Monthly Archives: November 2017

Washington DC 10-day Seminar Information

Washington DC trip informational meeting:

  • Title: National Security (just like first four years until they did cyber last year)
  • May 13-24
  • 2018 Topics:
    • North Korea testing
    • Cyber threats
    • US election tampering
    • Terrorism/Cyber-terrorism
    • Environmental issues
    • “Spy that Couldn’t Spell”
      • gentlemen was employee given a bad review
      • wrote about why he shouldn’t have been reviewed poorly,
      • when he started selling U.S. secrets, cyber teams used his writing patterns from that letter to catch him.
    • Much more
  • Different students from different universities – there will be many variations in knowledge and background
    • EX: some political science students will know areas better than us
    • EX: many non-CIS majors may not understand bitcoin.
  • Morning: sessions.
  • Afternoon: open session.

Living situation/attire:


  • Not allowed to go anywhere without a friend
  • 2 bed 2 bath living room, 2 RMU kids and 2 other university kids
  • Political views can get tough: keep them to yourself to prevent conflict with other roommates
  • You will be buying toilet paper, cleaning your own place
  • Bringing your own sheets
  • Washer and dryer will be provided in each room
  • Full kitchen

Business professional wear:

  • Long hair must be in pony tail or bun.
  • NO: bright colors, or cleavage

Requirements while there:

  • When you have a question- wait until the end, go up, state name, University and then state your question, and then listen while still up there.
  • Everybody must ask 4 questions.  Plan them.
  • No phones or laptops during sessions.
  • Notebook and pen to take notes for daily journal during the morning.  Then whole evening to do whatever.
  • Required to pick a topic and write a 5 page paper on it.
  • 2 pages of writing a day


  • Costs: $2295 for the 10 days. 
  • Petition for busses.
  • if using as a school credit, place under INFS4953 as an open elective or area of interest.  (best to move things up to area of interest that relate to each other)
  • GI bill: register to spring with the fee attached (if eligible).
  • Spring course: Do that NOW.  Attaches fee to that course, but if you don’t have extra money you will have to pay now. Flat rate will pay for it only left paying the seminar fee.  Make sure that you specify for Spring that you are the Washington Center is to Bill the university.
  • 2 grocery stores; need money for buying food. Eligible for $250 travel grant through the university.  Documentation needs to be sent out.  The university chooses how much money we get.  We’ve gotten $250 for this.  (Pay attention to emails and get the paperwork put together.)  Write a 1 page letter on why you should do it.
  • Fall course: Feb – March, do paperwork.  Fill out application to the Washington Center.  Bill me (pay Washington center directly in April)
  • Will not accept financial aid; for the seminar you need to take the extra money out of your financial aid yourself and then pay them. 
  • recommended that you stack your courses up because the trip will count as a credit.

Concerned about cost?

Take advantage of fundraisers and start putting money towards it now!

  • Dip orders.
  • Candy.
  • Gift cards.
  • FlipGive: holiday orders online.

Any Questions?

Click here to go the Washington Center homepage.

Email Paullet about paperwork for the Fall/Spring.

Highlights Part 2: Red Chair PGH Nov. 2017; Panel Q&A

This is the second part of the highlights of the Red Chair Pittsburgh event from early November.  The information here is NOT an exact transcript.  This is a paraphrased version of what the panelists had to say during the Q&A.


Background of Panelists:

Julie Straub – Global IT Director, PPG

Antoinette(“Toni”) Murphy – Comcast Regional VP

Michele R. McGough – Founder and CEO, Solutions4netoworks, Pittsburgh, PA

Priscilla J. Beal – Digital Innovation, Bayer US LLC.

Lori Crozier – VP IT, Digital Technology Delivery & eBusiness at ThermoFisher Scientific.

