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College of Information Sciences and Technology

Fall 2010




DEAN’S message

I’m excited to be writing this message; the first time under my new banner as the official Dean, rather than the Interim Dean. It is a pleasure to work with students, faculty, staff, partners, and our alumni. We have a number of areas to celebrate this fall. We welcome two new assistant professors to IST: Dr. Jens Grossklags and Dr. Erika Poole. Dr. Grossklags earned his Ph.D. at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include information privacy, security, and implications of interdependent systems on society. Dr. Erika Poole joins us from Georgia Tech where she earned her Ph.D. in humancentered computing. Her research interests include workplace adoption of collaboration software and collaborative gaming for improving health and wellness.


College of Information Sciences and Technology

David Hall, Dean College of Information Sciences and Technology

During the past year, IST faculty achieved an all-time record of $9.3 million in research grants. Dr. Heng Xu was awarded the PNC Technologies Career Development Professorship and won three highly competitive NSF grants. Dr. Andrea Tapia, Dr. John Yen, and others are conducting research that supports disaster relief, while Dr. Peng Liu leads a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative project on cyber situation awareness. Dr. William McGill and Dr. Anna Squicciarini were recognized at a recent meeting at the White House by President Barack Obama for their “Best Educational Plan” in the 2010 Department of Homeland Security Cyber Security Awareness Campaign Challenge.

to receive many compliments from employers about the high quality of IST graduates. One of our undergraduates, Jamilah Matthews, is featured in this issue describing her internship in Dublin, Ireland.

Our students continue to be in high demand by employers. The recent Pro Expo held on September 13 featured more than 50 companies seeking IST students for employment and internships. It was gratifying


On October 10, the IST Alumni Society hosted a Technology, Entertainment and Design (TEDx) conference at Penn State. Led by IST graduate Steve Garguilo, the event featured a day of internationally recognized speakers, demonstrations, and events showcasing Penn State. More than 1,200 people attended. Please continue to participate in IST activities and events. We look forward to your interactions with IST.

David Hall Dean of IST

Fall 2010


College of Information Sciences and Technology Editor Jaime Lynch Editorial Staff Jenna Ekdahl Kim Nguyen Kate Shelton Art Direction & Designer Kelly Bryan Multimedia Specialist & Photography Emilee Spokus Dean, College of IST David Hall Alumni Relations Specialist Sherry Langrock Ph: 814-863-7548 Contact Us: iConnect Inquiries Jaime Lynch 814-867-1236








Associate Professor Andrea Tapia combines her background in sociology with technology studies to see how she can help efforts to improve sustainability after disasters. Madhu Reddy, associate professor, takes an in-depth look at how small, rural hospitals would benefit from outsourcing and partnering with larger, technologically advanced hospitals where HIT is already in place.

Professor Peng Liu and colleagues have been working to study cyber awareness and solve the problems caused by cyber attacks.

FOUR FACULTY BRING NEW PERSPECTIVES TO IST This semester, four new faculty members joined the ranks at University Park. Jens Grossklags, Erika Poole, Peter Forster, and Katherine Hamilton have begun teaching and conducting research for IST.













Fall 2010


Photo provided by

IST research aids disaster relief through technology


Disaster relief efforts have been the subject of much research done by College of IST faculty.

technology such as tweet and text analysis and the use of handheld devices to record data.

Associate Professor Andrea Tapia started work in this area four years ago, combining her background in sociology with technology studies to see how she could help efforts to improve sustainability after disasters. Much of her work with technology connects disaster zones to third party non-governmental organizations (NGOs) so that they can provide healthcare, food, water, and other services to afflicted areas.

“At the most technical level, they can create standards and organize collective purchases,” Tapia said.

Her work began with an organization, called NetHope, which coordinates calls for service between the areas that need relief and the NGOs. NetHope aims to connect services with providers through

One of the research efforts Tapia is involved with is COHORT, the Coordination of Humanitarian Organizations in Relief using Technology. In one COHORT project, Tapia—in coordination with the


College of Information Sciences and Technology

Tapia said that working with coordinators like NetHope can benefit both the victims in need and the NGOs. Sharing could cut down on victim surveys by combining questions and sharing answers within the NGO network.

