Pizza My Mind Presented by MITRE

This weeks Pizza My Mind presentation was led by MITRE Hampton Roads employee and software engineer Dorian Voegeli. MITRE does not work for profit. Instead, the company operates research and development centers funded by the federal government. As a result, MITRE is not allowed to create products by itself and instead only deal with products through the government.

Dorian Voegeli (center), Colin McRae (left), and James Tobin (right) address the audience

Currently MITRE operates research and development centers or FFRDCs in fields such as national security engineering, homeland security, advanced aviation systems, healthcare, cyber security, and more. The company also handles the social sciences as well as science and mathematics.

There are two primary campuses located in Bedford, MA and Mclean, VA. Smaller sites are located all over the country. Employees have access to technical conferences, programs to learn new skills, and possibly tuition help for advanced degrees. It is even possible to apply for funding for independent research while working for the company. Interns may enjoy intern cups or competitions.

CNU students and MITRE interns James Tobin and Colin McRae, both seniors majoring in computer science, spoke briefly about their time with the company. James was able to spend one summer at MITRE’s Tampa site to work on challenges for an intern competition. Colin, a senior at CNU this year, was able to get his internship by speaking to a MITRE employee who ran labs for CNU. Further stressing the importance of talking to people to get job opportunities. Voegeli was also capable of emphasizing the many useful opportunities that MITRE provides. The benefits are wide and may be worth looking into if you are looking for a place to work long term. The potential benefits for an aspiring PCSE major are high. It is an exciting company that you should check out.

PCSE students asking questions after the presentation

In order to apply to MITRE a 3.0 GPA is required as well as the ability to apply for US security clearance as a US citizen. Applicants for internships must be university bound and have some programming experience. Rolling applications begin in February and March while internships generally begin in the summer. Students are preferred to have experienced one functional and one object orientated language.

For more information go to their website.

Perfect Commerce Presents Pizza My Mind

Director of the Perfect Procure project and 10 year Perfect Commerce employee Barclay Schell leads the presentation for Perfect Commerce. He is joined by CNU alum Elliot Rieflin who has worked at the company for one year as a software engineer.

Barclay Schell and Elliot Rieflin (right) beginning the presentation

The company focuses on Cloud based procurement systems and e-commerce. It provides services many major companies such as Microsoft, IBM, and Nationwide. Schell’s team consists of 4 CNU grads and one CNU intern so Perfect Commerce is very CNU friendly. These programming teams utilize an agile development approach to solve complex problems as efficiently as possible. One goal of the company is to build a library of Angular, a web framework built by Google for responsive Application Design, components across Perfect Commerce products. The frameworks created exist to create a visual component separate from the business logic.

Perfect Commerce has offices in many regions of the world so some flexibility in work location does exist. The company is very happy to hire CNU graduates so contact them in the future!

To learn more Barclay Schell can be contacted at or go to their website.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

The past Pizza My Mind featured the return of Canon Virginia for their second presentation of the year. Canon heavily emphasizes heavy community and environmental involvement. Canon’s Anne Goldberg led the presentation.

Anne Goldberg leads presentation

The American branch of Canon does not actually make cameras. Instead the branch refurbishes and repairs existing cameras. Production of copiers, laser printers, and toner cartridges also take place here. Plastic injection molding is another process now done at the Virginia plant.

The Virginia site is becoming the regional Technical headquarters for Canon. New major areas are targeted as focal points for the future of the site. These areas include Automation and Controls Engineering, Business Development Engineering, Tool Engineering, and Recycling/ Materials engineering. Medical supplies and Engineering are also growing in prominence.

Internships begin in May. Students are given a specific project to work on during their placement. While they will meet the other interns the projects themselves are separate. Interns must be working towards an undergraduate degree and be classified as a junior or senior credits wise. They must also be 18 years old.

Employees at Canon have a well defined path to advancement and the ability to rotate positions every 6 six months for 18 months as part of the Engineering Rotation Program in order to experience a wide variety of work.

Canon offers a relatively unique internship in terms of structure and a chance to work in an important industry with passionate professionals. The presenters were strong at answering questions and providing info. The interview process has begun so apply now.

