Central Nebraska. This agreement establishes a dual enrollment opportunity for the UNK  CSIT Introduction to Computer Science course.

According to Dr. Harms, the dual enrollment with Grand Island CPI is a model that UNK plans to build on. Establishing dual enrollment programs with Central Nebraska schools allows talented students to earn college credit while still in high school. This shows these students they can be successful in the IT field, and provides them with incentive to pursue an IT-related major in college, thus impacting the number of high school students with IT career awareness, the total enrollment of CSIT majors at UNK, as well as the number of IT professionals in Central Nebraska.


2015 Newsletter

Cyber security students win regional CCDC and draw attention of U.S. Department of Defense


Congratulations to the UNK team that won the 2015 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC), for the North Center region.  The team (pictured, from left to right) includes Information Networking and Telecommunications (INT) faculty Dr. Angela Hollman, CSIT student Devin McIntyre, CSIT student Mahugnon Oliver Avande,  INT student Nery Cabrera, INT student Jesus Moreno, CSIT student Doug Perez, and CSIT student Michael Odell.

CSIT Team third at robotics competition

Ian Lim and Keathan Fertig placed third at the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium (MICS) robotics competition. Teams were tasked with designing, building, and programming a robot to locate, retrieve, and accurately shoot a three point basket. Teams were scored based on the number of valid baskets made within two minutes.  

MICS 3rd Place Winners

The team, Keathan Fertig, middle, and Ian Lim, right, are accompanied by Department Chair and Artificial Intelligence course instructor Dr. Sherri Harms.

Students learn how to effectively use social media in CSIT capstone course

The assistant director of eCampus, Steven McGahan and CSIT Chair and professor Dr. Sherri Harms created a capstone course to introduce social media as a useful tool for business and self marketing. The course includes the history, politics, and sociology of social media and concludes with a social media marketing campaign. Local businesses took part in the project, including Mosaic, the Red Cross Fort Kearney Chapter, Kearney Children's Museum, and others.

My Semester Abroad, a student travel blog

by Rachel Feddersen, CSIT Junior

Rachel Feddersen

Artificial Intelligence class names robotics competition winners

Congratulations to Michael Odell, Gerardo Quintero, Ben Bomberger, and Abi Pofahl for their first place performance at the "Tilt-a-Hurl Too" robotics competition hosted by the artificial intelligence class. 

Artificial Intelligence class names robotics competition winners

The team, pictured from right to left, are Ben Bomberger, Abi Pofahl, Gerardo Quintero, and Michael Odell. Students competed in a robotics completion in preparation for the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium.
CSIT student Ben Wagner received Northwestern Energy Scholarship
Buckle Excellence scholarships awarded to three

President Obama announces TechHire Initiative: Creating Pathways to Better, High-Paying Tech Jobs and Meeting Urgent Employer Demand Across the U.S.

In March 2015, President Obama announced the TechHire Initiative, a campaign that encourages businesses and communities to quickly train people for high-paying technology jobs. Kearney, NE is among 20 communities involved in the campaign. Dan Hoffman, the COO of the nonprofit venture development organization Invest Nebraska, said that Kearney is a good fit for the program because of the area’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem. It has a great university, and I think that it is positioned right at a crossroads in Nebraska for developing more of a technology-based economy.” In collaboration with the State of Nebraska, Buffalo County, and Kearney, Xpanxion and Invest Nebraska have worked to build partnerships with local training institutions to ensure that individuals who successfully complete their programs are connected with IT jobs – like software development and quality assurance work for clients such as The Weather Company, Sony, Red Hat, and Intercontinental Hotel Group. Through this initiative, Kearney will launch a technology incubator that will support high-growth software startups in a rural environment, bringing ideas to a low cost area with access to reasonably priced talent in rural Nebraska.

Tech Conference Lets Students Learn Hands On

In October, CSIT faculty and students assisted the AIM Institute with the youth track of the Broadband Connecting Nebraska Conference.  High school students received hands-on experience with new technologies such as the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset and Google Glass glasses. They also learned basics of creating their own games. 

Two CSIT Alumni received UNK Alumni Awards at September 2014 homecoming ceremony

Mary Vaughn (CS, 1978) received a 2014 Distinguished UNK Alumni Award

Mary Vaughn

Vaughn has an extensive background in computer science technology. She is president of Metargy Inc., currently supporting Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is also author of “The Gruntled Employee: A Holistic Approach to Creating Happiness and Success at Work,” which provides training programs for individuals and organizations to be happier and more successful.

