STEM Career Opportunities – Career Fair Oct. 12

Below are names and email addresses of some of the many employers who have signed up to attend the upcoming STEM Career Fair scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12, in the Student Center, from 9 – 12.  E-mail these individuals a short note telling them you have interest in their organization and  that you look forward to meeting them at the career fair.  Attach a resume and cc kathyc@uca.edu.  This will allow you to start networking with employers early.  On the day of the career fair, when you visit with them, employers will recognize how proactive you are in pursuing employment with their organization.   Dr. Kathy Clayborn will follow up with them for you at the Career Fair, too.   A complete list of employers will be sent to you at a later date.

Acxiom Doneshia Boyd Doneshia.boyd@acxiom.com
ArcBest Amy Douglas adouglas@arcb.com
AR Blue Cross Blue Shield Maria Silva msilva@scheedu.org
CG Infinity DawnMarie Martin Dawn-marie.martin@cginfinity.com
Dillard’s Technology Samantha West-Septer itrecruiting@dillards.com
Euronet Software Solutions Laura O’Neal laoneal@euronetworldwide.com
First Orion Shane Taylor staylor@firstorion.com
Gainwell Technologies Karla DeFreitas defreitas@gainwelltechnologies.com
Hytrol Conveyor Co., Inc. Tammy Abdulghani tabulghani@hytrol.com
J.B. Hunt Transport Jason Alderson Jason.alderson@jbhunt.com
Little Rock Water Reclamation Karen Light Karen.light@lrwu.com
Metova Allison Nicholas allison.nicholas@metova.com
Palmetto Engineering Austin Shaw austin.shaw@palmettoeng.com
Southwest Power Pool Renee McMillen rmcmillen@spp.org
Windstream Communications Megan Mclean Megan.mclean@windstream.com

Faculty Feature: Get to Know Dr. Joe Thomas

Dr. Joe Thomas, Assistant Professor of CISA in the UCA College of Business, gives us all the details – professional and personal – about what drew him to business, mentors who have influenced his life, and advice he has for students.

Degree(s), Certificates, or Licenses Earned

  • PhD, Management Science Information Systems, Oklahoma State University
  • MA, Information Systems Management, Webster University
  • BS, Computer Science (w/ Teacher Certification), Texas State University

How long have you taught at UCA in the College of Business? 5 years

What classes do you teach for the College of Business?

Currently teaching:
– CISA 4361, Cybersecurity Governance & Policy
– CISA 4375, Cybersecurity Management
– CISA 2330, Business Statistic
– CISA 4/5380, Business Intelligence & Data Visualization
– BUAD 1300, Introduction to Business
Previously taught:
– CISA 4328, Systems Analysis & Design
– CISA 3321, Managing Systems & Technology
– CISA 2343, Desktop Decision Support Technology

What student organizations do you participate in or sponsor? Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club

What drew you to the business industry? When and how did you know for sure that an education in business was the right fit for you?

Well, I started out becoming a high school teacher in Computer Science and Mathematics. At the last minute I made an audible and joined the Air Force as a Communications Officer! During my 23-year military career I had many jobs, some extremely technical, some chock-full of leadership and management, and all had a taste of business. I never lost my love for teaching. So while in the Air Force, I earned my PhD, taught at the Air Force Academy, and was the Dean of a leadership school. To answer the question – I really didn’t choose the business industry, it kind of happened organically.

Explain how a mentor has influenced your life and career.

After God then my parents, the most influential person in my life is Roy Kurban. He was my Taekwondo instructor when I was a teenager. He gave me so many life lessons I couldn’t list them here, but a few of the big ones are self-discipline, empathy, and hard work. The one that led to my current career was a passion for teaching. I used to teach the little kids’ class—you know you got something if you can make push-ups the “reward,” and they ask for more. (Now…if I can only find a way to add push-ups to my statistics class 😉)

What do you do in your spare time?

I love cutting grass! Something about seeing your progress and the clean lines…and it’s me-time, no one bothers me, and it’s a great time to listen to an audiobook.

What is a favorite class or memory you have from your time as a COB faculty member?

When a student goes out of their way to tell me I’m a good teacher and they loved my class.

List creative ways you engage students in the classroom.

Well, it’s not very creative but it is effective—exhibit high energy and smile. Learning should be fun and so should teaching, so I let them see that I want to be there. Students tend to mirror the attitude the instructor brings into the classroom. Show empathy—students need to know we care about their success and empathize with their struggles. A student who knows I care is more inclined to come to class, on-time, ready to engage and learn. Be a good storyteller—I try to answer the “so what?” questions with as many real-world stories and examples as I can. And they don’t have to be my stories, professors can use real examples from other professors, professionals in your industry, or case studies. As long as it helps make the course content personal and meaningful, mission accomplished.

What research or publications are you working on now?

I’m working with Drs. Hill and Casey on a paper looking at the impact of COVID-19 on business classes, specifically business statistics. I’m also working with Dr. Chen and Dr. McMurtrey on two papers on the acceptance of e-payment systems in various cultures. I have a student-led research project looking at student success with regard to advanced placement and concurrent credit classes for incoming freshmen. Finally, my ongoing research is related to my dissertation topic on real-world high-stakes deception detection by looking at linguistic and paralinguistic cues.

Comment about a recent collaboration with a student.