The Canon team addresses student questions

If you would like to know more about Canon please visit their website.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Hello Captains,

Every so often Pizza My Mind offers a glimpse into our future as PCSE students in the form our very own alumni. On Thursday, October 26th, CNU graduate Kevin Somerville, a system manager at NASA, donated his time and energy towards informing the next generation of CNU students about NASA’s current ongoing projects.

Kevin Somerville addressing the crowd

CIRAS is an apparatus intended to be used as a way to build giant telescopes in space that are larger than what we can feasibly launch into space from land. It achieves this by building the objects in space instead. He also discusses a device created to redirect asteroids on a theoretical trajectory towards hitting Earth and a hyper sonic inflatable aerodynamic accelerator.

The decision to discuss specific projects really got students interested and asking questions. It is nice to learn directly from an expert what yype of work is being done at NASA that future employees could be a part of and develop.

NASA is unique in that all of its data is available to public. It is required by law that the information be released after a certain period of time. You will be able to work on projects will eventually have an impact on public developments. These projects usually involve future developments on space travel or managing time in space. How much more exciting can it get?

In order to apply for internships or full time positions you must go to Inters will work alongside other interns as well as employees. Internships last 10 weeks in the summer and fall and 14 weeks in the spring.

Kevin Somerville speaking to students after the event

For more information go to the link below.

PCSE Mentorship Program Kick-Off Event

PCSE Department Mentorship Program professional mentors and students 2017-2018

Christopher Newport University’s Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering’s Mentorship Program held their Mentorship Program Kick-Off event on Monday, October 9, 2017 on campus in the CNU Freeman Center. Student and mentors came out to learn more about the program and to meet face-to-face for the first time. “We would like to thank all of our professional mentors for volunteering their time, talent and expertise to mentor our female students and for making a positive difference. Without them, this program would not be possible.”, said Dr. Anton Riedl, Chair.

Below is a list of the involved mentors.

Erica J. Alston
Deputy Program Manager for Aerospace Research and Career Development (ARCD)

Suzanne Beckstoffer
Bayport Credit Union
Chairman of the Board

Karen Berger
Facility Manager, Langley Aerothermodynamics Laboratory

Erin Burdick, P.E.
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Civil Engineer

Patricia L. Carbone
The MITRE Corporation
Director of Special Projects, Joint & Services Portfolio, NATO Portfolio Director

Dr. Nee-Yin Chou
CW Optics
President & CEO

Leah Colvin
Newport News Shipbuilding
Engineering Manager

Gabriella Dipini
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Packaging Specialist, North America

Julie M. Dobschuetz
Arcadis US, Inc.
CD High Performance Director

Belinda Donavant
Canon Virginia, Inc.
Dir, Product Engineering

Jennifer Haddox-Schatz
Daniel H. Wagner Associates
Software Engineer
Maria Herbert
MCH Consulting Services, LLC
Consultant, Supply Chain and Logistics

Stacey Hodges
Canon Virginia, Inc.
Quality Director, Medical Products Group

Katelyn Kimm
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Business Process Manager

Susanne Leonard
Newport News Shipbuilding
Mgr, Engineering

Lauren Matthews
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Operations Group Manager

Deborah Morewitz
Newport News Shipbuilding
Director, IT Solutions Development

Cynthia Popernack
Canon Virginia, Inc.
Senior Engineer

Elaine E. Seasly
Contamination Control & Planetary Protection Lead, Systems Integration & Test Branch

Jenifer Solomon
Newport News Shipbuilding
Dir, Engineering

Teresa Urbaniak
Newport News Shipbuilding
Systems Engineer

Mary Beth Wusk
Program Manager, Game Changing Development Program

For more information, contact Dr. Anton Riedl, Chair and Assistant Professor at Christopher Newport University.

What You Missed At Pizza My Mind

Last Pizza My Mind was hosted Randy Vickers and Steven Moxley, members of the computer response team for the United States House of Representatives. Randy Vickers is a former DOD employee who works to prevent breaches on the representatives systems and to protect the entire network from potential security risks. Steven Moxley is an application security analyst who works under Vickers.