EMERSE: National Science Foundation— researched the uses of handheld devices in healthcare in disaster relief after a tsunami hit Southeast Asia, four years ago. The purpose of the project was to study the use of handheld devices to record data and share it between organizations. It was implemented to record medical data after disasters. However, these new technologies were not flawless. Tapia found that in some circumstances, the citizens had charts where they could compare every infant in the village. If one infant did not match up, the entire community could respond. “The point of the research was to say the choice to use handhelds and to collect data in this way had unintended circumstances that may need to be considered,” Tapia said. The use of devices did not offer a comparison chart or the ability to draw pictures in margins to denote what a certain comment meant. Tapia said that unless the social and technical systems match, something goes wrong. COHORT aims to reach technological determinism, insertion of technology to solve a social problem, within these communities after more research.

Another project Tapia works with is EMERSE, Enhanced Messaging for the Emergency Response Sector. EMERSE focuses on developing a response system from a collection of text messages or tweets. Messages are collected, separated by needs and location, and aggregated to certain companies to respond to the needs. Research began in Haiti. “Aid workers are using Twitter. People on the ground in developed countries are using Twitter,” she said. EMERSE allows NGOs to receive timely and accurate data after aggregation so they can respond properly. Twitter recently developed a locator that links tweets to location based on global positioning. Tapia said that this locator could make the information more trustworthy and NGOs may be more willing to respond.


By Kate Shelton

In light of recent natural disasters around the globe, researchers at IST—like John Yen, professor and director of strategic research initiatives for the college—are developing new ways of helping through technology. Inspired by the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a research team at IST has developed EMERSE (Enhanced Messaging for the Emergency Response Sector); a reusable information technology infrastructure that categorizes tweets and text messages and sends the data to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs such as those coordinated by NetHope then allocate resources in response to the messages. “Our critical focus is ‘how do events change?’ Sometimes events increase the change of another event and our technology can help predict or anticipate the next event,” Yen said. The IST research team has collaborated with Ushahidi, a program similar to EMERSE that allocates a team to label reports, to overcome difficulties in classifying tweets. The team’s partnership with NetHope also assisted in development because it allowed EMERSE researchers to gain vital feedback from the NGOs. Eventually the team plans for EMERSE to include all forms of social media. “The quality of life is so easily touched by each one of us,” Yen said. “Developments like EMERSE are just about leveraging opportunities.” Fall 2010


Hospital-to-Hospital Health Information Technology (HIT) Partnerships: A New Model for IT Diffusion in Rural Hospitals By Kim Nguyen 6

College of Information Sciences and Technology


iffusion and adoption of health technologies is an important area of health information technology (HIT) for all hospitals, from large, technologically advanced hospitals to smaller, rural hospitals. However, affording HIT is a common challenge for rural hospitals, due to its sizeable cost and the budget constraints these hospitals face. A previous study showed that rural hospitals spend less than two percent of their operating budget on HIT. This fact highlights the danger of smaller hospitals being left behind in the adoption of HIT. Recently, developing innovative approaches to designing, deploying, and sustaining HIT infrastructures for rural hospitals has become significant and several potential solutions have appeared, including obtaining HIT from a traditional vendor. However, for Madhu Reddy, associate professor of information sciences and technology, the solution to providing rural hospitals access to HIT doesn’t necessarily lie in finding a traditional HIT vendor to support the hospitals. Reddy’s recent study, funded by the Commonwealth Fund, takes

an in-depth look at how small, rural hospitals would benefit from outsourcing and partnering with larger, technologically advanced hospitals where HIT is already in place. This idea, known as hospital-to-hospital partnerships (HHP), was developed through a previous case study. “The study is building on a case study that one of my masters students did three years ago, where we look at outsourcing a few of the rural hospitals in Pennsylvania to a larger hospital,” said Reddy. “The results from that study were successful, so we would like to see if this idea would work on a larger scale.” Two phases make up the overall, 18-month study. The first phase is a survey of several rural and larger hospitals in the northeastern region of the United States, which would determine if the idea of partnering rural hospitals with larger hospitals is a new idea, if it has been implemented already, and if not, if it’s a topic that attracts interest. After the first phase is completed, the second phase will involve Reddy and his team returning to the hospitals used in the previous study (four rural hospitals in Pennsylvania) to quantify the benefits of