This summer, I worked at the UCA/Acxiom IT Camp and got to work with a lot of great people. Two student volunteer mentors in particular stood out, Skyler Austen and Caylen Johnson. They were great – very hard workers, great ideas, and team players! Professors evaluate students as part of our job; they are our product, and the customers are the businesses that hire them. I would hire Skyler and Caylen every day of the week and twice on Sunday!

What tips or advice would you give to new, current, or prospective business students? 

Read!!! Seriously, read every day. Read for fun, read the classics, and read to learn something new. Personally, I like listening to audiobooks as I drive to and from work (it’s amazing what you can accomplish in those tiny nibbles of time). Oh, and read the syllabus {facepalm}!

The other advice I would give to students is: try to develop a hunger for learning. Becoming a lifetime learner is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your family, and society. Learning is fun! Right now, I’m taking classes to get certifications in Tableau, and I’m loving it!

Your future employers (and the world) need people with self-discipline and grit. They also want lifetime learners who enjoy trying new things. Doing something you like to do is easy and fun, doing something you don’t is hard and painful. So jump in, do that class first, work really hard at it, and push yourself to do the best you can at something you don’t like–THAT is grit! Best case, you may learn you like it. Worst case, you learn why you don’t like it. Either way, you learn, and the mental pushups will make you stronger. But the best part is the pride you will feel after all the hard work and self-discipline it took to get to the finish line.

Finally – work hard, play hard, and be excellent to each other!

Edafio: Full-time Network Operations Center Engineer

We are looking for a Network Operations Center (NOC) Engineer to join our team in central Arkansas.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Serve as the first point of contact for clients seeking technical assistance over the phone or email
  • Perform remote troubleshooting through diagnostic techniques and pertinent questions
  • Determine the best solution based on the issue and details provided by clients
  • Walk the client through the problem-solving process
  • Provide accurate information on IT products or services
  • Record events and problems and the resolution in ticketing system
  • Follow-up and update client status and information
  • Escalate unresolved issues to the appropriate internal team

Required skills:

  • 1+ years’ experience in Help Desk role
  • Tech savvy with working knowledge of office automation products, databases and remote control
  • Solid understanding of computer systems
  • Ability to diagnose and resolve basic technical issues
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills

Nice to have skills:

  • Experience with ConnectWise Manage
  • Experience with a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

To learn more, email careers@edafio.com, or apply here.

Acxiom & UCA Present IT Careers Camp for High School Students

(Conway, AR) – The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Business and Acxiom partnered last week for a four-day Information Technology (IT) Careers Camp to introduce high school students from all over Arkansas to technology-related careers. Nearly 30 students stayed on UCA’s campus, were mentored by industry experts, and participated in exercises in programming, cybersecurity, robotics, 3D modeling, and 3D laser printing.

“Students make connections with other students, instructors, and industry professionals that they can carry from high school to college and through to their professional careers,” said Susan Shaw, Camp Director and Lecturer for the UCA Department of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA).

Shaw added that while on campus, the students experience campus life, learn about college programs that lead to careers in Information Technology, and complete hands-on activities.

Acxiom sponsored the UCA IT Careers Camp and offered mentorship opportunities throughout the camp to students. The Acxiom mentors helped students with activities and shared about how their education in business and technology led to the IT careers they have today.

“One of Acxiom’s core values is innovation,” said Jhade McConnell, Acxiom Solutions Architect and 2017 graduate from the UCA College of Business. “We come to this camp at UCA to show high school students the tools needed to navigate technology and pique their interest to be creative with these tools.” [Read more…]

How Can You Stay Safe From a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware has dominated the news recently. Headline after headline reads:

Many of us may scroll past these news stories because we think ransomware attacks only affect large corporations, but cyber-attackers count on catching you unprepared.

According to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “ransomware is an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.” 1

CISA continues to say that anyone with a computer or device connected to the internet or anyone with data stored on their computer, device, or network – including individuals, small businesses, large businesses, government agencies, and healthcare systems – all of these people or groups are at risk from a ransomware attack. 1

Since essentially everyone is at risk and very few of us have millions (or even hundreds) of dollars to pay to get ransomed information released, what can we do?

Dr. Geoffrey Hill, Department Chair of Computer Information Systems and Analytics in the UCA College of Business, has some simple advice: back up your data.

“There are many file synchronization services that are easily available to individuals or small businesses,” said Hill. The automatic synching feature makes it easy to use and guarantees that recent changes are automatically synched to the service’s cloud-based storage.” 2

Hill recognized that the synched files could include the ransomware’s encrypted files but also says that major services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive, provide file recovery and roll-back features that help you to restore individual files or even your entire file library when necessary. He cautions users to be careful when choosing a service because some of them are free while others are only available through tiered levels of paid protection plans. 2

If you don’t have one of these services, make yourself a note to try one, and if you are ever a victim of a ransomware attack, U.S. CISA recommends, “victims of ransomware should report it immediately to CISA at www.us-cert.gov/report, a local FBI Field Office, or Secret Service Field Office.” 1

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a cybersecurity professional, check out UCA’s Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Management. With headlines like these, demand for individuals educated and trained in Computer Information Systems and Analytics will likely only increase.


Sources:

1 Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. (2021, July 7). Ransomware Guidance and Resources. Retrieved from www.cisa.gov/ransomware.

2 Hill, G. (2021, July 6). University of Central Arkansas College of Business. [Personal Interview].