Spotlight: Victor Wiss

Victor Wiss, who goes by (Gordon), is a sophomore majoring in computer engineering. Gordon did an internship with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia where he worked on advanced radar technologies. He started working with NSWC in May of 2016. Prior to starting his internship, he had to go through background checks, clearance and drug tests, and any foreign relationships he had were contacted as part of his clearance. He plans to continue this internship during the winter and spring breaks. Department of Defense Pathways Internship Program comes with a deal that they pay for half of his tuition and in return he will be working for them for three years after graduation.


How did you find out about this opportunity?

“I took a field trip with the PCSE department last fall to the marine core base in Quantico and it was advertised there. As well there was a job posting on the USA jobs.”


What did you take away from this opportunity?

“I learned that there is much more to industry than what I have been taught in img_7666school. There is always something new to learn and discover. I also learned how to deal with naval administration military structure laboratory.”


What did you work on/work schedule?

“I worked 40 hours a week, Monday-Friday 9-5. My project included working on researching applications for software defined radio technology, which will be included in future naval radar systems. I learned that what I am doing actually have an impact and will be used.”


Can you give any tips for those who are interested in internships?

“I would suggest to get involved on campus and in our department. There are research opportunities as well as competitions within the department. I also advise to grow your technical capabilities. Do not be afraid to apply for internships because you feel like you do not have the skills. They do not expect you to know much, they want someone who is able and willing to learn quickly.”

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind – Lockheed

Harry Johnson greeting the CNU students.

Harry Johnson greeting the CNU students.

Hello Captains! Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind Event was hosted by Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company. Veteran employee Dr. Harry Johnson began the presentation by outlining the goals and values of Lockheed Martin. Most prominently the importance of a diverse work environment.

Lockheed Martin, according to Johnson, focuses on solving complex problems and striving to become the “World’s best system engineers.”  The companies’ work is expansive and covers mechanical, computer, and software engineering. Areas of interest include Aeronautics, Space Systems, Rotary and Missions Systems, and more.

Johnson continued by expressing the importance of interning. “It is most important to intern,” as most positions are filled by former interns who have already been tested and gained experience within the company. In practical terms the company would prefer to invest in interns, including opportunities for valuable security clearances, and build them into stand out employees. CNU student and Lockheed Martin intern, David Cole spoke briefly to express the importance of teamwork and linux usage during his time with the company.

Fellow Lockheed Martin employee Amy Nandy, hiring manager of the Manassas site, finished the presentation with a focus on the benefits of working at the Manassas site of Lockheed and Martin. Nandy emphasized the unique flex schedule used at the site that allows employees to work in such a way that they have each second Friday off. A position with the company also comes with numerous movement opportunities in order to “transition and try new roles,” within the company. Remember that they are active in all 50 states! So opportunities are endless once hired.

If you are interested in working or interning for Lockheed Martin then you should act fast as the fall recruiting process is already beginning. It is important to aim for at least a 3.0 GPA if possible before applying to a position! The Manassas site will be holding interview events starting September 27th! Check out the following link for more information on events and how to apply for a Lockheed Martin position.

What You Missed At Pizza My Mind

Soozie Darling speaking with CNU students after presenting IPPON

Soozie Darling speaking with CNU students after giving her presentation

Greetings Captains! The PCSE Department hosted IPPON for Pizza My Mind on September 1, 2016 and welcomed back their very own alumna, Susannah (Soozie) Darling. Darling graduated from CNU in May 2015 with a degree in Applied Physics and has been with IPPON since December 2015. IPPON Technologies USA is a global company which delivers innovative digital, big data and cloud application services. They employ consultants who provide critical recommendations and guidance at any time during the lifecycle of a customers project.

Soozie began her presentation with a quick background on IPPON and how they first began. “What does IPPON stand for?” was my first initial thought. IPPON isn’t an acronym for anything, it actually means, “one full point.” According to Darling, the company was founded in 2002 in France as a Java consulting company and has grown to become one of the largest software companies. Since it was so successful, a USA branch was opened in 2014. It started with 3 employees and now, as of April 2016, they have grown with 22 Engineers and 4 staff members. This rapidly growing company hopes to have 20 US offices by 2026!