For a number of years prior, Vaughn worked for Computer Sciences Corp., where she managed 1,200 employees and was responsible for a $150 million annual profit center. During that time, she was an account executive for Internal Revenue Service, United States Postal Service, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, DuPont, BHP Billiton, AT&T and Sun Microsystems.

Her career also includes work with ETA Technologies, where she was responsible for ensuring quality systems in place for technology developed to support NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

Vaughn has been honored with excellence awards for service provided to AT&T and Sun Microsystems. She volunteers with veteran support groups that support service members, veterans and their spouses by conducting Gruntled University Development, Personal Empowerment and Relationship Management workshops. She currently provides workshops to homeless veterans and those with traumatic brain injuries.

Angela Emrick-Hollman (CS, 2001) and her husband, Travis Hollman (2000), of Kearney, received the 2014 Young Alumnus Award

Angela Hollman

Travis and Angela Hollman started a web development business in 2000 while finishing their degrees. In 2008, Hollman Media was formed and the company hired its first employee.

Today, Hollman Media employs 10 developers, programmers and designers building award-winning websites and innovative mobile applications.

The company’s closings and alerts system has been used millions of times in the past decade. Hollman Media is currently working with Nebraska researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to produce a free application aimed at helping cattle producers identify the real-time risk potential for their livestock. The application allows producers to be proactive in mitigating stress to their livestock.

The company is also working on “The Kearney App” that is a collaboration among UNK, the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney Visitors Bureau and several other institutions in the Kearney community.

Work has resulted in recognition of a number of awards, including the 2014 Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Award. They used the money from that award to create a new digital intern program at UNK.

Angela also teaches in the Information and Telecommunications Department at UNK. Travis is an adjunct faculty member.

2014 UNK CSIT Newsletter

A bike ride to Calif: CSIT senior Neil Emeigh and Art Ed senior Seth Schnakenberg venture to San Francisco in less than 30 days.

UNK CSIT Department secures $25K software donation

The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Department of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) offers the only Information Technology (IT) Bachelor of Science program in Nebraska. Students can choose between three areas of emphases, System Administration, Web Development, or General IT.

The UNK IT major with an emphasis in System Administration prepares students for professional system administration careers. These high demand professionals are needed to run and secure the day-to-day computer operations for organizations in every industry. One of the main responsibilities of a professional system administrator is to identify computer systems’ vulnerabilities. It is critical that the UNK IT program teach students how to address this complicated problem, through hands-on experiences. Unfortunately, the industry standard tools are very expensive.

Nessus® is the industry’s most widely-deployed vulnerability, configuration, and compliance scanning software. Nessus features high-speed discovery, configuration auditing, asset profiling, malware detection, sensitive data discovery, patch management integration and vulnerability analysis. With the world’s largest continuously-updated library of vulnerability and configuration checks, and the support of an expert vulnerability research team, Nessus sets the standard for speed and accuracy. Nessus is a product owned by Tenable Network Security, Inc. The lease fee for enterprise edition of this software is $5000.00 per a year.

Through a proposal written by CSIT faculty member, Shahram Alavi, Tenable Network Security, Inc., kindly agreed to waive the cost of the lease for the Nessus Enterprise software for 5 years. This agreement is worth a total of $25,000 and provides students in System Administration and Computer Security courses with the use of state of the art software in preparation for their careers as system administrators.

UNK CSIT Receives Hardware Grant from Intel

Intel generously provided ten Intel® Galileo hardware development boards to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Department of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT) as part of their Intel Galileo University Donation Program. UNK’s proposal, written by CSIT faculty member Shahram Alavi, focused on how the Galileo hardware would be used to introduce CSIT students to different architectures and operating systems.

The Galileo computer is circuit board that’s a little larger than a credit card, and uses Intel’s low-power Quark processor. The board is a competitor to the popular Raspberry Pi open-source PC, and is Intel’s first open hardware development board. The Galileo retails for $60.

Intel believes that students everywhere deserve to have the resources and skills necessary to become the next generation of innovators. In the press release for the Intel Galileo University Donation Program, Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich stated, “Through our ongoing efforts in education, we know that hands-on learning inspires interest in science, technology, engineering, and math."

