Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category

Alumnus Spotlight – Wrienne Mitchell, BSC ’05

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Say Hello to Graduating Senior, Ryan Hill!

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The school of ITS is home to a number of students dedicated to furthering their education and skills in all things IT related. A prime example of this is graduating senior, Ryan Hill.

Ryan Hill is a senior in the program, originally from Lancaster, Ohio. Before he made the switch to ITS as a sophomore, he was a Computer Science major.

“I was always interested in hardware and networking, but I originally wasn’t pointed in the right direction,” said Hill. “After my freshman year, I realized coding isn’t what I wanted to do, and with some help from both my CS advisor and Phil Campbell, I made the switch.”

Once he transferred into the program, Hill was immersed in an educational program filled with computer networking, security and infrastructure information. “I have taken all of the required classes, along with the multiple security electives and internet engineering,” said Hill. “I think this program does a good job of laying the foundations for IT, which is very important.”

Outside of class, Hill has also experimented with virtualization, thanks in part to the direction given to him by Doug Bowie during Bobcat Network Innovation Center (BNIC) meetings.  “I have pretty much purchased a good portion of the same equipment that the university’s data center uses. I have everything from servers to storage area network devices,” said Hill. “This home project experience helped me land an internship with the City of Athens.”

In this job, Hill performed a number of IT tasks, including (but not limited to) – desktop support, computer networking, upgrading and patching environments and managing the city’s VR environment. Ultimately, this experience prepared him to intern with Progressive Insurance, where he continued working with virtual environments, as well as physical data center work, and tier 3 support.

“When you’re looking at 50 to 60 thousand employees needing support across the United States, it really brings home the fact that you’ve gained a really valuable amount of experience,” said Hill.

As a result of his successful internship, Hill has been offered a full time position with Progressive Insurance, starting this summer. Hill has one final comment about ITS: “The thing I like about this program is that the faculty and staff are always there for you. I am really looking forward to following the developments of the program after graduation.”

Meet 4+1 Graduate Student, Ryan Kemper!

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ITS is a school that provides both an undergrad and grad program, however, something unique about us is how we combine the two with the 4+1 program.  Undergrad students can take their higher education even further with this program that enables them to receive a bachelor’s degree following four years of study, and a Master’s degree after one additional year of study.  Ryan Kemper, an excellent student in both the undergrad and grad programs, is a student who took advantage of this opportunity.

Kemper, from Ottoville, Ohio, is currently enrolled as a grad student. Having a passion for technology since early High School, when he started a computer repair service, Kemper was looking for a college program that suited him.

“I thought I was interested in CS, but I didn’t want to do coding. That made me move towards MIS, but it’s much more business related,” said Kemper. “That’s when I found ITS, it lets me stay technical by filling this niche role as an infrastructure specialist.”

Helping him fill the role is exactly what the ITS program did. Taking courses such as data networking, internet engineering, VOIP and scripting, ITS provided an education suitable for a successful career. This point evident in the extensive experience Kemper has had in his undergrad.

“I’ve had a lot of internships,” said Kemper. “I worked for Organic Technologies after my freshman year, then JP Morgan Chase my sophomore year and finally Nationwide for both junior and senior year.” In these internships, Kemper has held several different roles, including infrastructure, software development, networking and project management.

Kemper valued this experience and his undergrad education, but he still wanted more, which is why he decided to stay an extra year after graduating in 2018 with his bachelor’s degree. “OU is a great place and I enjoy being here,” he said. “Getting my graduate degree sets me up to advance my career quickly. Being able to condense a 2-3-year program, potentially, into 1 is great.”

Currently Kemper is juggling 3 concurrent jobs. The first is at OIT as a service desk representative, the second as a TA for internet engineering and VOIP classes, and finally Kemper’s very own consulting business. Notable is the third job, an expansion of Kemper’s high school business into a full-on consulting service which provides web hosting and networking planning.

School wise, Kemper is preparing for his comprehensive exams to complete his grad studies. Once he passes his exam and finishes grad school, Kemper has employment in IT at Nationwide Insurance.

“ITS is a unique program,” said Kemper. “Even though you have to market yourself, there are a lot of classes that no one else has, which sets you apart.”

Say Hello to MITS Student, Punit Basnet!!

