The Lewis IEEE Student Chapter hosted a Make-a-Thon on October 21st and 22nd. During the 24-hour event, students worked in teams and designed, built, and programmed an electronic device that performed a particular function. One team built a Morse Code Translator. Another team built a mock lunar lander. Another team built a video game and controller. Several Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics students presented, Lewis alumnus Brian Wilhelm gave a guest presentation on how to design and build custom electric guitars. Lewis alumnus Matt Kwiatkowski presented a talk on how to design and build model light sabers. Lewis Physics professor Dr. Phil Chumbley gave a talk on using Arduino circuits to build electronic gadgets. A representative from the Fox Valley IEEE Chapter visited the event and served as a guest judge. Ethan Blatti and Keller Dellinger won first place with their game "Lunar Lander". Mariana Hernandez, Jesse Hoffmeyer, and Jackson Hansen won second place with their "Morse Code Decoder" project. Third place went to Dave Gagnon, who made an LED light show. Congratulations to the IEEE Student Chapter for sponsoring an outstanding event.
Robert Dudasik, a senior double-majoring in Computer Science and Computer Engineering, won one of two $3,500 scholarships offered by ISACA-Chicago. ISACA is an international professional organization focused on the security of information systems. Robert, who is founding President of Lewis' IEEE Chapter and has been involved in a number of other activities in the Computer and Mathematical Sciences Department at Lewis, was awarded one of the Chicago Chapter's most prestigious awards based on his academic achievement, involvement in activities, and potential for future impact on the field of cyber security. Robert, who has worked as an intern at Argonne National Laboratory for a number of semesters, has taken full advantage of his time at Lewis, majoring in two of the University's most challenging and most cutting-edge programs. Congratulations to Robert Dudasik for this outstanding achievement.
The Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences is proud of the graduating class of 2017. A record number of undergraduate math and computer science majors graduated on May 21, 2017. In all, 63 math and compsci majors graduate on Sunday (with about 20 graduate students in the Master of Science in Information Security, Master of Science in Data Science, and Master of Science in Computer Science graduating the day before). This was the largest graduating class in CaMS's history. By comparison, the number of undergraduate students who graduated this weekend is greater than the entire number of students in the department 7 years ago. We will miss these wonderful people who have helped make CaMS such a great place to learn and work. Congratulations, graduates, and good luck!
We had a great turnout for our last math club meeting, our Third Annual Math Careers Panel. This annual event highlights careers in which having a strong math background is indispensible. Twenty-nine students attended to hear a panel of professionals share their experiences and offer advice on how to position themselves for an engaging and meaningful career using their mathematics skills. Special thanks to Mrs. Adrienne Harrell (actuarial sciences), Dr. Gina Martinez (computer engineering), Mr. Michael Smith (graduate school), and Ms. Nicole Ware (education) for talking about their experiences and giving advice on how to prepare for their jobs!
The annual Senior Honors Awards in the College of Arts and Sciences celebrated the achievements of the College's top students on April 25, 2017. Among the honors were 18 students from Computer and Mathematical Sciences who earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students Wyatt Blatti, Trevor Cherry, Grecia Equihua, Jacob Gillis, Nauman Hussain, Krystal Le, Alyssa Malzone, Bryon Nush, Joseph Onesto, Leanna Pitsoulakis, Edward Pluth, Jessie Racinowski, Alex Siemiawski, Nicholas Siemiawski, Steven Suggett, Daniel Szuba, Ashley Walsh, and Lura Zukoski were honored for this achievement. Additionally, the top student in each program was honored with the Departmental Award. Alyssa Malzone won the Departmental Award for Mathematics, and Krystal Le won the Departmental Award for Computer Science. Congratulations to these outstanding students.
Math majors Wyatt Blatti, Joe Garcia, Liz Geier, Jake Gillis, Joe Onesto, Grecia Plasencia Acosta, Bradford Smith, and Quinn Stratton attended the 2017 MAA Illinois Section Conference March 31 - April 1 at the College of DuPage. The MAA is a national organization that helps advance mathematics curricula and research. It sponsors a number of educational initiatives. This year, the Illinois Section's annual meeting featured concurrent sessions featuring undergraduate research and workshops on using technology in statistics courses, the application of mathematics to diverse fields, and a student math contest. Congratulations to our students who participated.
