ISSUE 3 / 2016
Grace Hopper 1961
IN THIS ISSUE:
Leveling the Field Tech firms from Boston to Silicon Valley are working to change the gender imbalance – and winning.
Amazing Grace Last October’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing brought together a record number of IT’s best and brightest, including 15 of SNHU’s finest.
Q&A:Students & STEM Experts Get to know two of the women pursuing IT degrees at SNHU and one of the fascinating (female) minds behind our STEM Advisory Council.
Influential Women in Computing Come along as we trace the evolution of the tech
industry according to Ada, Grace, Anita and more.
Leading Ladies Meet the smart, innovative women at the helm of SNHU’s STEM initiatives.
STEM News The scoop on our growing selection of geospatial concentrations, credit for IT certification and our first foray into the National Cyber League games.
Just as Rosie became a symbol of the American women who filled a surge of manufacturing jobs during World War II, she represents the same sort of opportunity for tech-minded women today. In this issue, you’ll meet some of the “women of SNHU” who are rising to the challenge. Among them is Christina Pare, a Comcast employee and mother of two who started rebuilding computers at 14. Today, she’s an SNHU online undergrad just credits away from a BS IT in Robotics & Artificial Intelligence. You’ll also get to know grad student Natalie Feldman, a Florida real estate executive with an MS IT in Data Analytics – and pending patent approval for a groundbreaking new business process.
IS IT OUR TIME TO LEAD?
I spent time with Christina, Natalie and 13 other SNHU students at last October’s Grace Hopper Conference in Houston. They are indeed modern-day Rosies, passionate, driven, full of fresh ideas – and eager to help lead the way in America’s next big wave of technological innovation. Source: Omaha World-Herald1
The U.S. tech industry is facing a historic challenge: By 2022, the gap between supply and demand of college-educated computer scientists will exceed 732,000. It’s a watershed moment for the industry – and a Rosie the Riveter moment for women, as Jocelyn Goldfein, Facebook’s director of engineering, puts it.* The timing, she says, is perfect for women pursuing IT degrees.
Gwen Britton Bio Dr. Gwen Britton is SNHU’s executive director of online STEM programs. She’s also a software engineer and an expert on math education for kids. In each issue, she’ll ask (and answer) a question about STEM based on the cover story. Got a question about this issue’s main feature? Tweet us @SNHU.
L E VELING THE FIELD
How todayâ€™s top companies are working to hire and retain more women in STEM
A cross the country, tech companies are making a push to hire more women in the workplace. Jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math fields are some of the highest-paid, highest-growth professions in today’s job market — yet few women hold these positions. In 2014, women held 52 percent of all management and professional positions but only 25.6 percent of computer and math roles, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 While women are more widely represented in STEM occupations since the 1970s, they’re still significantly underrepresented in the engineering and computer fields — jobs that make up more than 80 percent of all STEM employment.2
In fact, women held just 26 percent of computing jobs in 2013, down from 37 percent in 1985.3
WORKING TOGETHER Men everywhere are realizing gender reform is not just a women’s issue – and signing on as allies. While women in computing are being encouraged to “lean in,” there’s mounting evidence that men are stepping up to serve as their allies or even advocates. The HeForShe movement, launched in September 2014 by UN Women – a UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women – reports that over a half-million men worldwide have signed on, with over 20,000 in the U.S.1
Among HeForShe’s biggest proponents is Twitter COO Adam Bain, who believes that “allowing everyone to have the same opportunity to succeed should be the goal of every business and every industry.”
Bain says he “looks forward to the day when both my daughter and my son can enter the workforce in an environment where women have just as much opportunity as their male counterparts.”
In 2014, Twitter and other tech industry firms made a bold decision in the name of advancing gender equality in the tech industry: They shared workforce demographic data.
The imbalance results in women missing out on some of the highest-paying jobs in the fastest-growing fields. Overall employment in the United States is projected to grow by 15 million jobs (11 percent) by 2022.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts computing occupations will grow 18 percent, resulting in 1.2 million computing jobs by 2022.4 Furthermore, at today’s graduation rates, only 39% of those jobs will be filled by U.S. graduates.5
So why are there so few women in STEM fields? Research points to gender stereotyping and a lack of female role models, discouraging girls and young women from exploring STEMbased interests and degree programs. Another factor is the workplace environment in STEM fields. According to the Harvard Business Review, 56 percent of women in science, engineering and technology fields leave by midcareer, twice the attrition rate for men. A study of over 1,000 women engineers cited no room for advancement, low salary and lack of work/life balance as reasons for leaving.6 To help reverse this trend, today’s top companies are ramping up efforts to hire and retain women in the workplace.
