Spotlight: Fabian Bouchal

Fabian Bouchal is an exchange student from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus who is currently studying abroad at CNU. He is a Computer Science major who is currently in the second to last semester of his Master’s program.

1. What made you want to pursue studying abroad at CNU?
“When I made the decision to study in a foreign country for one semester I rather quickly made up my mind that I wanted to go to the United States. I had never left Europe for a long period of time, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. I then looked into the universities in the US that had formed a partnership with my university in Austria, one of which was CNU. One of the major reasons why I choose to apply to CNU was the fact that it is a rather small university, compared to other ones in the US. Since my university in Austria is even smaller than CNU, I thought I would be able to settle in and adapt to a smaller university much faster and easier, and as it turned out, I was right.”

2. Did you have any difficulties during the application process?
“The fact that CNU is a partner university of my university in Austria made the whole application process significantly easier. Nevertheless, since everything was new here for me, there were some difficulties I had to face. The main problem was that I had to hand in so many different forms and certificates, like financial records, proof of insurance, etc. that it took me a long time to gather all the documents that I needed. Thankfully, Ms. Lyn Sawyer from the Graduate Admission and Records office, helped me out with all my problems and made my life a lot easier.”

3. Was the transition difficult? How do you feel about your studies here in comparison to Austria?
“Although I did not have any real struggles adapting to studying at CNU, there are a lot of differences to what I am used to from studying in Austria. The main difference is how the classes are scheduled. Here at CNU each class is scheduled two or three times a week for a period of 60 or 75 minutes. In Austria we usually have one block per class lasting three to four hours. Each day we have just one of these blocks and for every class we have about ten of these blocks in ten consecutive weeks.
Once we have had all blocks for one class we take a final exam which makes up around 60%-100% of the course grade, so that is another difference in that we do not have Midterms and Finals and potential other quizzes as part of our final grade.
I have not decided which “system” I like better yet. In my opinion the both have their advantages and disadvantages.”

4. Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying abroad themselves?
“The most important piece of advice is “do it”. I know it may seem scary at first moving to an unknown location for one or two semesters, and it might sometimes cause you headaches making all the arrangements but it is worth all that trouble once you are there. In my opinion spending some time abroad really broadens your horizon and lets you make experiences that are truly priceless.
Other than that, I think it is really important to start early with gathering information and start the application process for a semester abroad as early as possible. The sooner you start, the less stressful it will be towards the end.”

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Ellucian employee Jillian Terrill and intern Alec Keller speak to a student

Ellucian employee Jillian Terrill and intern Alec Keller speak to a student

Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind was presented by the worldwide software company Ellucian. Ellucian is the leader in education technologies and services with institutions in 40 countries and helping over eighteen million students. You may recognize them from their work on our very own CNU Live page! The company also deals in mobile apps, with a heavy emphasis on supporting students and educational systems, and cloud based infrastructure. Operational efficiency and student success are part of the core goals of Ellucian. Ellucian employee Jillian Terrill,
Assoc. Recruitment Coordinator for University Program, gave a brief intro before allowing others to speak.

Former Ellucian intern Alec Keller, a senior Computer Science major here at CNU, gave the bulk of the presentation along with fellow intern Logan Cook. Keller went into detail about the various projects that were worked on by various groups during the internship project. The projects included work with cloud based infrastructure, a virtual reality app, script writing, and other back end development work. Cook, a CNU psychology major and HR intern at Ellucian, added that interns are paid and exist in numerous fields including Computer Science, HR, RND, and Sales.

You must be enrolled in college in order to work as an Ellucian intern. If you have recently graduated from college then you will be considered part of the full time college hire program and be assigned a mentor. The company provides travel opportunities and training as well as an effort to balance the job while allowing plenty of time for a healthy home life. If any of the above interests you then positions are posted starting in January. Be sure to check them out and apply!

For more information check out the official site below.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind


Sophomore, Drake Cole chatting with Thomas Hughes

Hello Captains!  Thursday, November 3rd, Marty Smith and fellow CNU alumni, Thomas Hughes from AMSEC came to present at Pizza My Mind.  AMSEC provides services to support the sustainment of the US Navy Fleet of ships and emerging commercial ships from conception to retirement.  In other words, they maintain US Navy Ships to increase their lifespan. AMSEC services offer Maintenance Modernization, Information Technology Services, Logistics, Engineering, and Training.  They are located in 35 places world wide!