How they got started:

  • Julia: Was not exposed to computers in high school; started as a math major.  Male peers whom were dual math and computer majors pushed her to get involved in computers.
  • Tony Murphy: French and Econ major until she then focused on IT companies. Comcast for 9 years.  Done everything from product development to… [etc.]
  • Michelle: 1st to go to college as an Economics major and then graduated.  I was offered telecommunications job and loved the continuous learning.
  • Lori: My family didn’t even have a computer as a child;  in my youth, I worked in office for a small company.  Nothing was computerized.  They automated and asked me to get it working for them.  I am big into project management as well.
  • Priscilla: I have a masters in art history.  I spent my time working in museums.  Trying to entice viewers, I led the team who had to learn how to use technology to make the sculptures come alive.  This led me into digital marketing, and 10 years working on digital strategy.  I soon after joined Bayer and now head up the innovation team.

How to move into Leadership:

  • Priscilla: Apply passion to you being inspiring.
  • Lori: People are looking to do well and want to be a part of something meaningful and important, you are important to give them vision and to create the enthusiasm around it.
  • Julie: Develop relationships, trust, and respect with your team.  This is critical for them to follow you as a leader.

Challenges & advocates:

  • Toni: Have mentors advice and sponsors put your name behind theirs.  Here’s a general rule: 60% of my time I am doing my job, and the rest I’m telling about what I’m doing.  Ask for what you want and you will get it.  Be brave.
  • Michelle: Me and 3 other coworkers were sued for trying to conspire against boss to get him fired – we were accused but that was not the case.  I was in a bad place with personal issues and shut down.  When I began to put my company together, and we were getting ready to file for a patent, I learned he [a disgruntled, fired employee] stole the intellectual property before the patent.  Two of the women said don’t worry about it(legal fees), we had the same issue happen; it’s nice to know you’re not alone.
  • Lori: Think about what you want, network early in your career, don’t wait to use your network – keep it active and live.  Use those who will be a good guide for you and get lifelong advocates.
  • Priscilla: Take into consideration what qualities they have that are inspiring and then think about it – is that what I want to do? are they happy? and is that something I could be happy doing? Listen to your gut.
  • Toni: from a sponsor’s perspective, are you a rockstar that I can be proud of? and what is something that I get in return here?  As you move up, you need to use the mentees to connect too.
  • Julie: It does not have to be a formal advocate.  Have courage.  Ask people further up in their career.  Be open to really ask.

Extra Tips:

  • Toni: Paint the picture for where you’re going.  Rate yourself – validate yourself!
  • Michele: Keep a notepad and keep track of what you have accomplished.  Self review.  Justify your raise.

Women blame themselves for what is wrong which can be a bad thing  because when you’re not looking at your accomplishments, you’re lowering your confidence.

How to bring out confidence:

  • Lori: CONFIDENCE GAP! (Meaning: understand that you are just as capable as the men, and that they are more confident because they have been told that because they are men that they belong here; understand that you belong just as much as them because you are just as capable.)
  • Julie: Don’t think you need to have all of the skills for the job.
  • Michelle: In a CMU study, when asked if they could do the next job, we[women] think about it and men immediately say they’ll do it.  Interview woman vs man, this comes off as a difference in confidence. (Meaning: Confidence gives an impression that you are more capable.)

How do you balance projects with your personal life:

  • Toni: I am married, and my husband is in IT.  I have 3 kids, ages 6, 4, and 2.  Be sure to have a good support system.  Leadership is a gift but learn to be okay with delegation.  Don’t think you have to prove yourself over and over again because that is you secretly degrading yourself.
  • Priscilla: I have 3 kids.  You need to love what you do; if you can’t leave your kids for it, don’t do it.  Find personal satisfaction.  See yourself as a role model.
  • Lori: Be an aspiration but be good to yourself.

Big Theme here: Be BRAVE Be CONFIDENT

  • Women are just as capable as men, but overall women approach the computing field more timid due to a lack of confidence.
  • These women are successful because they are not only brilliant, but CONFIDENT.
  • They are all very open, honest, and respectful leaders who prove that you can find a good balance in your life. 
    • Women do not have to do everything.
    • Women can still have a highly successful career while still having children.
    • It is important to understand that women can do anything, and that it is important to get out there and be brave.
  • The wage gap only exists because we let it exist; we have laws against it, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get the fair wage you deserve due to culture.
    • Be confident.
    • Log yourself and prove your credentials.
    • ASK: for the raise, what others get paid, etc.  ASK questions.
    • Address any discrepancies between your wage, and that of your male counterpart(s).