A recent study found that the eight largest tech companies — Google, Apple, ebay, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter — are hiring women in tech positions 238 percent faster than they are men.7 The Anita Borg Institute, a nonprofit focused on advancing women in computing, recently released its 2015 “Top Companies for Women Technologists” study. It recognized BNY Mellon as the top company where women technologists thrive, with an extremely high percentage of women at senior and executive levels. Google, Apple, ebay, GoDaddy, SalesForce and IBM were also recognized. To create an inclusive workplace and increase retention, more companies are offering mentoring programs, networking opportunities, flexible work hours and personal development opportunities. Google revamped its promotion system and hiring practices to help quell the imbalance. Facebook holds a women’s leadership day for its employees and extends benefits such as a four-month paid maternity leave. Pinterest even created an engineering promotion committee for its technical staff that makes sure biases don’t have a role in promotions.8
By recruiting, advancing and retaining more women in the workforce, the nation’s tech firms will become not only more diverse but more successful. When the workforce is equalized, it ushers in varied perspectives and innovative ideas within the STEM fields – and everyone benefits.
Sources: 1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2U.S. Census Bureau 3,5 National Center for Women and Information Technology 4U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 6Anita Borg Institute 7Coupofy 8Los Angeles Times
WORKING TOGETHER Like BNY Mellon, Google and others, Twitter also pledged to support key initiatives for women in STEM and improve its own hiring practices. Twitter’s Bain and many other tech industry leaders are slowly coming to the same realization that a recent report from the National Center for Women & Technology2 uncovered, namely that: 1. Men are typically the leaders, power holders and gatekeepers in the computing workplace. 2. Support for women to pursue and persist in technical careers needs to come from men. 3. Women aren’t the only ones who experience gender bias. The NCWIT report concludes that the only way to change workplace cultures is for men and women to work together as allies.
Beyond the practical, cultural and ethical reasons to do this, there’s the sheer economics. A recent McKinsey report3 found that companies leading the pack in terms of gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.
HeForShe 2National Center for Women & Technology 3Forbes
GRACE SNHU students join more than 12,000 women technologists at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration in Computing in Houston, TX
“SNHU has changed my life. I have grown so much as a person because of the experience and people I’ve met. Once I graduate in May, I am looking forward to seeing what I am able to do with my degree and my future career in Computer Information Technology.”
- ERIN MAHONEY BS in Computer Information Technology ’16
“I chose SNHU because they are a nonprofit and one of the few schools that offer a Cyber Security program.” - TARA LOVELY BS IT in Cyber Security ’17
s part of its commitment to support women in STEM, Southern New Hampshire University selected 15 online IT students to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in October. Hosted in Houston, TX, the conference is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, drawing over 12,000 attendees this year — a 20 percent increase from 2014. The nation’s top IT companies were also in attendance, including Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Apple and Amazon.
“We know that many of the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future are going to be in STEM,” said Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University. “Supporting women in STEM is not only an essential part of SNHU’s mission and focus on student success, but it is critical to meet the workforce needs of our country.” The Grace Hopper Celebration, co-presented by the Anita Borg Institute and Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), is designed to spotlight the contributions of women to the computer
science field. Founded by Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney in 1994, the celebration was inspired by Grace Hopper, a U.S. Navy rear admiral, mathematician and computer scientist. During World War II, Hopper joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned to program Harvard University’s Mark I computer. In 1952, she led the team that created the first compiler for computer programming languages. Because of her many accomplishments in computing, Hopper is regarded as one of the
This year’s event featured prominent speakers from the IT field, including Hilary Mason, founder of Fast Forward Labs; Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of LeanIn; Megan Smith, chief technology officer of the United States of America; Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; and Janet George, fellow and chief data scientist at SanDisk.