UNK CSIT students will be able to use the Galileo boards in several CSIT courses, such as Operating Systems and Computer Organization. They also can be used to learn ARM assembly language and in research projects such as in robotics, sensor networks, or embedded systems.

UNK, Central Community College partnership benefits computer science, IT students

KEARNEY – A new articulation agreement between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Central Community College aims to increase the number of information technology professionals in central Nebraska’s workforce.

The partnership streamlines the path for CCC students who complete the Associate Science transfer degree in IT to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science or Information Technology through UNK’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology.

“We are very excited about the prospect of our CCC graduates continuing their education in computer science or information technology at UNK,” said Craig Shaw, IT instructor for CCC.

Sherri Harms, UNK CSIT chair, sees the agreement as an opportunity for both educational institutions and businesses in the region. “It offers a high-quality Bachelor of Science program for CCC students and provides UNK with regional students prepared to complete their Bachelor of Science degree.”

Harms pointed to a number of statistics that show demand for computing professionals – both nationally and in central Nebraska – exceeds the current supply of graduates. They include:

  • Nebraska Workforce Trends’ 10-year outlook for computer and math occupations shows nearly 17-percent growth – or 462 jobs – in central Nebraska. Software developer jobs are expected to grow by 30 percent and add 719 jobs in Nebraska. Database administrator positions are expected to grow at 24 percent, while network and computer systems administrators are pegged for 22-percent growth.
  • Software developer was rated as the best job in both 2013 and 2014 by Forbes Magazine and U.S. News and World Report, and two other IT jobs made their lists of 10 best jobs.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22.8 percent employment growth for software developers between 2012 and 2022, much faster than average for all occupations. During that time period, an estimated 139,900 jobs will need filled.

“This agreement is aimed at tackling IT workforce deficit in central Nebraska,” Harms said. “It provides access to quality IT education to more people, and will increase the number of IT professionals in the workforce in central Nebraska.”

In 2012, there were 2,917 computing professionals in central Nebraska, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor.

The CSIT programs at UNK have strong relationships with central Nebraska employers such as The Buckle, Xpanxion and Cabela’s.
Central Nebraska businesses have earned four of the past eight University of Nebraska Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Awards, including this year’s recipient, Hollman Media.

The Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Award is designed to encourage existing businesses with a presence in Nebraska to create partnerships and links with the University of Nebraska in the area of technology.

Other central Nebraska businesses receiving the Walter Scott Entrepreneurial Business Award include: Valley Medical Management Services, 2012; Xpanxion, 2010; and Intellicom Computer Consulting, 2006. These companies rely on CSIT student interns, as well as graduates, entering the workforce.

Chase Florom awarded 2014 Buckle Excellence Scholarship

Chase Florom

The University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of Computer Science and Information Technology has named Chase Florom as its 2014 recipient of the Buckle Excellence Scholarship.

Florom graduated this spring from Lincoln Southwest High School, where he was active in Campus Life and choir. He is the son of Dennis and Julie Florom.

The Buckle Excellence Scholarship is a two-year scholarship in the amount of $6,000. The scholarship was announced in 2012 when a $150,000 permanent endowment was established in the name of The Buckle, Inc. at the University of Nebraska Foundation. The annual scholarship is awarded to students interested in careers related to computer science or information technology.

“Chase is receiving the second-ever Buckle Excellence Scholarship. He stood out for his dedication to learning as much as he can for computing, and his ability to articulate how he likes to express his creativity using the software he writes,” said Sherri Harms, chair of UNK’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology.

Florom became interested in technology at a young age, and his goal is to some day own his own software company. “I want to be part of the process of inventing new things to make the world a better place,” he said.

“Chase loves to explore and teach himself new things. He has an eye for design and an aptitude for all things technology related,” said Marge Kneifl, Florom’s computer teacher.

The Buckle and UNK Department of Computer Science and Information Technology ongoing partnership has afforded many students the opportunity to have an excellent internship experience with the company and provided many graduates with rewarding careers, Harms said.

UNK ACM sponsors Big Data expert Peter Aiken presentation

Peter Aiken

Peter Aiken, widely acclaimed as one of the top ten data management authorities worldwide, will give a presentation at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The lecture, titled “Demystifying Big Data for Better Business,” was held on April 10, 2014. This program was sponsored by the UNK Association for Computing Machinery student organization.

