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2014 UNK CSIT Newsletter


Two CSIT Alumni to receive UNK Alumni Awards at September homecoming ceremony

Mary Vaughn (CS, 1978) will recieve the 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, will receive the 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 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.


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


UNK CSIT Receives $25,000 Security Software Award from Tenable Network Security, Inc.

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.