Military veterans building credentials for future careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields found new tools for job search success this June through UMKC. Kansas City Building an Alliance for New Careers in STEM (KC-BANCS), a joint project of the UMKC Institute for Human Development and the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, hosted the June “Veterans in STEM Career Readiness Challenge.” The challenge was a series of events and workshops designed to boost veterans’ preparedness for job searches, taking them to the next level of professional self-presentation, personal branding, and networking know-how. Participants learned how to program an online portfolio, a new trend that is being called the next generation of the traditional resume. Website and “eportfolio” specialists guided veterans from start to finish in one session. June challenge veterans also had access to a closed networking event, called STEM Talks, with STEM industry representatives incorporating facilitated speed-networking, free professionally photographed headshots for personal use, a business-level etiquette dinner, and a full-day expert-packed event on June 21st.
The Rock’n Robo Rabbits, a First Lego League team of homeschool students from the Learn Science and Math Club, earned the first place inspiration award at the First Lego League world competition held in St. Louis on April 28th. SCE mechanical engineering student Taya Upkes and SCE computer science student Sarah Withee mentored both the Rock’n Robo Rabbits and the ShawdowKnights during 2011-2012. Together Taya and Sarah logged over 150 hours mentoring the teams as they built and programmed their robots. Both teams competed in the December 2011 local qualifier competition winning awards and earned the right to compete at the January 2012 regional competition. The Rock’n Robo Rabbits won the Chairman’s award at the regionals and then the First Place Inspiration Award for extraordinary outreach and community service efforts at the April 2012 world competition. The ShadowKnights placed in the top twelve at regionals.
Curators’ Professor Deep Medhi, was one of four experts picked by IEEE Communications Society that responded by twitter to questions posed during Ask the Experts sessions sponsored June 10 – 15, 2012 by IEEE’s ICC 2012 . The sessions were described by IEEE ICC 2012 as “Ask the Experts will be a unique, educational social media experience during IEEE ICC 2012. It will feature several 90 minute sessions during which, attendees, members, and all who are active in the ComSoc community are welcome to pose questions via Twitter hashtag #ComSocExperts.”
Dr. John Kevern received $15,000 in funding from the Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute to study “Reducing the Curing Requirements of Pervious Concrete Using Prewetted Lightweight Aggregate for Internal Curing.” This is a one-year project, beginning immediately. According to the ESCSI website, “ESCSI is the international trade association for manufacturers of rotary kiln-produced expanded shale, expanded clay and expanded slate lightweight aggregate.”
PythonKC is a local group of enthusiasts for the Python programming language. On Friday and Saturday June 22-23, PythonKC held a Beginners Python Workshop in 302 Flarsheim. About 20 people attended the install-fest Friday night and 45 attended the Saturday workshop. Attendees were about evenly divided between experienced/professional developers interested in learning a new language, and beginners learning the basics of programming. The youngest participant was 9, he wants to learn Python so he can write games. Attendees worked on several projects, including a word game, basic graphics programming, using Python to retrieve Twitter messages, and basic Web programming. Lunch was provided by the generosity of the Python Software Foundation. More information about PythonKC can be found at http://www.meetup.com/pythonKC . Python founder Andrew Schoen and members Juan Gomez and Brian Hare helped organize the event. Brian is a SCE Assistant Teaching Professor in SCE’s Department of Computer Science Electrical Engineering.
The Kansas City Power and Light’s Get Into Energy Camp ran from June 20-22, and served 24 Kansas City, MO area students. Participating schools were Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Frontier School of Excellence, Paseo Academy of Performing Arts and Southwest High School. The School of Computing and Engineering faculty and students led the young participants through hands-on experiments that demonstrated magnetism, physics and electricity. The camp was held at SCE in Flarsheim Hall. UMKC SCE Professors Daniel Leon-Salas and Mike Kelly and UMKC Physics Professor Robert Riggs provided hands-on instruction. Six UMKC IEEE Robotics team members and their advisor Debby Dilks provided instruction on circuits and energy using circuit and green technology kits. Also supporting the camp was the KC STEM Alliance, an independent initiative based at UMKC with a mission of inspiring more students to pursue careers in STEM and build a robust workforce for the region. For more details and slideshow visit “Get into Energy” and also see the 06.26.12 UMatters article.