Darling shared the company’s vision, which is “to bring together people with the brains and the brawn to serve the technology needs of customers. IPPON pioneers the concept of HumanIT, where technology is evaluated in terms of what scaled levels of changes it can make in everyone’s everyday life.” She then went on to talk about the company’s values, which are passion, courage, dependability, open-mindedness and personal growth. In conclusion, Darling spoke highly of IPPON’s global diverse culture. This is something she cares deeply about because everyone brings in different perspectives. They believe in a work hard/play hard dynamic where everyone collaborates. She finished with saying that everyone has fun together, there’s always a good feeling coming into work, and it becomes a place that’s hard to leave after the day is over.

Well there you have it Captains, IPPON is an upcoming company to definitely keep an eye out for and recommended by a CNU grad!

What You Missed at Pizza My Mind


Nicole W. Baab, University Relations Coordinator, getting to know the CNU students after the seminar

Hello Captains!  Last Thursday we were lucky to have one of the largest energy providers in the world. Dominion Power presented at Pizza My Mind.  Dominion Power values its company on safety, ethics, excellence, and teamwork. They are located in 47 different locations throughout the country with their headquarters located in Richmond, Virginia.  Forbes has ranked them as one of the best places to work offering the strongest opportunities for employees.

So, what exactly does Dominion Power do?  The company is built on public service, innovation, and community involvement.  In addition to their core energy production, transportation and storage businesses, they invest in communities where we live and work.  They also practice responsible environmental stewardship wherever they are located.

Towards the end of the presentation, the representatives from Dominion shared information about internship opportunities for 77 different majors including Business, Info-Tech, Chem, and Engineering.  There are 8 states that they provide internships in and they pay their interns up to 22 dollars an hour.  75% of interns get hired to work for Dominion.  That is 190 interns per year!

Christine Simon sharing about her internship

Christine Simon , a senior, computer science major, is one of the lucky interns that got offered a job at Dominion.  She commented on all the skills she learned through her internship, “I developed a lot of skills while at Dominion.  I learned time management, how to be a good employee, and I had opportunities to work on a lot of different projects within the plant”.  Christine interned at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station her first year.  She managed the plant computer systems and worked on four different teams.  Her second year she interned at the Surry Power Station and was involved with their cyber security team.  She will continue her career at the Surry Power Station in the spring as an official employee.

If you have a 2.5 GPA or higher, start applying for a summer internship at Dominion. Applications are accepted now up until December.  8 lucky Captains had internships last year, so get out there and apply now!

How to Apply

  1. Go to
  2. Visit Careers Partial
  3. Connect of Login
  4. Click Search for Jobs or Job Search Agent


Spotlight: Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson, an Applied Physics major who’s also doing the Five-Year Master’s Program in Computer Science spent his summer in Guanajuato, Mexico as a part of the Veranos UG Program. This is a 7 week program where students conduct research and publish a written technical report. There’s a conference at the end of the program where students present their research, Eric’s was titled “Designing a Small Scale Cyclotron Accelerator for Teaching Purposes.”

How did you hear about the program?

“I’ve worked at the Jefferson Lab for almost two years, and I expressed interest in wanting to live in a Spanish speaking country. Turns out that a researcher there is Mexican, and he was able to put me in contact with one of his colleagues from the University of Guanajuato. That colleague was the one who told me about the Veranos UG program. I applied, was accepted, and so I flew down to Leon, Mexico in June!”

Eric with all of his coworkers and mentor (pictured in the middle.)

What was the most interesting part about your time in Mexico?

“I pretty much had no idea what was going on, at all! I never studied Spanish in school, and the only practice I got before going to Mexico was what I was able to do on my phone. I figured I could understand enough to survive, but I found out VERY quickly how wrong I was. When I arrived, my phone no longer worked and I couldn’t understand a single person. I knew nothing about the city of Leon, or Guanajuato, I didn’t know where I was half the time and finding my apartment was close to impossible. My mentor left for two weeks only two days after I arrived, and I was more or less left completely on my own to figure everything out.