“I’ve never been to a conference where I’m with so many motivated, like-minded women who are in the IT field. This opportunity made me realize how vast and diverse the IT field really is.” - Cynthia Ugboye Ejiroghene MS IT in Information Security The conference included a career fair, where SNHU students networked and learned more about careers in computing, as well as breakout sessions representing different areas within computing such as data science, security, mobile applications and game design and development.
“This was an amazing opportunity for me to meet women from all over the world — Egypt, China, India — who are engineers, data analysts, cyber security specialists. And you get to meet hundreds of companies that could one day be potential employers.” tech industry’s top innovators. She’s so important, in fact, that President Obama paid homage to her in his final State of the Union address in January 2016.
- Yasmin Chavez-Mederos BS Information Technologies
To learn more about SNHU’s STEM Programs, visit our dedicated SNHU STEM page.
CHRISTINA PARE As she nears finishing her BS in Information Technologies with a concentration in Robotics & Artificial Intelligence, New Hampshire’s Christina Pare has a dream career in mind. Until then, the mother of two applies her SNHU coursework to her position on the Comcast IT operations desk – with much encouragement from her female senior leadership team. We chatted with Christina at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Why did you decide to pursue IT? There’s just so much about IT that I love. There’s so much potential in IT in different areas. It’s a great opportunity. Technology is just increasing and growing, so the IT field was pretty much the best decision for me.
Speaking of good decisions, why has SNHU been the right fit for you?
What I’m learning at Southern New Hampshire University helps me with my current job, since we support 30,000 employees. The more advanced techniques I’ve learned, the more I’m able to help the company build better applications to support all of these users.
Looking back on the Grace Hopper conference, what was one of your biggest takeaways from the experience? What I learned that most surprised me was the amount of women who are already in leadership roles within the technology field, like the CEO of YouTube or even the chief technology officer of the United States. Listening to some of the keynote speakers and attending some of the leadership sessions made me feel like I want to do more, not only to develop my IT career, but to help lead those in the field as well. It gives me a lot of faith in humanity that possibly one day I could be in a higher leadership role where I can help empower other women to get into computer science and IT.
You only have a few classes left before finishing your degree. What’s next? I’m interested in doing something with artificial intelligence with the government, like with the drones used in the Air Force – my family’s all big into Air Force. I’m interested in doing programming for the drones or even helping to develop them, since I have the robotics background now, as well.
Learn more about SNHU’s undergraduate IT programs and concentrations.
Why are more women needed in technology? I think the world needs more women in IT because we provide such a diverse environment. I’m the only female working in an IT room of 10 other guys. I think having more women in IT will help the rest of the world – many people still have that stereotypical opinion about “women don’t know anything about technology,” and it’s unfortunate they feel that way because a lot of us do. My senior leadership team is female where I work right now, and they’ve been very encouraging for me to stick with it. I’ve been very lucky to have that support system at work and see how empowering it is to be a female in a leadership position in IT.
NATALIE FELDMAN If you have a successful career in real estate as a vice president of business development, earning your MS in Information Technology with a concentration in Data Analytics might not look like the next logical step. But for Florida’s Natalie Feldman, that’s exactly how she envisions the next phase of her career. We spoke with Natalie at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Why an IT degree? Why SNHU? I was interested in an IT degree because I’m currently working on a patent application in the real-estate industry, and I wanted to get a deeper background of knowledge about the specific elements of information technology. I liked the fact that Southern New Hampshire University has a pretty long tenure, its graduate program had excellent curriculum and I was glad to be able to take the coursework online, self-paced.
Though you’re not yet through your program, how are your new skills coming into play in your life? Do you find that you’re applying what you learn in the classroom? One of the things that I’m looking forward to utilizing, in regards to the patent, from the core curriculum at SNHU is the ability to capture, measure, monitor and analyze the information that will be derived out of the patent. The ability to utilize the latest tools – that’s another element of going to a university as opposed to discovering things on your own. You get the opportunity to use the latest technology that’s in the marketplace today, work with it in lab-related experiments and see how it works.
Why are more women needed in technology?
Women are natural problem solvers and multitaskers. We have an innate ability to be exceptionally creative in the way we approach solutions to everything. Call it biology if you’d like, but they say that “necessity is the mother of invention” for a reason.
What did it mean to you to attend the Grace Hopper conference?