Kaustubh Dhondge & Hyungbae Park won the second place student poster award for their poster, “Energy-Efficient Cooperative Opportunistic Positioning for Heterogeneous Mobile Devices”, presented at the Great Plains Network (GPN) Conference, held in Kansas City, Missouri from May 30 to June 1, 2012. Kaustubh Dhondge also presented the paper at the Graduate Student Networking Research Summit. Both Mr. Dhondge and Mr. Park are Ph.D students at UMKC SCE studying computer science, telecommunications and networking disciplines. They have developed an energy-efficient system for mobile devices to obtain their geographic location information. This work (ECOPS) was developed for and tested on Android powered mobile devices. In ECOPS, unlike any other existing approaches the mobile devices cooperate with each other autonomously to know their actual geographic location without any dependence on infrastructure. The experiments to validate its energy efficiency and location accuracy were done at the UMKC soccer field and found that ECOPS provides location accuracy as good as 5 m, and with significantly more energy efficiency than a GPS only scheme, while overcoming various service limitations.
Their research and resulting applications are helping remove universal limitation of smart devices– poor battery life. When smart devices are used in mission critical environments like battlefields, mountaineering expeditions and disaster area assistance, the need for judicious battery usage becomes even more compounded. Kaustubh Dhondge’s & Hyungbae Park’s goal in doing this research was to design a system for these smart devices that provides highly accurate location information while significantly using less energy consumption versus the traditional approach of each device using their own inbuilt GPS. For example, in a battlefield environment this approach will increase the operational time of devices in the network which can make a difference between the success and failure of a mission and help protect soldier’s lives. The research was conducted under the guidance of their Ph.D. adviser, Professor Baek-Young Choi. The other faculty involved and guiding them in the work is Dr. Sejun Song who is with Texas A&M University.
Xinjie Guan and Xili Wan are two of ten students in the nation to win the first annual GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations) summer camp scholarships. Ms. Guan, a third year telecommunications and networking Ph.D. student at UMKC SCE, and Mr. Wan, a fourth year telecommunications and networking Ph.D. student at UMKC SCE, spent May 29, 2012 – June 2, 2012 at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York learning how to use the GENI resources/tools such as ProtoGENI, Flack, Instools, and OpenFlow. They gained hands-on lab experience with those resources and developed a team-based project that established certain network topology and investigated the impact of new flow attack to OpenFlow switch.
Attending the GENI summer camp greatly improved Ms. Guan’s and Ms. Wan’s skill in using GENI resources/tools. Furthermore, they obtained many significant suggestions from GENI experts on how to design and begin their next research projects. GENI infrastructure is becoming a mature virtual lab for networking related researches and compared to traditional simulation, GENI resources and tools provide more convincible results as they support experimentation on real nodes throughout the network. Xinjie Guan’s faculty advisor is Professor Baek-Young Choi and Xili Wan’s faculty advisor is Professor Xiaojun Shen. SCE heartily congrats Ms. Guan and Mr. Wan on their awards and knows the experience they have gained will benefit them greatly. For more detail about the camp download the file – GENI.
What are you doing to be sure your personal data is kept safe? We’ll bet you’re not doing as much as you could! Dr. Deep Medhi, professor at UMKC, told us how to electronically secure your family’s most important documents. Fox4 News invited Dr. Deep Medhi, Curators’ Professor, to explain how viewers can keep their personal data safe.
Hack the Midwest, an event designed to bring developers and designers together to create a working website or mobile app in 24 hours, brought together over 100 developers and 28 different apps. SCE’s own Sarah Withee, along with friends Abbey Trotta (a UMKC computer science alumni), Sarah Peters, and Kevin Donnelly developed an iPhone game called Number Scram. They won the Best Mobile App award, and received a Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch for the prize!
“Number Scram is a game where the goal is to score as many points as possible in 60 seconds. Points are scored by reaching a target number using a combination of digits and math operators. Users can earn multipliers to their score for each problem by using digits with an apple (2x) or gold star (3x) next to them. The app also keeps track of user stats including number of games played, highest score, average score and most math operators used in a single game.” Be sure to look for Number Scram in the Apple App Store in a few weeks. Screen shots of the app they developed can be found here.
Congratulations to Sarah and her teammates! Pictured from left to right: Kevin Donnelly, CS graduate from University of Missouri-Columbia; Sarah Peters, MSA CS graduate from Northwest Missouri State University; Abbey Trotta, CS graduate from UMKC and Sarah Withee, CS student at UMKC.