Another interesting part of my time in Mexico is that I got the opportunity to visit a friend I met last summer working at the Jefferson lab! I took a 5 hour bus ride to go see him in Mexico City and was able to stay with his family for a few days.”

Eric and friend in Mexico City

What did you take away from the experience?

“I learned a lot about accelerators and how they work during my time abroad. I can say confidently that I now have a very intimate understanding of them! I wrote my technical report and delivered my presentation entirely in Spanish. I found out after the conference that I was the only foreign student who presented in Spanish, everyone else delivered their presentation in English. I was able to learn the language in 7 weeks and even consider myself fluent now! I got so much out of my time in Mexico. I learned the ins and outs of accelerators, learned an entirely new language, created connections and became friends with some amazing people.”

Eric delivering his final presentation

Did you document your time in Mexico?

“Yes, I had so many people ask me about my trip and how I was doing each day that I started keeping a journal of my experiences. I basically wrote an entry each night about all the crazy, new, or exciting things that I came across in Mexico. The final journal ended up being 164 pages single spaced! Another way I documented my time abroad was through pictures. Since I wasn’t really able to shave my beard, I thought it would be a cool idea to make a flip-book of the selfies I took in random places all over Mexico that showed my hair and beard getting continuously longer!”

If anyone has any questions or wants to know more about Eric and his experience in Mexico, feel free to send him an e-mail him at

Spotlight: Caroline McElhenny

IMG_6609Caroline McElhenny, a student at CNU graduated last winter with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and is currently in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. McElhenny is currently taking on three completely different roles at CNU, making her a prime candidate for a new segment on the PCSE Blog, The Spotlight. Each month, we will highlight some of the extraordinary accomplishments of students, alumni and faculty within the PCSE department. I had the opportunity to interview Caroline this past week and had a blast!

What exactly are your roles at CNU?

“I am a graduate student, which means that I am still taking physics classes, although they will be focused on education during the summer. I’m also a physics tutor on campus at the Center for Academic Success and a lab assistant teaching two sections of the Physics 105L class.”

What is the most interesting part of your situation?

“With my job as a tutor, it’s always fun to see the students come into tutoring that are in my 105 labs. They’re always surprised to see me in a completely different setting. In one, they view me as their teacher and in the other I’m a peer tutoring them with their homework. It’s an entirely new dynamic and they always tell me how surprising it is that I want to go into teaching rather than taking the more practical route after I finish up my time here at CNU. It’s also neat to see things from the professor’s side. I get to grade papers, make sure that my scholar account is up-to-date, and I get to actually teach material. Since the 105L class doesn’t strictly follow a lecture based class, some of the time I get to teach the students completely new material they haven’t been exposed to yet. I think that is one of the best things I do here at CNU. It’s very fun and rewarding.”

Why is it that you chose teaching over going into research or industry?

“Coming into my freshman year at CNU, I knew that I wanted to get a Masters in Physics because of my love for the subject. I was accepted into the 5 Year Masters in Applied Physics program and it was then that I decided to go to a conference with my advisor and some of my friends in the physics program. The conference was called CUWIP, which stands for Conference for Undergraduate Women In Physics and that’s where my realized my true calling.

At the conference, there was a panel of people that spoke about the types of jobs they went into after receiving their Bachelors in Physics. There was someone on the panel that did patents for a company, another that did research, a high school teacher and someone who did science demos for kids. It was really interesting because everyone in the audience kept asking questions to the other three people on the panel and were super impressed with what they did, but all I wanted to do was talk to the high school teacher. She kept talking about how she gets to inspire students on a daily basis and give them back that curiosity that gets lost throughout the many years of schooling. She spoke about an idealistic, wonderful world where everyone was excited about science and I realized that this is what I wanted to do.”

What were your biggest influences?