A practicing data consultant, author and researcher, Aiken has held leadership positions and consulted with more than 50 organizations in 20 countries across numerous industries, including defense, banking, healthcare, telecommunications and manufacturing.

He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and author of multiple publications, including his latest book, “The Case for the Chief Data Officer: Recasting the C-Suite to Leverage your Most Valuable Asset.”

In addition to being Data Blueprint’s founding director, Aiken is also associate professor of information systems at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Robotics event features 3-point shooting contest

Robots designed, built and programmed by students will compete in a basketball shooting contest at the upcoming “Tilt-a-Hurl” robotics competition at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The 12th annual event, hosted by Computer Science and Information Systems artificial intelligence students, is at 11 a.m. April 15 in Otto Olsen room 224. The event is open to the public and media.

In the competition, robots will follow Midwest Instructional Computing Symposium robotics competition specifications, which has robots shooting three-point shots on a tilted robotic basketball court.

“In the implementation of their autonomous robots, student teams use advanced programming techniques and design their robots to respond to various sensors, including gyro, tach, touch, and light sensors,” said Sherri Harms, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at UNK.

“Students must develop the interplay between the physical design of their robot and the mental capacity they programmed into the robot in solving a problem,” Harms added.

Some students in the “Tilt-a-Hurl” event will also compete in the April 25 regional MICS competition in Wisconsin, which includes students from a seven-state area. UNK won the regional competition last year.


UNK CSIT Robotics Competition Winners

The UNK CSIT Robotics Team of Travis Anderson, Tyler Neal, Naoki Ishikawa (shown above) won the regional Midwest Instructional Computing Symposium (MICS) robotics competition in La Cross, WI on April 19th, 2013. University students from the seven-state area (Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois) competed at this event.

In the competition, student teams designed, built and programmed robots to autonomously play a “capture the flag” game. On each attempt, a robot was allowed a maximum of 4 minutes to navigate the grid-maze world and attempt to capture the opponent robot’s flag and return home. Navigation of the grid-world was complicated by up to three obstacles that were placed within the grid-world. The robot that successfully achieved its mission in the shortest combined time was the winner.  In the implementation of their autonomous robots, student teams used advanced programming techniques and designed their robots to respond to various sensors, including compass, ultrasonic, tach, and light sensors. Students had to create the interplay between the physical design of their robot and the mental capacity they programmed into the robot in solving a problem.


UNK CSIT alum, Ryan Levell, who graduated in December 2012 completed an internship at Hollman Media LLC during the summer and fall of 2012. One of the iPhone apps that he wrote during his internship, My StuffFinder, was featured in a January 2, 2013 New York Times article: Ryan is now a full-time developer at Xpanxion.

Department of CSIT Receives $150,000 Endowment for Scholarships for new CSIT Students

UNK CSIT Buckle Interns

Rachel Decker and Derek McNeil (pictured above) were UNK students who interned at the Buckle in Kearney.

Congratulations to the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIT)  who received a $150,000 gift from The Buckle, Inc.  This gift endows two $3,000 scholarships for two new CSIT students who meet certain academic requirements each year.  For a full story please click on the link: 

Northwestern Energy Scholarship for CSIT Juniors and Senior students

The CSIT Department recently was informed that NorthWestern Energy will be providing a $1000 per year scholarship for a CSIT student at UNK beginning fall 2012. This scholarship will help support an upper-level CSIT student who has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.


A new agreement between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Kansas State University (KSU) will put some students on a fast-track to graduate school. The UNK Department of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIT) and KSU Department of Computing and Information Science (CIS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will speed up the admissions process for UNK students entering the KSU master of science in computer science (MS-CS) or the master of software engineering in computer science (MSE-CS) programs. UNK computer science graduates will be considered for the master’s in computer science, while information technology students will be considered for the master’s in software engineering. Dr. Sherri Harms, UNK CSIT chair, sees the agreement as an opportunity for both universities and for businesses in the region. “The MOU offers a high-quality graduate program for UNK students,” she said. “It provides KSU with regional students prepared for graduate-level research, and it provides the Midwest with computer science professionals who will likely stay in the Midwest.”Dr. David Gustafson, professor and Graduate Program director for the Kansas State CIS department said,  ”We are very excited about the prospect of UNK graduates entering our graduate program in computing and information sciences.”UNK computer science students with a 3.65 GPA or higher after their junior year will be eligible for the program. As a part of the agreement, those students will not be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In addition, once the students join a KSU-CIS graduate program, they will be reimbursed for the KSU application fee. Dr. Harms noted that there is a high demand for computer science professionals in the United States. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of computer scientists is expected to grow by 19 percent through 2020.“For the past several years, we have had 100 percent placement for our students,” she said. This trend can be seen in the growth of the CSIT program at UNK. According to Dr. Harms, the number of students in CSIT classes has more than doubled since 2007.The UNK CSIT program has a similar MOU with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln computer science and engineering department. “Having two excellent graduate programs actively seeking UNK CSIT students illustrates the quality of our programs,” Dr. Harms said.