HHP. The findings would be used to make further policy recommendations regarding the idea of HHP. If successful, the team hopes to implement HHP with the hospitals, and in the future, potentially expand HHP to other areas of the United States. During this study, Reddy will be working with two faculty investigators (CO-PIs), Angsana Techatassanasoontorn, assistant professor of IST and Sandeep Purao, associate professor of IST. His team also includes two graduate students and an undergraduate student. For Reddy, the issue of HIT in rural hospitals is a timely topic, and he looks forward to adding this new branch of research to his overall research interests in information technology in the healthcare domain, primarily within hospitals. “Most of my other research is much more conceptual, theoretical, foundational… this [study] is more of a policy implication, therefore it has the potential to have direct effect right away,” he said. “This research can impact people in two years, if it’s successful.”

Fall 2010




The Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) works to coordinate Cyber Situational Awareness and the development of new programs to combat cyber attacks. Professor Peng Liu and colleagues have been working, through the LIONS Center, to study cyber awareness and solve the problems caused by cyber attacks. The impacts of cyber attacks range from malware to data corruption and, depending on the severity, are combated in different ways.


College of Information Sciences and Technology

“Now you know what has happened and how serious it is and now you want to know, ‘Okay, how can I handle it?’” Liu said. Some defense mechanisms include unplugging the server or just patching it. Liu said that it is important to strategize and think about where the adversaries might make moves, similar to a game of chess. Little research was done on this topic prior to the MURI project and most of it focused on either sensory awareness for hardware and software or analysts’ decisions. Between the two topics, there is information that could be valuable to this field of study. “In the middle you can see it’s really quite like a desert; not much research is done,” Liu said. He emphasized the importance of tapping into the potential to develop new software tools or protocols of routine in order to find a solution for cyber situational awareness. Information fusion, data knowledge processing, and decision-making all occur between sensory awareness and analysis. Liu’s work with the project is two-fold. He is working to increase personal awareness as well as develop technology based on the way humans make decisions, analyze data, and make sense of large volumes of intelligence. “This project involves humans and technology so by nature it is interdisciplinary,” Liu said. While the project also involves four other universities, Liu is thankful for his team at IST.

“You cannot easily get a team that can handle all the important needs,” he said. IST is an interdisciplinary college and each team member in the LIONS Center has a different specialty. According to Liu, forming a team was easy as each member’s skills and focus compliment with another member’s skills and focus. The team forms a cohesive unit and makes success easier and more convenient, he said. Liu said that IST can also provide a lot of support through its vast array of research resources and grants from the research administration office. The office assists with grant proposal paperwork and securing funds for projects such as MURI among others. The college reaps many benefits from this project, according to Liu. Not only does it provide opportunity for graduate and undergraduate research but it also brings in grant money for such projects. It promotes connections between disciplines within the college, further uniting research partnerships, he said. “Once this kind of intellectual integration can be done, [it] could win more grants because this integration itself has value,” Liu said. The MURI project is an on-going project that continues to be supported by and support IST and its faculty, staff, and students.

Fall 2010


IST Around the State In memory of Dr. Patrice A. Clemson, Penn State Beaver Campus Patrice “Pat” Clemson, IST Beaver Campus champion, passed away on July 6, 2010. She was an instructor of information sciences and technology, and taught numerous IST classes during her time at Penn State. She graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1973 with a degree in Political Science. She later received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. She believed strongly that university faculty in her field should have practical experience in industry. Consequently, she also was employed for several years in the Information Services and Data Processing divisions of National Data Corporation and Pittsburgh National Corporation. Patrice was a talented fiber artist and weaver. She never tired of telling her students how the modern computer is a direct descendent of the programmable Jacquard loom of the nineteenth century. She also was an accomplished musician who spent many hours at her piano. She was a fan of all varieties of music. Patrice performed with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh for several years and sang in the choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood during the many years she and her family resided in Edgewood. She also played with the Church’s Handbell Choirs. Since moving to the country six years ago, Patrice became an avid birdwatcher and an enthusiastic gardener. She and her students became regular volunteers at Old Economy Village in Ambridge where they worked on developing websites and computer systems for recording and indexing the many historic documents and artifacts maintained at the site. 10

College of Information Sciences and Technology

In recognition of her many efforts to bring together the campus and business communities to provide internship and employment opportunities for her students, the Penn State Advisory Board awarded Patrice the Faculty Excellence in Service Award for Outstanding Service to the University, Society and the Profession. She was a long-standing member of several professional societies, including the American Society for Information Science and Technology, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Library Association. In addition, she was a member of the Butler Spinners and Weavers Guild. “Pat was a tireless champion for IST and especially for her students,” said Gerry Santoro, assistant professor of information sciences and technology. “She loved working with students and was driven toward the goal of making the IST Programs at Beaver the best they could possibly be. She was fun to work with, friendly and helpful, and we will greatly miss her.”