The CaMS Cyber Defense Group is the student-led cyber security club for the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences. They meet regularly to help each other gain experience as network administrators and cyber security engineers. They have participated in a number of cyber defense competitions. On April 1st and 2nd, they represented Lewis University at the Rochester Institute of Technology's Networking and Systems Infrastructure Competition (NSIC). Computer Science majors Joey Casalino, Cody Cosentino, Ryan Meeker, Bryon Nush, and Brian White participated. This is the second straight year the team has competed at NSIC. Congratulations to the team!
Twenty Computer Science majors participated in the first annual HackFlyers hackathon, which was sponsored by our ACM-W Chapter. A hackathon is an event in which problem solvers come together to solve problems. Participants come to the event with a problem they want to solve or an application they want to build, and then they have 24 hours to build it. This year, students worked on creating a scheduling system for our Maker Lab, automating the creation of our daily department newsletters, building a video game from scratch, creating a higher-fidelity alternative to Skype, and building a tool for logging places in the world you've visited. The winning team of Andrew Camphouse, Andrew Conte, and Alison Cross wrote a Skype replacement in Python that proved extremely reliable and offered sound quality that sounded significantly better than Skype. Judges included Dr. Howard, faculty moderator of ACM-W, and Dr. Klump, as well as recent alumni Joe Block, Lacey Granko, Robert Granko, and Chris Pelech. The 24-hour event featured lots of food and caffeinated beverages, live tutorials on web and mobile development from Dr. Howard and Dr. Szczurek, and a Saturday night dance party. The ACM-W is a division of the international ACM organization that focuses on bringing more women into computer science, and we have a new chapter of this important group at Lewis. Our ACM-W Chapter sponsored this event, which will become an annual highlight of the tremendous talent our Computer Science students have. Thanks to the members of ACM-W for organizing this event (particularly Krystal Le), and congratulations and thanks to all the participants. It was so wonderful to see the talent and creativity our students possess.
The Illinois Technology Foundation awarded its 13 of its 50 Fifty for the Future Awards to Lewis University Computer Science and Engineering majors. The award celebrates Illinois students who show promise as future technology leaders. This year's winners from CaMS are Frank Brandt, Andrew Camphouse, Francisco Cano, Joseph Casalino, Marc Cerda, Anthony Conte, Alison Cross, Robert Dudasik, Grecia Equihua, John Laschober, Krystal Le, Jenna Rolowicz, and Ashley Walsh. These students were recognized at the annual Fifty for the Future awards ceremony, which was held Tuesday, March 7. Congratulations to these outstanding awardees!
Lewis sent three teams of students to the annual ACCA programming competition on Saturday, February 18, and they did very well. One of our two teams in the Advanced category got the third most problems right (5 problems out of 8). And our Novice team took home the 4th place plaque. Congratulations to James Klein, Arthur Chan, Marc Cerda, Mario Franchi, Robert Dudasik, Steven Suggett, Anthony Conte, Mark Horeni, John Laschober, Laura Zukoski, Krystal Le, and Nauman Hussain. Thank you to Dr. Piotr Szczurek for coaching the team this year.
The CaMS Cyber Defense Group, a team of Computer Science majors who focus on cyber security and defense, took third place at the State of Illinois Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (IL-CCDC) on February 18, 2017. The team of Bryon Nush, Joey Casalino, Ryan Meeker, Gabe Diaz DeLeon, Randle Ross, Johnny Kegaly, Brian White, and Cody Cosentino set up a variety of systems and services and defended them against a team of hackers for seven hours. The students have been training since September in the Computer Science labs. Assistant Professor Dr. Jason Perry has served as their faculty mentor. Over that time, they have each specialized in a particular kind of system while making sure that they knew enough about each other's specialization to fill in and help if needed. They have become experts on firewalls, Windows servers, Linux servers, web apps, DNS, Active Directory, and other components that comprise modern networks. Not only have they developed deep expertise through their Computer Science coursework and independent study, but they have also learned to cooperate as a highly effective IT team must. We are extremely proud of them and their accomplishments. Their next competition will be at the Networking and Systems Infrastructure Competition in New York. The students' participation in these competitions is made possible through the generosity of our alumni and friends, as is the equipment on which they train. Congratulations to the entire team.
Computer Science students Joey Casalino, Gabriel De Leon, Brian White, Bryon Nush, Ryan Meeker, Randle Ross, Dan Szuba, and Cody Cosentino represented Lewis University at the Iowa State University cyber defense competition on February 3-4, 2017. The students have been training all year for this and two other cyber security events they'll be participating in this year. The various team members each specialized on a particular type of information system, from Linux hosts to database and web servers running on various platforms. Congratulations to the team for their outstanding efforts.