The Grace Hopper conference is sort of the gold standard for women in information technology. Grace Hopper is one of my idols. She had a fantastic life and did some amazing things as a woman leader in technology. In my capacity as the VP of business development, I was recently given the privilege to name a community and the streets in that neighborhood. And I chose to name those streets after women who had laid the groundwork before us for information technology, and Grace Hopper’s name is on one of those streets in that community.
What have you learned from this conference that most surprised you?
The conference, to me, tells me that I’m on the right track. I’m seeing the way innovations and creative minds are bringing some fascinating products to market, and I’m meeting some fantastic people with some really terrific ideas. And having the connections that the event is providing, along with the support of the coursework I’m learning through SNHU, just helps me to put the pieces of the puzzle together to make the picture complete.
Learn more about SNHU’s graduate IT programs and concentrations.
STEM Advisory Council Member Intertview
A Conversation with Data Scientist Dr. Laila Moretto Dr. Laila Moretto is a member of the SNHU STEM Advisory Council, an adjunct professor at University of Maryland and a full-time senior information systems engineer at MITRE Corporation. Not insignificantly, she has served in our Armed Forces as a military trainer and security officer and is a firstgeneration American. She has climbed high and fast in the data field and speaks globally on her trade, often surrounded by only men. Here, she speaks with SNHU about why a STEM career is ideal for women, changes she has observed and what the Mona Lisa has to do with it.
Q A Q A
How did your rise in the STEM world begin? Where did it all start for you? I remember distinctly a [college] professor who directed me to technology. As a single person trying to make it in the world, he said I should get into information technology.
It was that simple?
Yes and no. My first reaction was, “Oh, no. That field is for smart people.” I didn’t think of myself as one of those students who was really brilliant. But you know, my professor was absolutely right. It provides me an excellent livelihood, and I like to think that through hard work I have acquired brilliance.
Tell us about the livelihood it provides you. I am a single mom. A STEM career allows me the security and livelihood to support my family. I like to convey this to young people. I also have a passion for art. My STEM path has led me to world travel. To the Louvre! To the Mona Lisa!
Q A Q A Q A
Do you have a pinnacle or a career goal you are aiming for? My professional goal is to teach Data Science to students who will go on to narrow the gap. The workforce needs more STEM experts. This is a great time for women to enter the field.
How do you stay up on STEM trends?
You have to keep up and reinvent your expertise all the time. I study data trends and give conferences about this overseas. So it’s mandatory for me to stay current.
What obstacles exist for women in the STEM fields? The only obstacle is equal pay. Women are still underpaid compared to their male counterparts. This has to be fixed. If you are a hard worker, there are no other obstacles. Look at me. I am a firstgeneration American who was a marketing major in college. I never considered I could do what I do now. Hopefully aspiring young women will look at me and say, “If she made it, I can too!”
A LOOK BACK AT COMPUTING’S MOST FORWARDTHINKING WOMEN Computer science may be a maledominated field today, but there’s a long list of influential women who played an important role in the evolution of computing. Here are just 11 of the most innovative women who’ve made their mark in computing history. Our timeline is ordered by the year of their most major accomplishment or the first of many accomplishments.