What are the benefits of working for AMSEC?  According to Thomas, AMSEC is a great place to work for your first job.  They provide you with a security clearance and you can get your skills up to date if planning to apply to other companies.  There are many travel opportunities and the company is very fast paced so you will never get bored.  Marty believes that one of the best reasons to work at AMSEC is because the job is so consistent.  This means that it is very unlikely for people to get laid off because ships will always have to be maintained.  It sounds like AMSEC is a great place to work for a long term or to use as a gateway to other job opportunities.

What does AMSEC look for in an employee/intern when hiring?  AMSEC is looking for candidates that have excellent communication skills because a lot of projects are done in teams.  This means that you must be a team player and work well with others.  Other traits mentioned were being flexible, adaptable, creative, and innovative.  Also, listed under each job description on the website, is the certain technical skills one should have when applying to the position.

AMSEC is now hiring interns who are preferably rising seniors.  There are usually 2-4 internship positions each year.  To apply you must go to  In addition to applying online, Marty suggested that you make a phone call to the HR department at AMSEC to better your chances.  They also do on-campus interviews here at CNU.  So get out there and apply so you don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

What you missed at Pizza My Mind!


Hello Fellow Captains!

Last week’s Pizza My Mind was presented by our very own Faculty and Students from CNU’s Five Year Master’s and NSF REU programs. I am sure you are thinking “why would I want to stay in school?!” Well fortunately there are a variety of benefits to furthering your education beyond your Bachelor’s Degree. Some of these benefits include: higher salary, lower unemployment rate, expand your knowledge (yes learning can be fun), work closely with your favorite faculty member, and just enjoying an academic schedule strictly focused on your area of interest.

Why choose CNU to further your education? CNU is located near many research facilities such as the Jefferson Lab and NASA. Also, CNU has a variety of options/topics that you can chose from to write your master’s thesis on. For example, cyber security, virtual reality, and nuclear physics. Also, earning your masters is a stepping stone towards your PH. D. During the presentation graduate students David Hamblin, Matt McCarthy, Tim Giles, and John Hayhurst shared with us some of their favorite parts of CNU’s program and how they are still involved with campus and would be great resources for any questions you may have!

The applications will become available December 1st for the Bachelor’s to Master’s students (CNU Juniors, only) and July 1st for the applicants applying to the Traditional programs. The deadline to apply to the graduate program per term can be found here! For addition information on the program as a whole, click here! Also, you can email Dr. Heddle (

The National Scientific Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates is also another way to get involved with ongoing research. Through this program you can apply to a variety of different locations and research topics and the best part is that it is a paid position! For more information on where to apply and more specific details visit:

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Hello Captains! Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind event was hosted by Midnight Status, a company that develops software and software solutions. The name “Midnight Status” refers to when gamers would attend a midnight release for video games. Great excitement and enthusiasm for entertainment is what fuels this company. They’re not just a gaming developer. They help clients with their IT needs and develop apps for business, government and entertainment purposes. Their services range from design work such as graphic design, 3D modeling and web development, to solutions such as cloud-based enterprise architectures, modeling/simulation and mobile advertising. They’re also pushing the envelope in innovations such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

Our host, Jeremy Alessi talked about a few of their successful accomplishments, in particular, the Tunnel Traffic app (2010) and Airspin (2012), a flight simulation mobile app game. You can find these apps in the App Store and at one time they were rated number one. Midnight Status also has a video chat where you can live stream gameplay. Interested in an internship or connecting with the Game Developing Community? Contact Jeremy at


Check out Midnight Status website for more information:



Spotlight: Adam Fendley

Adam Fendley, a junior Computer Science major and PLP ambassador here at CNU, will be spending the spring semester abroad, studying at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus. He is also the lucky recipient of the Ernst Mach Grant, which will help defray the cost of studying abroad.

Adam and his father in Rosenheim, Germany.

Adam and his father in Rosenheim, Germany.

How did you find out about the study abroad opportunity?

“I found out about the study abroad opportunity through the PCSE department last year, when there was an email sent out about the potential to study in either Rosenheim, Germany or in Hagenberg, Austria. I responded to the email and set up a time to meet with Dr. Riedl who has organized both of these exchange programs, and we thought that the opportunity in Hagenberg would be a good fit for my Computer Science studies.”