Tutoring at CNU was a huge influence, but I didn’t know that at the time. I’ve always wanted to inspire people and I got a sneak peak of what that was like while tutoring. The best part of it for me is seeing the students really understand the material after struggling through it. I tell them that I was once in their shoes, and I think that helps them feel like they aren’t alone in their difficulties and it IS possible to understand and master the subject if you aren’t perfect at it from the start. Like I mentioned earlier, I never truly considered teaching until that conference. I’ve been guided into the direction of research for as long as I can remember, to the point where I didn’t really think teaching was an option. I slowly came to the realization that I was merely doing what was expected of me, and that it was never truly what I was passionate about. So that’s when I began toying with the idea of teaching and spoke to my advisor. Coincidentally, she taught high school before she went back to school to get her Masters and now she’s a professor at CNU who also does research. I think there’s comfort in that, in case I do want to switch my career to do research. She’s definitely influenced me to take the plunge into the MAT program.”

Why high school?

“Everyone asks me the same question! I know that high school students can be a handful, but they are more mentally developed to understand the math and reasoning behind physics. They’re old enough to grasp all of the concepts on a deeper level, which I feel like is much more rewarding than just memorizing the outcomes. Taking on a problem and explaining it through the language of math, to me, is much more interesting than memorization. Although, math is something that a disappointing number of students dislike and I will strive to change their views on it. I would like to work with the inquisitive minds of teenagers because that is where I feel like I would make the most impact, in teaching both math application and physical laws. I feel like someday teaching at a liberal arts college such as CNU would also be really fun, but only time will tell!”


The Spotlight: Caroline McElhenny, March 2016

What You Missed At Pizza My Mind

FireEyeHappy Tuesday Captains! Last Thursday’s Pizza MY Mind seminar was all about the rapidly growing and changing world of cyber security. The wonderful people of FireEye were at CNU to tell us that we don’t need to have tons of super highly technical skills to get a start in cyber security. All we need is to have an interest and a desire to learn. Which I know that we all do!

Frank Tobia, software engineer at FireEye, dove into the presentation by talking about all the perks of interning at the company. He stressed the importance of the one to one mentorships that all interns have with innovators in the field of advanced threat detection. In addition, interns get to work on meaningful projects that have impact. He also mentioned that the internship experience on its own is a perk because of all the fun that all the interns have working at FireEye.

So what exactly is FireEye and what do they do? “FireEye has invented a purpose-built, virtual machine-based security platform that provides real-time threat protection to enterprises and governments worldwide against the next generation of cyber attacks.” In simpler terms, the people that try to steal military plans and hack into our computers are the bad guys and the people at FireEye are the good guys that stop them.

CNU graduate, Alex Lawrence was alongside Tobia to talk about the company. A current CNU student, Micah Coffman, a junior majoring in Computer Science, shared his internship experience at FireEye: “The work that we do makes a difference and it makes me enthusiastic to come into work every day. The team is so welcoming and their internship program teaches us company’s values. We get to go to some super fun events and it’s a place that I don’t want to leave when the day is over. The company aims to keep their employees motivated and engaged and gives us a plan to never stop growing within the company.”

To finish off the seminar, Tobia spoke about how the company treats its interns: “We want our interns to work on something hands-on. This isn’t the type of company that requires interns to fetch coffee. We treat our interns like entry level associates. Once they get trained, we get them working on something meaningful where they will be getting real experience and something that’s going to look incredible on their resume.”

That was last Thursday’s seminar! Make sure to come out to this week’s PMM, there are only a few more chances since the semester is rapidly coming to an end. I hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday.

What You Missed At Pizza My Mind


HAPPY MONDAY CAPTAINS! Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind seminar was presented by Virginia Beach-based STIHL, Inc. Mike McLean, a talent recruiter for the U.S, operations headquarters came to CNU to talk about what it’s like to work for a company that engineers and manufactures outdoor power equipment.

He started off by sharing a few notab​​le facts. STIHL is the #1 selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America. The company produces 263 products and celebrated 40 years in 2014. He also remarked about the Great Recession, when the country was on an economic decline and a number of companies had to lay their employees off. He said that STIHL was one of the exceptions and that STIHL never had to lay off their employees, even when times were tough. On the contrary, the company grew because there was never a time where grass didn’t need cutting! The company prides itself on controlling 55% of the world’s production in this field. They have four plants, located in Germany, Brazil, China and VA Beach.

Mike also showed a few company videos that highlighted STIHL’s culture and workplace environment.  The audience especially liked the patriotic Built in America video!!