U.S. NAVY REAR ADMIRAL GRACE HOPPER
ADA LOVELACE Mathematician Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, is considered the first computer programmer and founder of scientific computing. In 1843, a Swiss journal asked Ada to translate an article written about Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, invented to perform mathematical calculations. In addition to her translation, Ada noted her own thoughts about the engine. Her notes described how codes could be created, enabling the device to read letters and symbols, and a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions. This process is called looping and is still used by computer programs to this day.1
Grace Murray Hopper was a mathematician and professor who joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943 to support World War II efforts. In 1944, she was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she programmed a Mark I computer. After moving into private industry in 1949, Hopper and her team at Remington Rand created the first compiler for computer programming languages in 1952. She helped popularize the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which paved the way for computer scientists to develop COBOL, one of the first widely used programming languages.3
HEDY LAMARR Hedy Lamarr was an actress during MGM’s “Golden Age” in the 1930s and ’40s. In 1942, she and composer George Antheil patented an idea for a radio signaling device, or “Secret Communications System,” designed to change radio frequencies and keep German Nazis from decoding messages. Their system inspired the development of technology used today to maintain the security of military communications and cell phones. In 1997, Lamarr was honored with the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and became the first woman to receive the
ENIAC PROGRAMMERS Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli Jean Jennings Bartik Frances Snyder Holberton Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer Frances Bilas Spence Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum During World War II, six women programmed the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first electric programmable computer, as
BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award.2
Evelyn Boyd Granville
part of a secret government project at the University of Pennsylvania. “Project X” was introduced to the public in 1946, and ENIAC became invaluable in calculating artillery firing tables and the development of the hydrogen bomb. In 1997, Antonelli, Bartik, Holberton, Meltzer, Spence and Teitelbaum were inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.4
SISTER MARY KENNETH KELLER In 1965, Sister Mary Kenneth Keller became the first woman in the United States to earn a PhD in computer science. After finishing her program at the University of Wisconsin, Keller assisted in the development of BASIC computer language at Dartmouth.7
EVELYN BOYD GRANVILLE Evelyn Boyd Granville, who earned her doctorate in Mathematics in 1949 from Yale University, was the second African American woman to attain a PhD in Mathematics. After joining IBM in 1956, she developed computer programs used for trajectory analysis in the Mercury Project — the first U.S. manned mission in space — and in the Apollo Project, which sent U.S. astronauts to the moon.5
JEAN SAMMET From 1959-61, Jean Sammet was a key member of the subcommittee that developed COBOL. In 1961, she joined IBM and developed FORMAC, the first widely used programming language and system for symbolic mathematics. Later, she led IBM’s work on the Ada programming language, named for Ada Lovelace.6
Sister Mary Kenneth Keller
KAREN SPÄRCK JONES
KAREN SPÄRCK JONES Karen Spärck Jones is considered a founder of information retrieval. In 1972, she introduced her most notable contribution, inverse document frequency (IDF) weighting in information retrieval, which is still used in most search engines today. Jones was also the first woman to receive the Lovelace Medal awarded by the British Computer Society.8
“I think it’s very important to get more women into computing. My slogan is: Computing is too important to be left to men.” 9 -Karen Spärck Jones
and TORTIS, a version of the educational robotics language LOGO that teaches children about computer programming.11
“The kind of diversity that I think really matters isn’t skin shade and body shape, but different ways of thinking.” 12
Carol Shaw is considered the first female professional video game designer. From 1978-1984, Shaw designed and developed games at Atari, Tandem Computers and Activision for the Atari 2600, including “3-D Tic-Tac-Toe” and “Video Checkers.” Her best-known and most successful game, “River Raid,” was released in 1982 by Activision.
ANITA BORG Anita Borg was a highly respected computer scientist who advocated for equal representation of women in computer science. In 1987, she created Systers, an email list community exclusively for women in computing. She co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in 1994 and founded the Institute of Women and Technology in 1997 (later renamed the Anita Borg Institute in her honor).
“When I was in junior high and high school, I was good at math…. Of course, people would say, ‘Gee, you’re good at math — for a girl.’ That was kind of annoying. Why shouldn’t girls be good at math?” 10 -Carol Shaw
“Women need to assume their rightful place at the table creating the technology of the future.” 13
RADIA PERLMAN In 1985, software designer and network engineer Radia Perlman developed the Spanning-Tree Protocol (STP), an innovation that laid the groundwork for today’s Internet. Today, Perlman is a leader in computer science, holding more than 100 issued patents. Her inventions include TRILL (an improvement on STP)
Content Sources: Biography 2Biography 3Biography 4Digital Trends 5Biography 6Computer History
Museum 7,8,11Maximum PC 9BCS 10Vintage Computing and Gaming 12The Atlantic Anita Borg Institute
Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, ENIAC Programmers, Evelyn Boyd Granville, Jean Sammet, Sister Mary Kenneth Keller, Karen Spark Jones, Carol Shaw, Radia Perlman, Anita Borg
Leading Ladies Meet six of the smart, innovative women who lead STEM initiatives at Southern New Hampshire University. We asked, “What advice would you give to women starting out in STEM fields today?” Here’s what they had to say.
Executive Director, Online STEM Programs
“Never underestimate yourself. You are smart. You are creative. You are a problem solver. Believe in the power of you!” Gwen Britton is a computer scientist, engineer and mathematician with experience in K-12 and higher ed teaching, curriculum development and organizational leadership. She’s also a software engineer, math nerd, former high school volleyball, robotics and computer science team coach and “Capture the Flag” team coach at SNHU.