PALMS project enhances student learning Jeffrey Stone, instructor of IST at Penn State Schuylkill, and Tricia Clark, instructional designer at Penn State Berks, have collaborated to create a set of animated learning modules designed to enhance the problemsolving skills of first-year students and to illustrate the applicability of computer science and information sciences and technology to other fields. The project, named Project-Oriented Animated Learning Modules (PALMS), consists of multiple technologies, including an animated multimedia presentation, lab exercises, quizzes, and a student-

driven Wiki. The initial PALMS module went online for three courses during the 2008-2009 academic year. Since then, ongoing student feedback has been collected and the module has been enhanced to include more interactive quiz mechanisms.

the PALMS developers are working to expand the project into other Web 2.0 technologies to leverage student excitement. Future goals for the project include extending the PALMS module for IST 110.

According to Stone, improvements in student success and retention have been seen and students report being very engaged by the PALMS materials. The PALMS project is now in its fifth semester of use and

On Sunday, October 10, 2010 the IST Alumni Society brought TEDxPSU to Penn State. The day-long event, which was held at Schwab Auditorium and broadcast to satellite viewing locations around campus, featured thought-provoking speakers and presenters from Penn State and the world at large. Led by Steve Garguilo (IST ’09), the TEDxPSU executive committee included IST alumni Andrew Brown, Ryan Dickson, Rich McMillen, Mark Poblete, and current IST student Zach Zimbler. More than 1,200 people attended the inaugural event.

Fall 2010



College of Information Sciences and Technology


Jamilah Matthews one, we talked with everyone else about how we were “getting on,” or what we did the prior evening.

After an educational, exciting, intuitive, mind, body, and sprit-developing stay in Dublin, Ireland, I am exhausted. I learned so much in the short expanse of my four-week internship with KPMG. I grew in ways I couldn’t imagine. I challenged myself. I made mistakes. I overcame obstacles. Most importantly, I grew as a person and that is something worth more than gold, platinum even. My internship with KPMG’s Dublin office took place on the second floor of the Stokes Place building in the Transaction Services department. My team was very large, consisting of two global interns, five trainees, three managers, two directors, and two partners. The managers, directors, and partners sat in offices that surrounded the floor and the remainder of the team sat in a huge work station that consisted of three rows with four seats each, a copier/ printer/fax machine, giant two-hole punch, and a break room. The normal work setting was very “chatty;” as we walked into work between 8:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. one by

The work I was given by KPMG was very different from the IT advisory work I was used to. The Transaction Services department deals with helping clients through mergers and acquisitions. In the beginning, most of my work consisted of doing background research on the clients the team was about to work on. KPMG Ireland had excellent research tools on its internal site. I would use those to aid in me making presentations for the rest of the team so that they could know what they were dealing with. I would gather recent news articles, press releases, and the basic background information to build a company profile report. During the latter part of my internship, I was asked by one of the partners on the team to create the Transaction Services Annual Report for 2010. This was by far the most exciting and fundamental task I was given. My manager walked me through the 2009 report, emailed me some resources, and sent me on my way. I felt so responsible. He gave me this project and I had to start from scratch and figure out everything on my own (with the discretional use of my resources). Personally, I learn best this way and gained the most experience from

this one task. I was honored that he would even give me, the intern, a project that his name would go on and that all of the partners at KPMG would ultimately see. In addition to the normal work days, I also took part in training days, where all of the interns and work placement students would be trained on interview skills, teamwork skills, and presentation skills. KPMG has the best trainings, and I really enjoyed them because they gave me skills that I could take anywhere, use anywhere and be very successful. From this internship, I gained work experience, lived in Dublin, traveled to Paris, and gained educational insight into the challenges posed by globalization while working with clients in both the U.S. and Ireland. My experience was one that I would not change for the world.