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Meet Master of Information and Telecommunication Systems student Punit Basnet, from Kathmandu, Nepal.

Basnet, who graduated in 2015 from the PEC University of Technology in Nepal with a degree in electrical engineering, worked several years in his home country before deciding to attend Ohio University.  “I held a couple of positions, one as a drive test engineer for signal quality for the national telecom network provider and as an associate engineer for a radio station,” said Basnet.

Basnet came to Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, in August of 2017, to further his education with a graduate degree in a field related to telecommunications.   “I heard that some of the best graduate institutions in the world are in the United States,” said Basnet. “Upon further research, I discovered that Scripps [within Ohio University] was one of the top-notch colleges in the States for all things communication.”

Fortunately, the leap of faith that brought Basnet to the U.S. and Ohio University has paid off – he has received a valuable education involving challenging and fulfilling graduate assistant work plus the research he was able to do on his own project.

“Outside of my classes, I have been working on my graduate project, which is a mixture of my grad assistant work with Professor Kruse and my own research,” said Basnet. “This project deals with graphing sensor data from a remote perimeter with delayed connections. Data from these sites will be collected and analyzed in a network monitoring software which will generate reports for scientists.”

Basnet has also been involved in other ways:  volunteering for ITS events such as ITS Day and the Lonsbury Memorial Golf Tournament, as well as troubleshooting ION software for NASA with ITS faculty.

This level of involvement created a passion for the program.   “I like the mixture of challenging courses. The Professors, like Dr. Roycroft, really care about the students and I’ve never met people like them before,” said Basnet.

After graduation, Basnet plans to work in the IT field within the United States, with plans to eventually return to Nepal to apply his education and work experience in his home country. Best of luck, Punit Basnet!

Say Hello to ITS Senior, Jordan Pearson!!

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ITS boasts a curriculum dedicated to the professional development of its students in the IT industry. Graduating senior Jordan Pearson is a prime example of this dedication.

Pearson is an undergrad student in the ITS program from Columbus, Ohio. Before coming to Ohio University, he was undecided on his major/career focus. However, after conversations with former ITS undergrad director, Philip Campbell, he decided to major in ITS.   He is now a well-rounded student focusing not only on his business minor, but his two concentrations: Communications and Marketing.

“I think ITS is diverse. It covers a variety of different topics in IT and lets you focus in on what you want out of the field of IT,” said Pearson. “If you want to focus on strategy, we have policy and strategy courses. If you want to be more technical, we have VOIP and encryption.”

Pearson has taken time throughout his undergrad time to work on several projects both in and out of the classroom. Most notable is his work on the Accenture Challenge, an academic assignment which he will present with his team members as part of ITS Day 2019.

Jordan has also taken advantage of the opportunity to gain valuable experience as a student employee in the Career and Leadership Development Center.

“I give public, hour long workshops on professional development topics such as team development, resumes and interview techniques,” said Pearson. “I also hold mock interviews with students which helps develop their interview skills and may even qualify for class credit.”

Professional development is not just something that Pearson gives to others, he has received a significant amount himself. Pearson had an IT internship with Marathon Petroleum, last Summer.

“I interned in one of the refineries for the company where I worked on a number of different tasks such as configuring a time server and newly installed routers, an application for a team space and several other significant things,” said Pearson. “The knowledge I acquired in ITS courses such as data networking actually helped me during my time at Marathon.”

Pearson used all his knowledge and experience in and out of the program to land his future position as a consultant at HMB. Ultimately, he has effectively used all his resources to gain full time employment. Congratulations, Jordan Pearson!

Say Hello to MITS ’19 Student, Jamuna Maharjan!

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ITS has many talented students in both its bachelor’s and master’s programs. However, what makes the program impressive isn’t just the ability of the students, but also their diversity. Part of this melting pot of excellence is grad student Jamuna Maharjan from Nepal.

Maharjan is a current graduate student in ITS. Before coming to Ohio University in August of 2017, she was a TA in the Advanced Engineering College in Kathmandu, Nepal. “I helped assist a number of practical labs for subjects such as computer networks and C++ programming,” said Maharjan. “It was enjoyable and definitely helped prepare me for my graduate education.”

