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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.
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.
by Rachel Feddersen, CSIT Junior
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.
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.
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.
Mary Vaughn (CS, 1978) received a 2014 Distinguished UNK Alumni Award
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
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 WeatherThreat.com 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.
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.
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.
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:
“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.
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.
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.
Click the link below to view television coverage of the competition:
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: http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/can-your-phone-find-your-car/. Ryan is now a full-time developer at Xpanxion. Here is an Omaha World Herald article about this as well: http://www.omaha.com/article/20130205/MONEY/702059981/1016.
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: http://stories.nufoundation.org/node/1061
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.
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.
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,http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/article_f64197ca-63ce-11e1-b7e5-001871e3ce6c.html. 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 www.wobinimapps.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
["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
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.
A “Made in Nebraska” NTV video describing the event is available at: http://fb.me/Zxjvz0Hq.
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 cs.unk.edu/~csis495.
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.
CSIT ANDROID DEVELOPMENT
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).