Highlights Part 1: Red Chair PGH Nov. 2017; Keynote: “Filling the Pipeline with Talent”

Hey boys! For those of you who wanted to attend Red Chair Pittsburgh 2017 event – the girls-only event left available for only a select few ladies – here’s what you missed:

What is the purpose of the Red Chair?

  •  Challenge. Innovation. Creativity. Strength. Reinvention. Sustainability.
  • The Red Chair is a physical representation of men and women “sitting” to take a stand about the value that women bring to Computing and IT.
  • having women in the IT and Computing workforce means…
    • Expanded talent pool: we need more people involved in IT due to the span of careers creating a shortage in workers to fill these future job opportunities.
    • Improved technical innovation: greater diversity means people of varying backgrounds which means more perspectives to look at a problem.  Problem solving can be done quicker when you are able to assess the many angles of a problem.  Better assessment means better solutions.
    • Increased ROI: “Research shows that companies with the highest representation of women in their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment than did those with few or no women.”

Keynote: “Filling the Pipeline with Talent”

Carole Frieze

  • Director of Women@SCS and SCS4ALL; these organizations focus on building community on campus, and provide leadership opportunities as well as networking ones. Most importantly, these organizations focus on promoting diversity in Computer Science.
  • working on diversity and inclusion in CMU’s Computer Science division for 17 years.
  • researches
    • culture of computing
    • stereotypes
    • myths
    • unconscious bias
  • Winner of 2016 AccessComputing Capacity Building Award
  • Winner of 2017 Computing Research  Associations A. Nico Haberman Award
  • co-author of Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University

Jeria Quesenberry

  • Ph.D
  • Associate Teaching Professor in the Information Systems Program in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at CMU.
  • Research:
    • cultural influences on information technology post-secondary students
    • social inclusion
    • how to broaden participation
    • values behind chosen careers
    • work and life balancing
    • organizational intervention
  • Teaches:
    • global systems
    • social informatics
    • strategic value of information systems
    • web design and web development
    • project management
  • Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Information Sciences and Technology from the Pennsylvania State University

The Presentation


  • Intro: 50% women in computer science major in CMU – big success that deserves recognition; fueled by their hard work researching, and implementing ways to create diversity in computing and IT.
  • Because IT is one of the best rated job areas as far as growth and personal satisfaction, this is an important field to get anyone involved in.
  • 2016 CRA Taulbee report showed that only 18% of the pool of Computing and IT students were female. 
  • 2016-2017 CMU admissions Taulbee report showed that ~ 50% (49…%) of their Computer Science students were female for their 1st years.

Discussed Timeline of Culture in Computing:

  • 1990s: men were all similar in mentality and found that coding was “fun”; women – only 5% of those in computing – saw the computer as something that they wanted to be useful with, but did not feel like they belonged in this field.
  • Post 1999: mentality around the use for the computer began to become more diverse for men and women, as did the pool of men and women.
  • 2012: interviews between men and women showed that
    • reasoning for joining CS showed no gender gap
    • Women’s confidence decreased as they progressed in school
    • Men’s confidence increased as they progressed in school
    • Women and men GPAs were on par; there was no difference in the general academic performance of men and women
    • Leads researchers to believe the problem is not competency, but cultural stereotypes causing women to feel like they do not belong in their field.
  • 1974: Lego promoted boys and girls playing with their products.
  • 2011: Lego designs targeted boys.
  • 2014: 7 year old’s letter to Lego made headlines expressing a lack of Lego toys for girls.  She expressed a distaste for the girl’s Lego toys being girls who would go to the beach and did not have jobs, while the boy’s toys got to have jobs and even go on adventures.  This led to the creation of female Lego science and NASA sets.
  • 2014: Barbie book I Can Be a Computer Engineer – “I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie tells Skipper. “I’ll need Steven and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” – perpetuates the idea that women are not meant to code.

Progress? 2016/17, CMU has managed an almost perfect 50/50 ratio of women to men in their Computer Science major for their first year students.