CSIT Alumni Bob Brindamour (1994) Inducted into UNK Athletic Hall of Fame

The Gruntled Employee, a new book by CSIT Alum, Mary Vaughn

Below is an excerpt from the website:

“The Gruntled Employee” describes how to improve employee morale, how to deal with work stress and how to be an effective manager. The book gives you techniques, tools and case studies for the understanding necessary to address business success factors and employee morale. Whether you are an employee, manager or executive, you will benefit by the holistic approach in “The Gruntled Employee” for creating success and happiness at work. Disgruntledness doesn’t have to be the norm! 

Mary has over 30 years of management and consulting experience.

2011-2012 CSIT Newsletter

CSIT student places third-place at MICS  robotics competition  

Two of the UNK robots competed in the robotics competition at the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium (MICS) in Cedar Falls, IA on April 13th, 2012.  The robot designed and implemented by Rikiya Ishizaki took third place at the MICS regional competition. Shown below is Jeonghoon Yun, Dr. Sherri Harms, and Rikiya Ishizaki at MICS.

The text below is from an March 1, 2012 Kearney Hub article, The text in brackets has been added.

Two seniors in the department of computer science and information systems at the University of Nebraska at Kearney have designed and programmed an Android map application of the UNK campus. Michael Sall of Holdrege and Joel Meyer of Norfolk created the app to help people find buildings, departments and student services offices on campus. “When started, this app will capture the user’s current GPS location and through menus, allow the user to choose a destination on campus,” said department chair Sherri Harms. “The person can then follow the sidewalks or roads to reach their destination.”

The app, called Wobini MApps, is built upon the Android Software Development Kit and uses the Google Maps Application Programming Interface to display the map and geo-locations, according to Meyer. The app is available for $.99 at There is also a quick response code and printed material on the website so the app can be provided to others.

“Wobini is capable of a variety of advertising elements built into the system,” Meyer said. “These capabilities are available to the individual customer and allow for the MApp (Map App) to provide a source of revenue and to quickly gain a return on investment.” “It is important for new technology to be tested by real users and feedback provided to the student developers for improvements,” Harms said. To provide feedback about the app, contact

["Wobini" is a German slang word for "where am I?" Also in the spring of 2012, 10/11 news interviewed students about the UNK map application created by Joel and Mike. Their goal is to develop this kind of application for businesses, other schools, real-estate offices, etc.]

2012 Information Technology Career Fair Breakfast

The CSIT Department, together with the MIS and Telecommunications programs, once again sponsored an Information Technology breakfast for students and business professionals on the morning of the spring UNK Career Fairs in February 2012. Over thirty companies were in attendance—the largest number of companies yet. Companies represented included: Buckle Inc., Cabela’s, Chief Industries, Diamond Plastics, ESU-10, Intellicom, Inc., MIPS Inc., NPPD, Sandhills Publishing, and Xpanxion. This event is always a great opportunity for students to seek internships and full-time employment. Kelsey Bard, CSIT student, served as the CSIT MC for the event.

2012 Friend of the CSIT Department

Rob Harbols, Manager of Web Systems Development at Buckle Inc., was awarded the Friend of the CSIT Department for 2012. This award goes to a person or organization that has gone above and beyond in support of our programs and students.

Rob is a member of the CSIT Advisory Council. He has employed numerous CSIT students and alumni. Rob started the Buckle IT-careers internship program. He also observes and evaluates CSIT student project presentations and has made classroom presentations. The CSIT faculty is truly appreciative of all the ways Rob is a friend of the CSIT Department.