Vickers (right) and Moxley (left) beginning the presentation

Both men, as well as their team, are responsible for the technical security of all 435 members of the House of Representatives individual applications as well as the backbone of the entire infrastructure used by all employees.

Unlike most security jobs, Representatives have a right to privacy even within the security team on a much higher level than a standard employee. Campaign information is specifically protected by the constitution as well as private data, and data on speeches and debates. As a result permission must be acquired specifically from the relevant representative in order to take data outside of the building. This is a layer of complexity most security jobs do not possess on the same level.

The most notable challenge is the maintaining of the right of petition. Anyone has the right to address their representative through email which creates a large number of emails that must be monitored to prevent malicious code from getting through. For example when the emails are gathered and sorted they must be careful to prevent attempts to access data during this time. If malicious code is missed or if a representative opens something hazardous to the network then the email or file is quarantined and the file is blocked by the firewall if possible. In more extreme cases then the computer will be taken off of the network temporarily.

Steven Moxley presented a map of activity to the representatives website from all over the world. He emphasized that uses in other countries can be suspect as well as US access as most competent hackers are able spoof their location when attempting to access the website. It is these challenges that set apart the position from others. The list of potential threats can be daunting as well as an intriguing challenge.

Moxley showcasing a map of site activity

The balancing act of so many different types of sensitive data combined with insight into how difficult it is to maintain a simple constitutional right that most people take for granted is something I had never considered. Vickers gives a very interesting perspective on the inner workings of his response team and the struggles they must deal with to keep the House of Representatives running. This is the first chance most students have likely had in understanding how the back end of such a team works. If this interests you then it might be beneficial to ask future employers about their contracts and whether or not they may be a way to experience work at the House of Representatives. The vast majority of their positions are contracted so this is the best way to approach the possibility.

No paid internships exist at the moment but unpaid internships do exist if you live in the D.C. area. You can also visit their office individually if you would like to learn more.

Follow the link below to see the site for House of Representatives.

PCSE Red Hat and Percona Visit

On Monday, October 16th, thirteen students and five faculty and staff members from the Department of Physics, Computer Science & Engineering embarked on a field trip to visit two open source technology companies in Raleigh, NC: Red Hat and Percona. The event, Pizza My Mind Dining Out is an extension of the department’s signature outbound student success and recruiting program, Pizza My Mind.

RedHat is the world’s leading provider of open source, enterprise IT solutions. The day began with a tour of Red Hat Tower, and discussions of Red Hat’s cutting-edge IT platform operations. A particular highlight was a presentation by PCSE alumnus and Red Hat developer Juan Vallejo (pictured far left above), who brought the group up to speed on the latest efforts by his team on OpenShift, RedHat’s newest container application platform. The morning concluded with lunch in the signature RedHat Cafeteria.

Percona delivers enterprise-class open source database solutions and services to over 3000 clients, including the vast majority of Forbes 100 companies. They have adopted the novel approach of using a distributed workforce that comprises over 150 top database experts in 33 countries. After a comprehensive presentation focusing on future trends in open source database applications from Percona’s CCO, Matt Yonkovit, we were treated to an engaging discussion on entrepreneurship with Percona’s CEO, Peter Zaitsev.

“The trip was very interesting. It was cool to see the offices of Red Hat and Percona and to ask questions of the staff of each the companies”, said Computer Engineering major, Austin Tisdale.

“This was a great experience for our students, as well as the faculty and staff that were able to attend, as well”, said Dr. Edward Brash, Professor of Physics in PCSE. “It is important for all of us to keep abreast of new and emerging trends in computing and computational science, and the experts at Red Hat and Percona certainly delivered! Everyone that we met with was incredibly engaging and welcoming – it was a great day!”

For more information, contact Clare A. Maliniak, PCSE Department Administrator at Christopher Newport University.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

The last Pizza My Mind was hosted by SPAWAR or Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. Senior project supervisor Jonathan Wells led the presentation. Wells has worked on the systems that led to chips in credit cards and on new medical systems that are implemented by the government.

Senior project supervisor Jonathan Wells leads the presentation.

The opportunity to work on potentially important new technological developments is an exciting one!