Intervention techniques to fix the ratio of men to women

  • programming requirements dropped for joining majors
  • became more open and allowed various entry levels to join the field
  • Lenore Blum joined the Computer Science Faculty and began her mission to get women more involved in science and math.
  • Women@scs 
    • formal organization supported by the institution
    • designed to level the playing field by reaching out to women and giving them opportunities in computers.
    • female students were put in charge to develop an importance in student leadership
  • scs4all
    • program that developed from women@scs
    • available to men and women
    • women still the leadership figures

Important theme to the research

  • It is a cultural issue
  • Confidence gap NOT competency gap
  • Do NOT perpetuate stereotypes
  • Do NOT accommodate differences because it only perpetuates the divide
  • Do NOT listen to Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus: “worst book ever for the cause
  • Recommended books:
    • Pink Brain Blue Brain by Elliot T. 2009
    • Delusions of Gender


Red Chair Pittsburgh 2017: Union Trust Building, November 16, 2017.


Stockings for Soldiers

Sadly, there are many soldiers overseas that will not be home for the holidays. The Top Secret Colonials are collecting stockings to send to the soldiers. If you would like to fill a stocking for a soldier, you can pick one up in Dr. Paullet’s office (Wheatley 229). The stockings must be returned to her office by December 5th to be shipped.

Below is a partial list of items that are needed:

– Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter Cookies
– Trail Mix
– Beef Jerky
– Granola Bars
– Breakfast Bars
– Slim Jims
– Twizzlers
– M&M’s (all flavors) – other chocolate will melt
– Pop Tarts
– Cards
– Crossword Puzzles
– Soduko
– Gum
– Caramel Popcorn
– Gummie Candy
– Chapstick
– Hot Cocoa Mix, Lemonade packets, etc.
– Nuts
– Pretzels
For more information, contact Dr. Paullet at

Invite to Participate in Student Research Survey

Dear Students:

You are invited to participate in a survey conducted by Holden Thee as part of his Honors Thesis research. The purpose of this survey is to better understand factors that contribute to password generation. This survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

There are no foreseeable risks associated with this project. There may be no direct benefits from this research. All responses are confidential, anonymous, and responses will only be accessible to the researchers. Your participation is voluntary, and you may withdraw from this project at any time.

Please toss a coin (or click following link: to begin, and then:

 If heads, please follow this link:

 If tails, please follow this link:

If you decide to participate, please do not use any passwords that you use elsewhere.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Holden Thee at or Dr. Wenli Wang at You may also contact the Institutional Review Board at or (412) 397-6227.

Dr. Charles Woratschek honored as an AITP-EDSIG Fellow

woratschekThis week, the CIS Department congratulates Dr. Charles Woratschek who was inducted as an AITP-EDSIG Fellow at the annual EDSIG Conference for Information Systems and Computing. AITP-EDSIG Fellows are inducted in honor of their long-term, meaningful, and effective support of AITP-EDSIG in its mission to improve information systems (IS) education and foster the careers of IS faculty.

Dr. Woratschek is Professor Emeritus of Computer and Information Systems at Robert Morris University. His career in teaching began in middle school science where he taught for four years. He took a leave of absence in his fifth year to pursue a Master’s Degree in Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh and never looked back. Point Park University hired him as an adjunct faculty in 1982 to teach courses in FORTRAN, data communications, and database. He remained in that position for six years. Robert Morris University hired him full time in 1983 to teach COBOL and Introduction to Computing. During his 33 years at Robert Morris University he went on to teach a variety of courses in programming languages, human computer interaction, database management systems, operating systems, and data warehouse. His first EDSIG conference was in San Antonio, Texas in 1998. Since then he has served as program co-chair, papers co-chair, new member orientation co-chair, and on the editorial board for the Journal of Information Systems Education. Dr. Woratschek has a B.S., M.S.I.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and a M.S.Ed. from Duquesne University.


Pictured above is the induction ceremony with past AITP-EDSIG Fellows, from left to right: Paul Leidig, William Tastle, Charles Woratschek, Alan Peslak, and Bruce White.

Congratulations, Dr. Woratschek, on receiving this prestigious honor recognizing your career-long dedication and service to the field of information systems, and your students.