Jay Johnson, Computer Science alumnus and IT Manager at Argonne National Laboratory, presented a talk entitled "Practical Approaches to Multifactor Authentication" to Lewis Computer Science students and faculty on February 2, 2017. Jay's talk discussed the implementation, advantages, and disadvantages of various multifactor authentication technologies, including email and text message notifications, physical tokens, and smart cards that use tiny processors to interact with readers to verify public key signatures. Jay had recently given a similar talk to Argonne staff. We appreciate that Jay shared his expertise with students and faculty at his alma mater.
Leo Murphy of Trading Technologies visited the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences on January 24. He described how his company, which makes tools that help traders buy and sell stocks, depend on people skilled in writing computer software. He demonstrated his company's product and encouraged our majors to apply for internships, because they need employees who can code. You can watch the recording of his talk here.
The Lewis Math Club's Canned Food Drive was a great success! We were able to donate $190 and 45 lbs of food to Northern Illinois Food Bank! This surpassed last year's donation! Thanks to everyone who donated and especially to Math Club President Leanna Pitsoulakis for leading this project!
Students in the new ACM-W Chapter took a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry Saturday, December 17. The ACM is the Association of Computing Machinery, an international organization for the advancement of the computer sciences. ACM-W focuses on providing more opportunities for women in the field. We had a wonderful time looking at the various exhibits, including the new Lego-themed "Brick by Brick", and we got a chance to see the Christmas trees with decorations from around the world. It was a fun day.
Increasing the number of women in Computer Science is an important priority for our department. Nationally, only 18 percent of Computer Scientists are women. And yet, this is arguably the field that has the most impact on everyday life today. Technology solutions need to address the needs and interests of all of us. But if the pool of people building those solutions isn't diverse, then it becomes harder to serve everyone with the technologies we build. So, like Computer Science departments across the country, we are taking steps to recruit and retain more women in Computer Science.
Computer Science students John Laschober, Kevin Gannon, Karl Ferraren, Mylene Haus, and Miguel Barboza developed a video game for a contest sponsored by Zurich, Switzerland-based AirConsole. AirConsole manufacturers a platform that enables players to control an on-screen game using their smartphone as the game pad. The Lewis team was one of the only teams from the United States to participate in the competition. Their game is called Falling Fighters. You can watch a demo of it here. They created the game from scratch using C#, Unity, and AirConsole's API. They did a tremendous job, as you'll see from the demo.
Brian Quinlan and Kurt Becker were selected as the recipients of the CaMS Departmental Awards for the Fall 2016 semester. The Departmental Award is given to one student in each major. The recipient of the award must have a GPA of at least 3.5 and show traits such as leadership, involvement, and service. Brian won the award for Computer Science, and Kurt won it for Mathematics.
Congratulations to these outstanding students!
David Santefort (physics major, math minor), Matthew Bunda (physics major, math minor), Joe Onesto (math and computer science double major), and Matthew Knight (math major) were inducted into the Illinois Iota Chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (PME), the national Math Honors Society, on Thursday, October 27th, as part of the ACCA Math Lecture Series.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCASM). NCASM is a time set aside by the Department of Homeland Security to help raise awareness of the growing and persistent threat posed by cyber breaches against individuals, organizations, and critical infrastructures. Dr. Ray Klump, Chair of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, kicked off Lewis University's recognition of NCASM with an Arts and Ideas talk.
Computer Science alumnus Tom Drez gave a talk on cyber security to Lewis students on September 21, 2016, at 7pm. The talk, entitled "Cyber Security, Cyber Risk, and Data Breaches, Oh My!" kicked off the ACCA Computer Science Seminar Series, which Lewis is hosting on the topic of cyber security this fall for the Associated Colleges of the Chicagoland Area (ACCA).
Alyssa Malzone, a senior math-ed major, and Matthew Knight, a senior math major, both attended and presented at the 2016 MathFest in Columbus Ohio August 3-6. Alyssa presented her talk, "Comparing Assessment Techniques in Calculus II" at the Pi Mu Epsilon undergraduate student paper session. Matthew's talk, "Determining Student Success and Persistence in Mathematics Courses" was presented at the MAA undergraduate student paper session. Both students were awarded travel grants. Matthew received a MAA travel grant, and as part of the Illinois Iota chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, Alyssa was awarded a PME travel grant. Both students worked with Dr. Amanda Harsy on their research projects. Alyssa's project was completed as an independent study and Matthew's research was funded by Lewis University' SURE program.
To learn about other research and conference opportunities or about joining Pi Mu Epsilon or Kappa Mu Epsilon, feel free to contact Dr. Harsy.