What was the application process like?

“The application process was very easy because the relationship between the two universities had already been established by Dr. Riedl, and he helped tremendously in guiding me through the process. Some of the more difficult aspects of the application were deciding what classes I could take and how they would apply to my progress at CNU.”

What made you decide to study abroad?

“I had known for a long time that I wanted to study abroad in college, and I have been particularly interested in the Germanic countries because my dad spent several years in Germany after graduating from college. Hearing what his experience was like I knew I wanted to do something similar, and having the opportunity to learn German here and then go spend a semester in Austria is amazing to me. I’m planning on using the full 6 months allotted on my visa to travel Europe, and I hope to have a lot of new experiences. While there’s a lot of things I’m missing here while I’m gone, I’m really excited to do something new.”

Can you tell me about the scholarship you’ve been awarded?

“The scholarship I was recently awarded is the Ernst Mach Grant, I applied for the grant in March of last year, and got a lot of help from the university in Austria in the application process. Dr. Riedl and Dr. Flores were kind enough to write letters of recommendation for me, which was a huge help. In June I was notified that I had been awarded the grant, which will be a 940 Euro / month supplement to my studies there.”

Do you have any advice for others going through these application processes?

“I think the biggest thing is just to decide that you’re going to study abroad. I made that decision Freshman year and went looking for opportunities, and eventually came upon this one. CNU makes the actual paperwork pretty simple, so you don’t have to worry too much about the process. My next challenge will be transportation logistics, but as it gets closer it just gets way more real and exciting!”

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Mark Liljeqvist, a Systems Engineering Director at Swisslog, speaks to a student.

Mark Liljeqvist, a Systems Engineering Director at Swisslog, speaks to a student.

Hello Captains! Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind Event was hosted by Swisslog, a global company focusing on automation solutions for hospitals, warehouses, and distribution centers. Swisslog employee, Bill Leber gave a brief opening statement on the company’s solution providing philosophy before passing the mic onto speakers on behalf of each of Swisslog’s core departments.

The first speaker, Mark Liljeqvist, is a part of Swisslog’s System Engineering and Consulting branch. Employees in his field will specialize in making strategic decisions related to supply chain aspects and picking to correct technologies to get the job done efficiently. The primary technologies used by Swisslog include their in house software Warehouse Manager and other technologies such as QuickMove, ProMove, and related hardware.

Jonathan Harmon then took the stage to discuss his branch of the company, Controls. Controls allows for a large amount of experience with low level hardware and high level software through in office testing of layouts for new projects. Most of the testing is done through emulation of the site in question. The controls branch also offers significant travel opportunities in multiple countries for those interested.

Third on the list was Kahmeil Brown with the Global Help Desk. Work at the Help Desk is heavily based around monitoring customer sites and assisting in root analysis of potential down times. 99.7% of all issues are resolved remotely to offer the freedom to work in multiple locations. The help desk is also a major starting point for other career paths within the company including project management positions, data administrators, and analysts.

Finally, Bill Stewart, of the Software engineering branch, closed the presentation. Stewart discussed a recent reorganization into the North American Software and Controls Hub which will provide many new opportunities for CNU students! In the software engineering section of the company Warehouse Manager 6 will be the most used software which allows a large amount of customization for specific projects to use as they please. Manipulating WM6 is a major focus of any position in software engineering.

Swisslog is currently looking for interns to work on projects in groups throughout the semester and following summer. They have hired CNU students in the past so make sure to look into them especially if you are a junior or senior as they take priority during the hiring process. Swisslog is also hiring full time employees. Check out their site for more info.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind


Mandy Rogers presenting at the seminar

Hello Captains!  OnThursday, October 6th, the PCSE department hosted Northrop Grumman for Pizza My Mind.  Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide.  We were lucky to be visited by a former Christopher Newport alumna, Mandy Rogers and Vice President of the Intelligence Solutions Business Unit, Ms. Ginger Wierzbanowski.

Northrop Grumman is a very large defense contractor but they are also involved in their local community.  Half of the company is based on technical work and the other half is focused on leadership. One of their biggest outreach missions was the creation of prosthetics for individuals who cannot afford them. They are also involved with gaming, cyber intelligence and biometrics. Northrop Grumman’s Biometric Ecosystem is a comprehensive range of biometric intelligence solutions currently being used for military, law enforcement, counterterrorism and border control.  In addition, they work on collaborative projects partnering with over 60 different companies including Lockheed Martin, MITRE Corporation and BAE Systems just to name a few.