Fall 2010




You’ve recently won three National Science Foundation (NSF) Awards. How do you feel knowing that you have years of sponsored research ahead in the future? I see these research awards as stronger motivations toward producing high-impact results and achieving research excellence with my teams. I am happy that all these projects focus on the convergence of information, technology and people with the overall goal of understanding and assuring privacy and security. I hope that, at the time when we complete the research work, these awards themselves are no more rewarding to us than creating long-lasting positive impacts that others can truly enjoy.

What’s your favorite part about your research? There are two parts I enjoy most: problem solving and writing. The problem solving process is like a wonderful scavenger hunt when you get to the end. It’s a thrill of discovery. For the writing part of research, I consider it as a way to share my joyous and inquisitive journey of scientific discovery. I heard you have an educational background in fashion design! How did this come about? When I was a college student (majoring in Information Systems), I was a part-time fashion model, and 14

later a producer of fashion shows on campus. I managed a number of shows, including model training, stage design, outfit selections, etc. I was very curious of the role as a fashion designer. With such curiosity, I enrolled in a part-time program at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. In July 2005, I managed to finish my Ph.D. dissertation at National University of Singapore, as well as my own fashion collection as my graduation project at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work? Recently I found new passion in fashionable technologies. I dream that, one day I can produce a fashion show for my own collections reflecting cool elements of both fashion and technology. Perhaps nine years later? What do you enjoy most about being a professor? Teaching and research. The joy of teaching is to experience that moment of recognition my students experience when they “get it.” It warms my heart to see the visual expression of joy on students’ faces. The joy of doing research is to articulate and solve problems that others are concerned about, unaware of, or confused about. The research process is as beautiful as playing a music instrument, and composing songs.

College of Information Sciences and Technology

If you could describe your job in one word, what would it be? Passion. I stick around things I have passions for. So I do what I love and do the best I can.

How do you spend your free time? Facebooking, reading, writing, sewing, cooking, shopping, daydreaming, and spending time with family and friends. What is your favorite clothing brand? Zara. This Spanish clothing retailer often beats the high-fashion houses to the market and offers the similar products, made with less expensive fabric, at much lower prices. In Zara stores, I can always find new and exciting outfits that reflect the latest trend—but they are in limited supply. Zara fans all know that they will lose their chances if they plan to buy their favorite outfits one week later. I love Zara and its fast fashion culture driven by IT! You traveled to China this summer. Where did you visit while you were in China? I visited City University of Hong Kong, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Sichuan University in Chengdu, and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu.

Fall 2010


Jens Grossklags

Erika Poole

Peter Forster

Katherine Hamilton

Four new faculty bring fresh perspectives to


By Jenna Ekdahl

This semester, four new faculty members joined the ranks at University Park. Jens Grossklags, Erika Poole, Peter Forster, and Katherine Hamilton have begun teaching and conducting research for IST. Jens Grossklags and Erika Poole are both assistant professors of information sciences and technology. According to IST Dean David Hall, Grossklags and Poole were top picks in a national faculty search that involved more than 400 applications. “We are very pleased that they accepted our offer to join IST,” Hall said. Grossklags, who received his Ph.D. from the School of Information at the University of California, 16

Berkeley, said he is pleased with IST’s “multidisciplinary program with solid foundations in privacy, security and technology policy research and teaching. “I intend to make important contributions … and to work towards effective technical, behavioral, and economic interventions,” he said. “A further goal is to be involved in and to provide actionable input to the public policy process addressing consumers’ privacy and security concerns.” Poole said because the US is facing challenges with its citizens’ health and wellbeing, her current research will focus on how information technologies can foster positive individual and community health behavior changes.

College of Information Sciences and Technology

“It’s estimated that children growing up today will actually have a shorter lifespan than their parents,” she said. “That’s sobering stuff.” Poole, who received her Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she is looking forward to teaching a class next semester on this material that will involve handson experience and several field trips. Poole and Grossklags both said they want to get to know the IST community. “Whether you are student, faculty, staff member or alumni, come by my office and say ‘Hello.’ You are always welcome,” Grossklags said. For Forster and Hamilton, the new positions may seem like a return to

someplace quite familiar. Both are Penn State graduates of multiple degrees. Forster received his B.A., M.A., and Ph. D. from the University, and Hamilton earned her M.S. and Ph. D. at Penn State as well. According to Forster, being a former student at Penn State helps him to understand his students. “I think the biggest difference about teaching as an alum are the things you remember from your experience,” he said. “In many cases, I believe it helps you relate to the students.”

developing on-line programs for World Campus,” Hall said. In reasonable class sizes, Forster said he tries to learn every student’s name because students appreciate it. “I believe as faculty we need to make an effort to have the highest quality course as possible and … we have an obligation to make sure the students understand why they need to understand these things.”