RobotTutor Talk on November 15th

As part of the RMU Entrepreneurship Week 2017, The Massey Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in collaboration with the RMU ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) Chapter housed in the Department of Engineering – SEMS, cordially invite you to attend an exciting talk discussing RobotTutor, 2017 $1M Xprize Winner.
Wednesday 11/15/2017
10:00am to 11:30 am
Room: Franklin 203

SET credit available

Highlights: Bitcoin w/ Dr. Werner Kristjanpoller

In case you missed the presentation Bitcoin: A New Paradigm or a Financial Bubble?, here is what was discussed by Dr. Werner Kristjanpoller, our RMU Fall 2017 Rooney International Scholar.

Dr. Werner Kristjanpoller:

  • professor in the Industrial Engineering Department at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM), in Chile
  • Career Director of Industrial Engineering for UTFSM’s main Campus
  • Director of 3ie – the Business Incubator of UTFSM
  • Ph.D in Business Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in Spain
  • MBA from UTFSM
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Vast research and teaching span includes:
    • finance and economics
    • econometrics
    • application of artificial intelligence to forecast financial assets
  • Published in several journals such as:
    • Expert Systems with Applications
    • Applied Energy
    • Computational Economics
    • Sex Roles
    • Journal of Pension Economics and Finance
    • Emerging Markets Finance and Trade
  • His plans at RMU are to research crypto currency, and develop a hypothesis for returns and volatility of Bitcoin.

The Presentation:

Bitcoin: hot topic – the fundamentals of currency.

Need for currency

  • Barter(good for small civilizations) -> (increased commerce)currency
  • EX: salt, seafood shells, cow, vegetables, stones, etc.
  • Gold: most popular, and silver appeared – prevented currency from expiring. Creation of coins
    • Gold stores – transferred your gold to a paper equivalent; beginning of bills
    • Needed coins/gold to support the money being printed
  • Gold system – all the money of a country needed to be able to be turned into gold that each central bank protected. Since 1930. Money could be changed to gold, and vice versa.
    • Every country has responsibility – but then it was left up to the US dollar to be the standard for all coins.
    • EX: pesos to US dollar
    • 1973: Nixon decided to end the condition of the uS dollar as the standard because we did not have enough gold to support the bills.
      • US was running out of gold needed to support all the circulating dollars.
      • TODAY: no metal support. Money only has value because we trust that it has value. -> essential to the financial value of Bitcoin.

Crypto Currency – 2009; virtual money; seeks decentralization – no central state controlling this; no one has control over the internet.

  • Only generates a number of previously sdefined units, at a rate that is limited by a previously established and publicly known value
  • We have a fixed amount
  • More than 800 currencies have been created – bad
  • Allows you to make purchases internationally and be exchanged for another currency without intermediaries
  • Some think that there will be no tellers, cash registers, queues, or waits;
    • Amazon Go*: no lines – just walkout and receive payment to your amazon account; Dec 2016. Use of virtual currency and algorithms to keep track of what you pick up, and you can just leave.
    • Bank behind transactions.

Bitcoin – virtual currency, which is generated in a consensual network that allows a new payment system.

  • First specificiation of the bitcoin protocol and proof: Satoshi Nakamoto (referred to this as his pseudonym) in 2009 in an email list launched this proof of concept.
  • Numerous developers working on the bitcoin protocol; more people began to grow exponentially into the community of bitcoin: the more people who trust in bitcoin, the more industries will begin accepting bitcoin as a currency.
  • Bitcoin has no owners
  • Bitcoin network shares public accounting called “block chain” – system behind bitcoin

How does bitcoin work:

  • Exchange money electronically like an email or a text
  • Makes sure no one can send money from someone else’s account
  • Signature required based on cryptography – used to create signatures through decryption proving that it is them; signatures cannot be copied because they are different for each transaction
  • Provides a decentralized system
  • Maintainers – keeps personal copy of ledger and updates it
  • Fraud can cause changes in ledgers – vote on which one is the correct ledger using a mathematical formula by having users solve the problem, hand in the answer, each vote has a cost in electricity and computing power.
    • Keeping it fair: each puzzle is based on previous answer before starting
    • Only thing that makes people finish it faster is through having more electricity and computing power.
    • Solving puzzles -> small money; these people are called “miners”; randomly generating new money for the solving of puzzles.
  • Reliability: accurate ledger is found through mathematical probability