SPAWAR is of course a navy contractor primarily. Wells describes the role as an employee at SPAWAR as a way to work on projects with a tangible impact on how the navy develops in which you can see the effect your actions have had unlike in many larger companies. An employee may work in software development, engineering, or help with facilitating communication between two subs while underwater for example.

The “competency alignment” system is intended to guarantee that each employee works in the area that best suits them. Employees also have travel opportunities, 10 paid holidays, assistance towards a master degree, and flexible hours. SPAWAR also has a stem program focused on teaching high school students robotics that employees can take part in.

Jonathan Wells speaks to a student

SPAWAR has an intern program where interns could work on rewriting legacy systems, creating a new maintenance app, or helping develop connectivity processes for marine corp laptops. Interns must be eligible for security clearances in order to apply.

Send an email to to apply or give your resume to Wells. For more info go their site below.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Last week’s Pizza My Mind was hosted by the Rotary and Mission systems branch of Lockheed Martin in Manassas, VA. Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that focuses on the research, design, development, manufacture, and integration of advanced technology systems and services.

Dennis Coo leads the presentation

The company has undergone a few changes since their last Pizza My Mind. There are now four main groupings within the company. The groupings are Aeronautics, Missiles and Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems, and Space Systems. The technologies group has now mostly been sold off and refolded into the other groups.

Lockheed Martin employees Dennis Coo and Amy Nandy led the presentation. They focused on possible opportunities and positions in Manassas, VA where they work but many of these details apply to the other locations across the country as well. There are sites all over the world and over a dozen throughout the US. Positions at the Manassas site include a Prime system engineer who oversees the entire product life cycle, systems engineers, software engineers, and electrical and mechanical designers.

CNU alumni Colin Framinan is a system integrator at Lockheed Martin. He spoke of his work on the sonar of submarines and experiences with the mentor system. New employees or interns are provided a mentor in order to help them function within the company.

Prompted by a question from Tanner Reed, intern and CNU student David Kroell took a moment to say that all CNU classes in the field help to prepare students for working at Lockheed Martin. He suggested a focus on OS learning and Information Systems to be better prepared.

This was followed by a thorough explanation of why the company isn’t called Martin Lockheeed thanks to a student question. Apparently it is a merger between two companies and Coo had no idea why the order was chosen.

Lockheed Martin employees also average 1.2 million volunteer hours in the last decade. Educational outreach programs in STEM fields and robotics are available as well as standard donations and customer outreach.

Dennis Coo revealed about 20% of the work they do is international. For the Manassas site, this is primarily helping modernize the royal Australian navy.

Amy Nandy speaks to a student

The recruiting cycle begins in September and goes through December so feel free to start applying. If you would like more info on possible job opportunities please check out their website.

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind

Perfect Commerce hosted a Pizza My Mind. Senior employee Barclay Shell, director of the Perfect Procure project, and recent CNU grad Elliot Rieflin guided the presentation. Both men are part of a six person team following an agile development approach which currently includes for CNU grads and one CNU intern so keep an eye on this company future CNU grads.

Perfect Commerce employees Barclay Shell and Elliot Rieflin

The Perfect Procure project is a cloud based procurance software. Coding within Perfect Commerce is primarily in c++ or Java with rare Visual Basic. Elliot focused on java coding in the back end and on upgrading the ui of Perfect Procure. It is stressed that each ui is intended to be as similar to others in the company as possible including a mandatory navigation bar. Current CNU intern Nick works primarily on localization of the new ui and bug fixing.

Perfect Commerce works with large companies such as IBM and Campbell’s. The goal of Perfect Procure is to create a library of base Angular components that can be used to create multiple different products off of a similar base in future projects.

Angular is a web framework used to build applications on top of back end code. It is the primary way for the company to streamline its ui.

Perfect commerce began using Angular almost immediately after release so they will take the chance to try new technology. If you are a student interested in trying out new things and working out challenges then consider Perfect Commerce. Elliot refers to how difficult it was to find Angular info when Angular js was still heavily in use. Just a reminder of how quickly technolo

The work culture is relaxed and focused on interaction during coding. There is no GPA requirement to apply. If you wish to apply then email Barclay Shell at

Learn more at