Because of his background in political science, Forster said he wants to contribute to IST research, specifically outreach in the international sphere.

Hamilton, IST instructor and research associate, said she believes the college utilizes a diverse faculty to better understand how technology, information, and people interact.

“Pete Forster is an experienced faculty member with extensive international experience and experience in teaching and

“Even though my training in industrial/organizational psychology seems to be far removed from IST, I have been using my knowledge on

the ‘team mind’ to better understand the collaborative processes that take place in simulated emergency management teams and among cyber-security network analysts,” Hamilton said. While returning to the University as a faculty member hasn’t been as intimidating of an experience as she’d expected, Hamilton said there are some marked differences now that she’s an instructor, including the shift of her focus from publishing her dissertation to publishing research. However, one of the most notable differences she’s experienced between her time as a graduate student and an instructor is much simpler: a better parking spot.

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m o c . m u l ista Fall 2010


IST Alumni Society President’s Message From Prerana Dalal

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway into the new year, for both classes and the society. We’ve already seen a lot of changes – the college has a new Dean, Dr. David Hall, and a new Development Director, Joyce Matthews, both of whom I am very excited to work with; new board members, Paul Horn and Dan Hansel, who will serve as our president-elect and current students chair respectively; and new overall leadership as I take over for Pete Lechner. The society has come a long way under Pete’s tenure and I am looking forward to building upon our recent successes to continue the growth of the society. We have gone from a fledgling group of alumni with a lot of great ideas into a welloiled branded business with annual events that have become a staple for the school year. Some of those events include:

Prerana Dalal

• Fall tailgate – This year it was held during Homecoming on the IST north lawn. It was an early morning, with great food, and an even better turn out. Thank you to all who joined us and I hope to see all of you at our spring tailgate as well! • Current student and alumni mentoring and networking program – This has always been a great way for students and alumni to connect and exchange thoughts, ideas, and advice. We continue to grow the program to include “Fast Start” students who have an interest in IST. • High school speaker series – The Society is providing a great opportunity to its members to reach out to high schools in order to promote careers in technology. We are always looking for members who are interested in participating. • Alumni networking events – We’re always trying to expand our events outside of PSU to bring networking events and happy hours to the neighborhoods of our alumni. Don’t forget to check out the Society communications for more information on events coming to your area! • Commonwealth campus events – Recently, we made a visit to Penn State Harrisburg for a panel discussion and it was very well received. The next events at our commonwealth campuses include Berks, Abington, and Brandywine. • Supporting IST THON – THON is a great Penn State tradition and this year the students are trying to reestablish their dancer status. The Society is proud to support the initiatives of the students. FTK! Events like the ones above go a long way in maintaining a professional network that can be leveraged by the College, students, and alumni. Created by alumni for alumni, the Society’s continued goal is provide assistance to the College, its students, and to each other via programs of mutual benefit. I hope to continue all of these events and begin to enter into a new avenue for growth in membership and a diverse set of events. I urge all of you to reach out and get involved – my door (erm, email inbox?) is always open. 18

College of Information Sciences and Technology

Alumni Society News

By Ryan Pfister Marketing and Communications Chair IST Alumni Society

Penn State Night at the Phillies:

More than 15 alums came out to enjoy some grilling and intense games of ladder ball and support THON at Penn State Night at the Phillies on Saturday, September 1. The evening was filled with Penn State chants, a visit from the Nittany Lion and PSU cheerleaders, and the Phillies won a thriller, 5-4. Photos are posted on

Ice Cream Social at the Pro Expo:

While IST students strutted their stuff for employers, a group of dedicated IST alumni tried out a new job of their own: scooping ice cream! The event, which was held September 13, helped raise awareness of the IST Alumni Society and gave students a tasty reward after high pressure meet-and-greets.