Haley Currence speaking with Mandy Rogers

Mandy Rogers graduated in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science.  She started interning at Northrop Grumman during her junior year.  She became a part of a rotational program within the company and has worked in more than 10 different states.  Teamwork, Mentors, and a little failure got her to where she is today.  Mandy stated, “One has to embrace their failures in order to succeed”.  What she valued most about CNU is her liberal arts education. She believes that is what makes her a better employee and critical thinker.


Jonah Lazar speaking with VP. Ginger Wierzbanowski

Ms. Wierzbanowski is the Vice President of Intelligence Solutions Business Unit. She has extensive expertise in both domestic, international space, defense policy, and military intelligence.  Before working at Northrop Grumman, she served in the Air Force for 20+ years. She highlighted the importance of being a well-rounded individual and noted the importance of having communication skills.  “Make sure you know how to communicate or no one will listen to your ideas if you can not sell them”.

Northrop Grumman is now accepting applications for summer internships and full-time jobs.  If you are interested, students should go to:  Please come out to the next Pizza My Mind so you do not miss great presenters like Northrop Grumman!  Pizza My Mind is hosted every Thursday at 12:20 p.m. this semester.  See you there!


Inaugural Womens Mentorship Program Kick-Off


Two students meet their Mentor for the first time

Hello Captains!  On Monday, September 12th, CNU’s PCSE Department hosted its Inaugural Mentorship Program Kick-Off reception.  The event took place in the Luter Hall Atrium where students and mentors came out to learn more about this new program, and to meet each other face-to-face for the first time.  The initial group consisted of only female students and mentors as the program came from an idea from the newly established SWE, Society of Women Engineers chapter last year.


Dr. Nicole Guajardo speaking at the event

The Dean of the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Nicole Guajardo gave a warm welcome to all and remarked about the importance of students taking advantage of opportunities such as the Mentorship Program to enhance their educational experience.

The Mentors come from a wide variety of known companies such as NASA, Newport News Shipbuilding, Canon, Riverside Hospital just to name a few and most hold positions such CEO and Managers in their respective fields. At the kick-off event we learned that the mentor/mentee relationship can be as formal or as informal as we see fit. A few suggested activities included conversations over coffee, a campus visit at CNU or to the Mentor’s place of business, resume critiques or even good book recommendations.


Sadie Rynestad with her new Mentor from Canon

What are the benefits of having a Mentor?  Mentors share their knowledge and experience and provide students with encouragement, insights and possible career advice.  They can provide a realistic perspective of the workplace and offer advice, knowledge, and networking tools to the student.  Not only does the Mentee benefit from this program but the Mentor can too.  For many, mentoring can offer a great satisfaction by helping a student reach their professional goals and sharing their knowledge with eager students.

The PCSE Department hopes to open this program to all PCSE students next fall.  As stated above, there are many benefits of having a professional Mentor.  You don’t want to miss the sign up next fall for this great experience!


What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Hello Captains! Last Thursday we had MITRE come and speak to us about the opportunities within the company. Internships at MITRE will have you working side by side with other interns and full-time staff. Interns will do direct sponsor work and be full team members. Prime candidates are not only computer science majors. They are looking for problem solvers, someone with a diverse background, someone that is part of extra curricular activities, and has passion for technology.

What is MITRE? MITRE was established in 1958 to serve the public interest. They are a not-for-profit which means the organization uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization’s shareholders. They work in partnership with the government,applying systems engineering and advanced technology to address issues of critical national importance.They focus on innovation, collaboration and results.



SArah Clark, a junior, electrical engineering major, interned with MITRE this past summer. Her internship was very hands-on. SArah said she was given a project and a due date to complete her assignment. Along the way, she had mentors,project leaders and co-workers that she could turn to when she had a question or was not understanding something. She also got a chance to travel to Boston and present her work to professionals. “This job opened my eyes to what a professional environment could look like. I also enjoyed the fact that my work was going to actually be used and be helpful to future programs.”, SArah said. If you have any questions or would just like to talk to SArah about her MITRE internship, please email her directly

As of right now, MITRE Corporation is accepting resumes. If you are interested in applying or want to find more information about MITRE, contact Justin F. Brunelle at or Carlton Northern at