This statement holds true considering both the graduate assistant work done by Maharjan and her research. She previously worked with Dr. Aruaz on his Smart Cities project and Dr. Kruse on his Delay Tolerant Network research. Currently, she is working on her professional project.

“I am working on a project related to assessing the network management system for the Interplanetary Overlay Network,” said Jamuna. “I am trying to assess the system’s information and embed it into an external open source version.”

Supporting this experience is Maharjan’s education within ITS. She has learned a great deal about the IT industry from her coursework. “I enjoyed a number of interesting courses in the curriculum, particularly Internet Engineering,” Maharjan said. “Along with this, I appreciate all of the professors, especially Dr. Roycroft.”

Ultimately, the well-rounded experience she has gained will prepare Maharjan for the industry. Currently, she is applying for positions in the U.S. Best of luck, Jamuna!

Spotlight on MITS ’19 Student, Nana Ekow Taylor

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The school of ITS provides a challenging and industry conscious curriculum that produces many talented individuals in the workforce. Reflecting this are the wide range of companies many ITS undergrad and grad students work for upon graduation; examples – Nationwide, Progressive and Huntington. However, one grad student by the name of Nana Ekow Taylor, has received a position at a company like none other, Facebook.

Taylor is a grad student in the ITS program, originating from Accra, Ghana. Before coming to the United States, January 2018, Taylor was a telecommunications and software engineer for various companies. However, despite his success in the industry already, Taylor decided to pursue his master’s degree.

“After working a couple of years in the industry, I realized there was a trend of new developments and I felt that I needed to acquire some new knowledge and skills to remain relevant,” said Taylor. “Having said this, I thought to pursue higher education as a means of achieving this”.

Throughout his graduate experience, Taylor has taken a course load that has supplied him with a wide range of knowledge with industry concepts. Along with this, he has worked with Professor Aruaz on some of his projects as an graduate assistant. All of this knowledge and experience led up to Taylor’s application to Facebook.

“It was pretty straightforward. Once I turned in my application, I got an email from a recruiter and I was given a shot,” said Taylor. “After that, there was a series of 4 interviews, some technical, others personal.”

Upon interviewing, Taylor’s experience with telecommunications, programming and project management was what set him apart from other candidates. This ultimately resulted in his job offer and acceptance.

“It was a pretty exciting day,” said Taylor. “I always wanted work experience in the U.S., but I never expected a company like Facebook. I am very happy for this opportunity”.

Taylor will start his position after the end of Spring semester. He will be relocating to California, where the HQ of Facebook is located.

University Auditor, Bruce Tong, Teaches Spring Compliance Course

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The School of Information and Telecommunication Systems (ITS) offers a diverse curriculum in the field of Information Technology, ranging from computer network security to IT and telecom policy. One area of IT not previously offered by the program (or any other in the university for that matter), is IT compliance. This changed recently when University Senior IT Auditor, Bruce Tong, was hired to teach a compliance class.

Bruce Tong is an OU alumnus, Air Force veteran and current staff member for the University. His professional experience spans several industries with roles such as – programmer, technical consultant, project manager, and his current role as internal auditor.

Tong’s level of expertise impressed the members of the ITS faculty and staff. This led them to approach him for a compliance course.

“As I understand it, a meeting with Doug Bowie about a future audit and security controls apparently made enough of an impression that he mentioned it to his colleagues. Later, I provided a resume, and they approached me about teaching a Compliance course” said Tong.

The result is the first ITS compliance course for both undergrad and grad ITS students. Topics of the course include understanding risk, compliance with industry and government regulations, and controls. However, despite the subject material, this course is not only useful to future consultants and auditors, a number of these topics are relevant to any technology major, including prospective engineers or managers.

“I like the story that comes along with auditing and understanding compliance,” says Tong. “Early in my career, I learned how to put together computers and information systems. Now as an auditor and instructor, I am learning and teaching how to take them apart.”

ITS Compliance is currently a special topics course. No word on whether it will become a full elective in the future. However, stay posted for details on the course’s availability in future semesters.  