2011-2012 Invited Presentations

  • Jeffrey D. Blackmon, CISSP, CBCP, MBCI , ITIL(F) and UNK alumni presented “Information Collection Creep” on March 2, 2012 to the UNK campus. He discussed demographic data collection and where we possibly may be heading in the very near future if we are not careful. His presentation was well attended by faculty and students from across campus.
  • Garrett Kearney, a web developer for Buckle Inc. and a CSIT student, provided a demonstration on Selenium to CSIT faculty and students on Dec 7, 2011. Selenium software is a web testing software used by many companies.
  • Robert Harbols, Manager of Web Systems Development at Buckle, Inc. discussed IT-related careers and expectations from employers on November 17, 2011. Rob has worked for several companies including Kohlor, General Electric, and the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition before coming to the Buckle, Inc. Rob has several years experience as both a developer and as a manager/leader of developers. Rob has a BS in Computer Science from the University of West Florida. His presentation was well attended by CSIT faculty students.

2010-2011 CSIT Newsletter

CSIT Interactive and Generative Art Exhibition

CSIT held a free, public Interactive and Generative Art Exhibition on May 3, 2011. This exhibition was a diverse showcase of unique projects completed this semester by CSIT students. Projects included a motion-sensing Nerf turret, electronics built into clothing and augmented reality air hockey.

UNK students who exhibited their projects are listed below alphabetically by hometown: Amherst- Tyler Adelung; Columbus- Tyler McConville; Cozad- Ryan Levell; Elm Creek- Garrett Kearney; Gering- Patrick Mooney; Grand Island- Jennifer Dieckhoff and Joshua Wilson; Kearney- Paden Hogeland, Jason Webb and Adam Zheng; and North Platte- Scott Tallmage II. More information on these projects can be found at

New Agreement puts UNK CSIT Students on Fast-Track to Graduate School

A new agreement between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will put some students on a fast-track to graduate school.

CSIT and the UNL Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in January 2011 that will speed up the admissions process for UNK students who enter the UNL-CSE graduate program.

Dr. Sherri Harms, UNK CSIT chair, sees the MOU as an opportunity for both universities and the state. “The MOU offers a high-quality graduate program for UNK students,” she said. “It provides UNL with in-state students prepared for graduate-level research, and it provides Nebraska with computer science professionals who will likely stay in the state.”

Dr. Harms pointed out that there is a high demand for computer science professionals in Nebraska. “For the past several years, we have had a 100 percent placement rate for our students. The jobs are rewarding and diverse,” she said.

This trend can be seen in the growth of the CSIT program at UNK. According to Dr. Harms, there has been a 71 percent increase in student credit hour production since 2007.

“It’s the people that I’ve been working with for many years, and we felt that the programs were aligned enough to streamline the admission process similar to what they’d been doing for their own students at UNL,” Harms said.

UNK computer science students with a 3.65 GPA or higher after their junior year will be eligible for the program and will have the Graduate Record Evaluation (GRE) requirement waived. In addition, the UNL application fee will be reimbursed once the students join the UNL-CSE graduate program.


Dr. John Hastings and the CSIT Department received 15 Verizon DROID phones from Google’s AndroidEDU program in the spring of 2010. Teams of students in the software engineering class this fall developed Android applications using these phones. The two projects were a campus tour application and a location-tracking workout application (both with GPS).

Jay Powell, 2011 UNK Student Research Day (SRD) Luncheon Speaker

The 2011 UNK Student Research Day guest presenter was Dr. Jay Powell. Dr. Powell graduated from UNK with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2004. He majored in computer science and mathematics, with a minor in philosophy. He received a Master of Science in Computer Science from Indiana University in 2007 and earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University in February of 2011. His research work at Indiana focused on artificial intelligence and data mining. Jay has also worked at the United States Naval Research Laboratory under the Student Temporary Employment Program as a Computer Scientist. Following graduate school, Jay began work at PerkinElmer in the research and development division in Downers Grove, IL. At PerkinElmer Jay works with software that interfaces with equipment designed to assist researchers in health and life sciences laboratories.

While a student at UNK, Jay spent four years developing software for Ward Laboratories, Inc., a local agricultural laboratory. Jay also delved into artificial intelligence research with Dr. John Hastings. This work, in partial collaboration with fellow students Brandon Hauff and Siva Kommuri, was presented at several top-tier national and international conferences. These conferences include the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR-05), the Nineteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-04), the Sixth International Conference on Case-based Reasoning (ICCBR-05), and the Twenty-First National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-06).