Interestingly, STIHL, Inc. employs over 1,900 in Virginia Beach in a variety of positions from manufacturing, produce assembly, manufacturing engineering, sales, marketing and finance.  At the end of his presentation, Mike discussed STIHL’s current career and internship opportunities noting that students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.  Internship opportunities are posted in February so be sure to check out their website if you are interested!!  Don’t forget to join us for this week’s seminar right before Spring Break!

News Release

News Release
February 11, 2016

Public’s Contact for publication:
Dr. Anton Riedl, Chair
Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering
(757) 594-7829

Media Contact:
Lori Jacobs
Director of Public Relations
(757) 594-7961

Note: Photo attached; caption information follows.
IMG_6468 IMG_6474



(NEWPORT NEWS, Va.) — Over 50 students from Christopher Newport University gathered among faculty in the Luter Hall Atrium to watch a live press conference presented by the National Science Foundation to update the scientific community on the first detection of gravitational waves – or ripples in the fabric of spacetime – using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

“It was a surreal experience to witness the announcement of such a major breakthrough in physics during my lifetime, while surrounded by those in my department,” says David Hamblin, a student in computer engineering and computer science. “It’s strange that this wasn’t something I read about in a textbook, but rather heard directly from the scientists.”

Caroline McElhenny, a Physics graduate and Masters student in teaching adds: “It is amazing how precise LIGO can take measurements, since gravitational waves are on such an incredibly small scale. I’m very excited to see more science done in this field and to see how much more we can learn about the universe. The scientists and engineers have done some amazing work to get us where we are now!”

“In five years we have been privileged to see two amazing announcements in physics: the discovery of the Higgs boson and now the detection of gravity waves,” remarks Professor David Heddle. “This is an exciting time to study physics!”

For more information, contact Dr. Anton Riedl,, Associate Professor at Christopher Newport University


What You Missed At Pizza My Mind


RISE AND SHINE CAPTAINS! I hope everyone had an incredible weekend and is ready to take today by storm. Last Thursday’s Pizza My Mind was hosted by iDTech which is a summer technology camp for kids. Their mission is to “provide students with high-energy, hands-on technology education in a summer camp setting.” And that is exactly what they do! iDTech is the world’s #1 tech camp with over 150 prestigious campus locations nationwide. And to top it all off, not only do the campers love iDTech, but the employees do as well! iDTech has been voted a Top Workplace 6 years running by the Bay Area News Group.

Mark and Kim dove into their presentation and hit all the major points right off the bat. They started off by telling the audience what iDTech has to offer. Things such as competitive pay, networking opportunities, leadership development, room & board, and internship credits/hours. One of the interesting things about these camps is that they are located on college campuses in over 29 states. Meaning that perspective camp counselors have the opportunity to choose where they spend their summer!

iDTech is looking to hire programmers, proven leaders and on site managers, unity mobile developers, Robotics Engineers, Java & C++ programmers. Essentially, they are looking for people that have a wide skill set. There are five divisions that make up the company, iD Tech Camps, iD Tech Mini, Alexa Cafe, iD Programming Academy, and iD Game Design & Dev Academy. Another thing that distinguishes iDTech from other summer camps is their One Camper One Tree program. They have partnered up with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant one tree for every camper who attends their programs. Their ultimate goal is to plant 1 million trees and they are certainly on their way there! So far, they’ve helped plant 155,000 trees and expect to plant another 60,000 this year.

So what can you expect as an iD instructor? Long weeks, instructors usually work about 50-60 hours. You can expect to become an effective teacher and to build connections! The presenters showed a video about halfway through that showed a bunch of instructors talking about their experiences with iDTech and a bunch of them mentioned the amazing networking that came with the job. As an instructor, you can expect to gain a lot of real like skills that will help with resume building. Although the main focus of these camps is learning, it’s also a summer camp, meaning that these campers also want to have a lot of fun! Going off of that, instructors can expect to see gaming tournaments, be a part of outdoor activities and theme days!

Last but not least, they are looking to hire 1,600 people this summer with 24 spots currently waiting to be filled in VA!