Recent Alumna Spotlight – Kimberly Rometo, BSC ’04, MITS ’14

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Recent Alumna Spotlight - Kimberly Rometo, BSC '04, MITS '14

Hometown: Beavercreek, Ohio

Year Graduated: 2004 – Bachelor of Science in Communication, 2014 – Master of Information and Telecommunication Systems

School: J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems and School of Communication Studies

Major: 2004 – Communication Studies & Information and Telecommunication Systems with a Business minor

Current job title and location: Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Miami Dolphins, Miami, Florida

What do you do? I am accountable for all aspects of Information Technology – people, processes and technology. I work to establish close partnerships with all key executives, both front office functions and football operations, to identify and implement technology support and solutions.

What made you come to Ohio University? I came for the Scripps College of Communication programs and the welcoming Athens environment. Were there other places you considered? Yes, Duquesne University and Miami University. Any metros? Yes, Duquesne is located in Pittsburgh. I liked that it was a small campus in an urban area. What made this rural location more attractive? The community felt safe, welcoming and the landscape was beautiful.

How did the Scripps College of Communication equip you with the skills you needed to succeed? The communication studies program helped develop and refine my soft skills and leadership abilities while the information and telecommunication systems program exposed me to the fundamentals of network and system design. I think having a major in both schools provided for a foundation to get me where I am today. Obtaining my Master’s from the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems in 2014 cemented the technical knowledge and prepared me for larger leadership roles.

What about your experiences here was so memorable? The professors were truly the most memorable. Dr. Anita James gave me my first professional leadership opportunity by appointing me as lead for the class capstone project. Dr. Trevor Roycroft convinced me that I had the skills to succeed in the information technology field. I also consider Dr. Julio Arauz, Philip Campbell, Dr. John Hoag and Dr. Hans Kruse professional mentors to this day.

Tell us about your career path. Through the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems I earned an internship with AT&T Solutions sponsored by fellow alumni Bryan Ireton. Upon graduation, I was hired by AT&T Business Services and moved to Atlanta. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a position with AmericasMart Atlanta, the country largest gift, home and apparel tradeshow and events facility. For the next 14 years, I would work my way up in the organization until I was appointed CIO. I received a call from a recruiter in late 2018 for the VP, CIO position with the Miami Dolphins. After meeting with a passionate executive leadership team, I knew I had to move to Miami. It’s been an incredible journey and I am thankful to those I have encountered along the way.

What advice do you have for current students? Never miss an opportunity to learn something or meet someone new. You never know where your path may lead.

Interview conducted by Erin Roberts, Director of Alumni Relations for Scripps College of Communication.

Spotlight on the Bobcat Network Innovation Center (BNIC)

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Created in 2013, BNIC, or the Bobcat Network Innovation Center, is an organization within the School of Info and Telecom Systems that provides students hands on experience with valuable industry tools and practices. This experience comes in the form of 2 sets of labs that can be accessed via Google Drive. The labs cover the concepts of VMWare and Active Directory, concepts that are important to industry professionals.

“BNIC was designed as a space to cultivate and develop the critical knowledge of important industry technologies. In turn, this has led to a lot of positive feedback from IT Professionals both inside and outside Ohio University,” says Bowie.

Bowie has been a network administrator, primarily for the ITS program, since 1997. His main role is to provide support for the lab environments, whether that be VMWare, Windows Active Directory or IoT. With his impressive knowledge of all things IT, it was not a challenge for Bowie to create some labs and presentations for the ITS students.

“The Dean of the Scripps College of Communication put out a call for a more creative approach to student experiences. I envisioned an environment where students could innovate more rapidly and with room to grow that knowledge. I decided to create labs for students and make special time in the Schoonover 004 lab to explore,” says Bowie.

BNIC has developed over the years into an informal environment where students can come in and deep dive into whatever technology topic they are interested in. This has lead to a number of students bringing their hardware to the organization such as Gaming PC’s, Raspberry Pi’s and even servers.

Not only are students getting involved, but faculty, alums and other staff as well. Brandon Saunders, visiting professor in ITS, is a frequent attendee of BNIC who lends his extensive knowledge of IT and a helping hand. Corey Shafer, OIT Linux administrator, has come to a meeting and demoed competing VM hypervisors. Finally, Craig James, an ITS alum working for Buckeye Rural Electric, comes to nearly all the meetings and talks to students about the active environment that he runs for his company.

“The thing I love most about BNIC is how unpredictable it is. There is something new every time that we meet and it excites me just thinking about it,” says Bowie.

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