  • Ease of payment – send and receive instantaneously
  • Security and control – bitcoin users have complete control over their transactions
  • Very low rates – payment swith bitcoin are currently processed at low rates or at no charge. Can send money from US to Japan with no additional cost instantaneously.
  • Less risk of fraud
  • Neutral and transparent – all people know the quantity of bitcoin in the world – it is open to all; all information is available


  • Degree of acceptance – many people still do not know Bitcoin; “big barrier to jump”
  • Volatility – the total value of bitcoins in circulation and the number of businesses using bitcoin are very small compared to what it may become.
    • volatitlity can be used to as an advantage in some cases
    • Bitcoin: keeps increasing in price, lowering in price, coming up to $6,000 per Bitcoin soon.
    • Financial battle: because it continues to change
  • Developing System – still in the beta phase with many incomplete features in development.
    • “Déjà vu” – “what is internet” (1994) “why would you buy a computer” “bitcoin”(made in 2009) – designed to be self-stabilizing.
    • Bitcoin is no longer a scam? Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfeind said his bank was considering bitcoin.
    • Howard Marks – billionaire investor; referred to it as a fad but has now accepted it as having the most valuable characteristic – people believe in and trust bitcoin as a currency.

Is bitcoin a threat?

  • Fear about crypto currency because it implies to lost power – loss of state power – loss of centralization.
  • Several industries can be negatively affected with the break-in of Bitcoin
  • Several governments have been forced to regulate their use or ban it.
  • Several governments have been pushing cashless
    • If all transactions are done by card or transfers with banks, the govt could lose power
  • Some banks in Japan want to launch their own crypto currency – J coin.
    • Japanese government could be accepting
    • Against economy’s basis in Japan to reject Bitcoin.
    • If japan launches J-coin; and you have to choose one – you are more likely to choose J coin over Bitcoin due to the fact that J coin is centrally supported by an entire country.

Bitcoin behavior:

  • Research in progress “Forecasting the Bitcoin Volatility
  • Kristjanpoller & Minutolo 2017.
  • Mixing econometrics model with networking
  • Generate bitcoin volatility for a week, weeks, and a month.


A question was asked about the legal implications of the court trying to define Bitcoin (property/currency/both?)

  • Report gains in bitcoin as gains in property
  • Federal government’s legal system is trying to see how to view it as well as how the IRS should view it.
  • IRS – asset not taxed; official policy that it is property and should be taxed as such and not currency creates an inefficiency in the market.  Smart companies will trade capitol in Ireland to bitcoin and then bring it back to the US because it will get taxed differently.  If not seen as a currency, then it cannot be taxed as currency.
  • J coin is an attempt to change the tax on that earnings.

Recommended readings/videos:

  • The Aisles have Eyes
  • The rise and mine of Bitcoin
  • Money: the Unofficial Biography

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship U.S. Department of Energy

Job Description:

The Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program places students from 2 and 4-year undergraduate institutions as paid interns in science and engineering research activities at DOE national laboratories and facilities, working with laboratory staff scientists and engineers on projects related to ongoing research programs. Appointments are for 10 weeks during the Summer term, are open to US Citizens and US Lawful Permanent Residents, include a weekly stipend, reimbursement for one round trip domestic travel to the participant’s host DOE laboratory, and possibilities for a housing allowance. More than 850 internships are sponsored annually.

Application Instructions:

Full program information and descriptions, including links to the online application system, are available at

Applications for the summer program are due January 12, 2018 at 5:00 PM ET.

Cyber Security Presentation – Monday, November 13th

On Monday, November 13th, there will be a presentation by an employee from a major financial institution. He will discuss how the Cyber Security division of organizations operates along with detailing the varying arms of an organization’s Cyber Division to include cyber forensics, counterintelligence and insider threats. The presentation will take place in the Wheatley Atrium from 4:15pm to 5:30 pm.

One hour of SET credit can be earned. Refreshments will be served. This is a Top Secret Colonials event. For more information, contact Dr Paullet at