IST Alumni Society Fall Tailgate:

Despite the early morning start, more than 80 IST alumni, students, and staff members came out to the North Lawn on October 9 to celebrate before the homecoming game versus Illinois. In addition, a few of the TEDxPSU speakers stopped by to get a taste of what Penn State had to offer. Congratulations to the iPad drawing winner: Ken Good! Photos are posted on

Fantasy football:

The Alumni Society kicked off another season of fantasy football. Seventeen teams, include 13 alumni teams and four student teams, are battling for bragging rights and a spot on a plaque in the IST Building. Since each team made a donation to play, this season raised $160 to fund society events and initiatives.

Mentoring program:

The IST Alumni Society is kicking off its student mentoring program again! Interested in helping guide a student on the path to IST success? Contact Alumni Society Current Students Committee Chair Dan Hansel at dhansel@ for details. Congratulations again to the latest members of the Alumni Society board: President-Elect Paul Horn and Current Students Committee Chair Dan Hansel! As always, check out for all the latest news and events. Fall 2010


Class Notes Ever wonder what happened to our illustrious past alumni society presidents after they completed their terms? Find out in this special edition of iConnect Bios! Pete Lechner - Served as president from April 2008 - April 2010 Pete, our most recent former president, still resides near Allentown, Pa., and works for Computer Aid, Inc. He and his girlfriend Jennifer have enjoyed trips to Rehoboth Delaware, New York City, and just recently New England to take in the autumn season. He has four nephews and one niece, all under the age of seven, whom he tries to see whenever he can. Despite no longer being an active officer in the society, Pete still stays busy in society activities. He remains in contact with current president Prerana Dalal and the rest of the board and helps out whenever he can. He recently assisted Brian Frees at Penn State Harrisburg as he continues to support IST at commonwealth campuses bridging the gap back to University Park. “It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly eight years since I graduated with the first class of IST,” Pete writes. He sends his congratulations to Prerana, Steve Garguilo, and his team on planning and organizing TEDx, and encourages all alumni and community members within the College to reach out to him and let him know how he can help as we move forward in marketing the IST Brand.

Stephen Pipino - Served as president from April 2005 - April 2008 Steve is currently an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Va., doing IT consulting for the federal government. He’s also pursuing his master’s degree in computer science from George Washington University, anticipating a 2011 graduation date. During the past year, he’s purchased a home in Fairfax, Va., and married his girlfriend, Frankie (Orbacz).

Luis Valbuena—Served as president from April 2003 - April 2005 Luis has had a busy time since retiring in 2005 from being the alumni society’s first president. In 2007, he was recruited by Xerox from IBM, where after only a year he ventured out to found his own company, Well Done Entertainment, which provides management and record label services for recording artists. One of his company’s clients was recently featured on the MTV show “Made.” Additionally, he assumes an executive role in a video production company, Noisemaker Media. Luis lives in New York City where he regularly paints the town with his friends, chief among them, his 10-month-old English bulldog named Rocky.


College of Information Sciences and Technology

“It fascinates me how powerful technology is and with it how efficient it is in so many aspects of our daily lives. I enjoy solving problems and using technology to find the most effective way to solve tasks,” she said. Flynn aspires to work as a consultant for a few years after graduation, save money, and travel. Eventually, she wants to go back to school to receive her IT teaching certification. Flynn’s past experiences include an internship with Sikorsky Global Helicopter in Coatesville, Pa. “My scholarships have positively affected my experience at Penn State because they have allowed me to network and meet and hear from the scholarship donors. They have broadened my horizons and gave me confidence as a female in a male dominated major.” Always a Penn Stater, Flynn’s parents and older brother are all Penn State alumni. “When applying for schools…my choice was obvious.” The “For the Future” Campaign aims to give to students the opportunities that they deserve as Penn Staters. It will endeavor to support future generations as more and more donors give back to their alma mater. To find out how you can contribute, visit

Lauren Flynn, from Chester Springs, Pa., received a Louis S. Doerflinger Renaissance Scholarship and an AT&T Trustee Scholarship for the 2010-2011 school year. Flynn is a senior information sciences and technology B.S. candidate with a focus in integration because she is interested in how the newest technologies can impact society.

Fall 2010


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iConnect Fall 2010  

IST Research: Impacting the world through technology

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