Data Analytics and Information Technology Adjunct Faculty
“Go against the stated foundation of science proof. In STEM fields, we rely on statistical data, and all the statistics tell us women are statistically insignificant. We need to ignore these signals and enter STEM fields to show how strong our signal and statistical significance really is.” Litia Sheldon has been an online instructor since 2003. In the 1990s, she earned her MBA from University of Phoenix Online. She received an online MISM with a database focus in the 2000s. Litia spent over 20 years in the IT field and recently shifted her career to become a quantitative investment research analyst.
Data Analytics Adjunct Professor
Associate Dean, Online STEM Programs
Associate Dean of Science, Online STEM Programs
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Information Technology Faculty
“Don’t be intimidated by those who seem to know more than you. Ask questions or reach out to people who inspire you. Always be confident in your ability, give yourself credit for your accomplishments, and leave yourself room to grow.” Deirdre Jablonski is an IT professional with over 17 years of experience implementing global solutions in the supply chain and data management sectors as an ERP implementation consultant. She was a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Navy prior to entering civilian life and starting a career as an IT professional.
“Always remember to be authentic to who you are. This sometimes takes bravery. The goal of having more women in STEM fields is to bring diversity and innovation, and that can only be achieved if we are true to ourselves.” Angela Foss has worked in higher education for over 10 years. She has a BS in Computer Engineering and experience in hardware, software and video game development. Angela is passionate about supporting women in the technical fields and has continuously participated in women’s leadership groups and technical women’s organizations. At SNHU, she supports the student-run group, Women in IT.
“Even if you don’t have your dream job now, volunteer, network and gain experience while keeping a keen focus on discovering what you’re good at, what you love doing, what the world needs and what you can be paid for.” Jill Nugent has nearly 17 years of experience in science and science education. She has worked in a natural science museum, large school district and three universities. Jill earned her BS and MS from Texas A&M University, where she studied wild canid behavior and conservation. Jill is a PhD candidate at Texas Tech University, focusing her research on locally engaged, globally connected citizen science.
“Let your enthusiasm and dedication to the discipline fuel your confidence.” Cheryl Frederick has worked as a software developer in several industries, including the Department of Defense, live television and telecommunication. Her passion for educational technology led her to focus on online higher education. Cheryl has an MS in Computer Engineering and is pursuing a PhD in Educational Technology. When she is not conducting research, you can find her on the golf course.
BRINGING DATA TO THE SURFACE New geo-based degree concentrations dig deep
WHAT ARE GEO-BASED SERVICES, AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Letâ€™s put it this way: Had the National GeospatialIntelligence Agency (NGA) not been involved in the 2011 hunt for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader might still be around to terrorize the world. It was the NGA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Defense, that helped locate the terroristâ€™s compound, supplied imagery and
terrain analysis, created a model of his home and analyzed data from a drone throughout the raid. (The NGA was also, by the way, the first U.S. intel agency to be led by a woman.) From government to military and education to technology, geo services touch many more industries than their own. Consider this statistic:
the impact of geospatial services on the U.S. economy is 15 to 20 times the size of the industry itself.11
Geo professionals aren’t the only ones making use of the technology. Ever use Yelp to find a nearby restaurant? Pulled up a mapping app on your smartphone to plot a route out of an unfamiliar neighborhood? And then there’s that Fitbit on your wrist, tracking your steps, weight and sleep. As the need for more personal and professional technology emerges, the commitment to its creation falls on the education and experience of the workforce. Enter Southern New Hampshire University’s new geo-based concentrations in four undergraduate programs – anthropology, environmental science, geoscience and information technologies. With SNHU’s expansion of STEM programs in the past year, the university has brought on a wealth of knowledge and experience in the geosciences. Dr. Richard Schultz, SNHU’s lead online science faculty, was one such addition in 2014. He’s taught several online courses and serves as a team lead for GEO-200 World Geography. So when SNHU considered a geo-based program, Schultz’s expertise proved invaluable.
“I have multiple degrees in geology and geochemistry, so I fulfilled a need to assist with the development of the geosciences program.” - Dr. Richard Schultz SNHU Lead Online Science Faculty
Schultz lends his vast professional perspective to geospatial technologies at SNHU as well. Currently, he serves as associate director of the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence and as a National Science Foundation grant co-principal investigator. He has also worked with the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a national competency model for the professional geospatial technologies workforce. Needless to say, “those experiences were considered as SNHU developed a concentration in geospatial technologies for anthropology, environmental science and geosciences,” Schultz said.
The pay’s not too shabby, either: Median salaries for positions such as geospatial scientists and technologists, geographic information systems technicians, and remote sensing scientists and technologists reaches into the $82,000-$93,000 range, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To learn more about SNHU’s geospatial technologies concentrations – BA in Anthropology, BS in Environmental Science and BS in Geosciences – as well as the BS in Information Technologies with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems, or to apply, contact SNHU today.
Sources: 1 The Boston Consulting Group: Putting the U.S. Geospatial Services Industry on the Map (December 2012) 2 U.S. Department of Labor: High Growth Industry Profile – Geospatial Technology (March 2010)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s profile on geospatial technology estimates the market’s growth at an annual rate of almost 35 percent.2
PLAN OF ATTACK If the best offense is a good defense, then Southern New Hampshire University’s National Cyber League team knows how to attack. In this case, it’s SNHU students fighting off “hackers” in a virtual stadium of competition. These players compete against other colleges in an attempt to regain control of the breached information, deciphering messages and cracking complex passwords to locate vulnerabilities. By presenting students with these cyber security challenges, the NCL helps players achieve various learning objectives and industryrecognized competencies by featuring CompTIA Security and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker content. SNHU’s undergraduate IT team recently competed in the NCL’s fall postseason, finishing 17th out of 37 teams in the silver league. This bracket was made up of players at an intermediate cyber security knowledge level, and it tested such in-demand skills as open source intelligence, password cracking and wireless access exploitation.
After participating in individual rounds of the regular season in October and November, the SNHU students joined forces for the team round in December. Led by captain Matt Weidner, the team – dubbed the cyberSNHUpers – also included Briana Beyerl, Layan Jeremiah, Tara Lovely and Martha Stallings. This was SNHU’s first year participating in the competition, and Weidner hopes it won’t be the last. While SNHU coursework can prepare students for the challenges, the games can also reveal competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Weidner has used it as a learning opportunity over the fall season.
“One of the benefits from this competition is a post-game analysis showing where a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses lie. In fact, after my initial registration for the game and learning more about the categories, I decided to take MAT-260: Cryptology as an elective, knowing this was a weak area for me.”
- Matt Weidner Captain of SNHU’s Cyber League Team
STAND OUT WITH IT CERTIFICATIONS
STAND OUT WITH IT CERTIFICATIONS In an information technology career, keeping current means everything. Now, it can get you academic credit, too.
At Southern New Hampshire University, undergraduate IT students who’ve recently earned certain industry certifications may receive academic credit toward their online degree requirements. Likewise, SNHU offers several courses that can help prepare you to earn these same professional certifications.
GET CREDIT If you hold certification from certain CompTIA or TestOut exams, you can earn credit for some of SNHU’s IT courses, which can be applied directly to your program. In addition, some CompTIA, TestOut and Oracle certifications can also be used as academic credit for courses included in SNHU’s database administration concentration. The more certifications you hold, the more credits you could earn – and the faster you’ll finish your degree.
PREPARE FOR IT CERTIFICATION EXAMS Students seeking CompTIA, TestOut or Oracle certifications can use SNHU’s IT coursework to prepare for the exams. That means you get added value from your coursework and an edge over other job seekers – even before you earn your degree. Learn more about IT certifications at SNHU.
According to a 2015 survey of hiring managers1:
of employers expect IT certifications to grow in importance
believe certifications play a key role in the hiring process
require certifications for certain job openings
use certifications to measure a candidate’s willingness to work hard and meet a goal
use certifications to confirm subject matter expertise
IT CERTIFICATIONS CAN ALSO PAY OFF:
disclosed that ITcertified individuals receive higher starting salaries
believe certified employees are more likely to be promoted
say employees are rewarded – by bonus and pay increase – for obtaining certifications
Source: 1 CompTIA HR Perception of IT Training and Certification Study: 2015
STEM; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Online at Southern New Hampshire University.