Geek2Geek logo
Volume 2 Issue 3---Attention: The Geek2Geek newsletter is a quarterly publication for the Geeks by the Geeks. Please submit articles and pictures for publication to Diana Kokoska---June 2009

CIS Students Front and Center at UCB 40th Anniversary Kick-off Event

Students Kimberly Baker, Diana Lavoie, Tammie Snow, Dave Pearson, and future CIS students, Nevaeh Snow and Lucy Pearson manned the Computer Information System's promotional booth as they handed out bookmarks and "It's All Geek 2 Me" bumper stickers to celebration attendees.

For the past year, Kim Baker, a senior CIS student, has been serving as the student representative on the UCB 40th Committee, which planned this event. With input from the Committee, Kim designed and developed the UCB 40th Web site at, which features an online guestbook and alumni profile portal. Kim encouraged attendees to "reconnect" with the UCB community. She plans to update and maintain the Web site over the summer on a volunteer basis.

Back to Top

Geek Graduate Honors

Selected from a pool of nearly twenty 2009 CIS graduates, two outstanding Bachelor of Science in Computer Information System students were honored as Distinguished CIS Students at the respective awards ceremony.

Yuliya Violette

On Sunday, May 3, Yuliya Violette was presented a certificate recognizing her outstanding academic and professional contributions to UMA and the wider UMA community.

The analytical skills and the desire to solve problems that she cultivated as a Computer Information Systems student has impacted her job performance as a Programmer/Analyst for the State of Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Her position with the Office of Information Technology is varied and ever-changing, employing multiple and diverse software engineering skills.

Yuliya has demonstrated proficiency in a wide variety of programming and database languages. According to her co-workers – “She SHINES.” But this should not be a surprise to those who have taken classes or worked with her.

Yuliya is a native of the Ukraine and recently had the opportunity to visit her parents and younger brother who still live there. She became a naturalized citizen in 2007.

I am sure that her family, classmates, co-workers, and friends join the CIS program faculty in congratulating her on her outstanding performance!

Jason Violette

At the UCB celebration banquet on May 7, CIS Instructor Diana Kokoska presented Jason Violette with a plaque honoring academic performance and promotion of the University.

This is not the first time that Jason has been honored for his academic performance and community service. In 2005, when he graduated from the University College of Bangor with his associate degree, he received an award for his academic performance and community service. Jason also has an Associate of Science in Public Relations through the Community College of the Air Force.

In 2005, Jason interviewed for a position as an Application Analyst at Eastern Maine Medical Center and uses his business and technical skills to assist mid-level management in its decision making.

Jason officially graduated with a BS in CIS in December 2008 with an impressive GPA. Since that time, Jason has been an important part of our Alumni Association. Whenever our department has opportunities to promote our program, Jason is the first name that comes to mind. He genuinely accredits UCB and UMA for providing the venue to continue his education, and he is an extremely articulate communicator.

Professionally, Jason is LinkedIn (which simply means that he shares networking opportunities and technical resources) with other colleagues in the IT profession.

Jason and his wife, Patty, have three children, one who was recently adopted from Ethiopia. His wife, Patty, described him as “the best husband, father, and family man she could imagine”.

“Jason was critical in setting up the network both at Calvary Chapel Church and the School. He helps maintain the computers and assists with internet security. Jason is also active in serving the body as a deacon."

Jason, congratulations on your many accomplishments -- both personal and professional.

Back to Top

It's All BS

three graduates

At the Bangor Honors Banquet, three gentlemen in the CIS program, Jason Violette, Dave Pearson, and John Harris were congratulated by the Stage Party as they were acknowledged for earning BS degrees from UMA. The picture above shows Dave Pearson being congratulated by Chancellor Pattenaude as his fellow classmates, John Harris and Jason Violette, follow.

picture of graduate family picture of graduate family

Staying true to the UMA tradition of faculty, family, and friends, these three young men were supported at the celebration, as they had been supported throughout their academic career, by their family. On the left -- John and Melissa Harris · in the center -- Dave Pearson and Liz Franck · on the right -- Jason and Patty Violette.

But it was not all about academics! In the picture on the right, John, Dave, and Jason pose for a police lineup. To the protect the innocent, notice that the suspects are not presented in handcuffs or prisoner clothing.

Back to Top

Graduating Business Student, Debra Bourgoin, Earns Associate's Degree in CIS

picture of Debra Bourgoin with C.I.S. graduates

Debra Bourgoin, like many other business students, are recognizing the value of top-notch computer skills in the workplace. As the skill sets in business and computer go hand in hand, it is important for CIS students to become familiar with business concepts and for business students to develop technical skills.

Although the business department has a concentration in CIS, sometimes students who take a few computer-related courses to fulfill the requirements find that they develop a niche in a specific computer-related area such as Web design and development, programming, or networking and hardware. Before they know it, they have the taken the classes they need for an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems and have earned an impressive technology credential to complement their business degree.

Back to Top

CIS Students Pay Tribute to Retiring Professor Peter Dionne

picture of professor dionne waving farewell

This year's annual CIS BBQ had an unprecedented turnout. That is because the UMA community turned this event into a celebration for CIS Professor Peter Dionne, who announced his retirement in May. Professor Dionne's professional career, which spans over half a century, includes teaching at both Cony High School and the University of Maine at Augusta.

picture of peter's retirement cake

In addition to the faculty, staff and students at UMA, a group of colleagues from Cony High School and an impressive number of CIS alumni attended the noon BBQ catered by Kevin Michaud, Dining Coordinator of Aramark at Moosetracks Cafe. Peter was also joined by his wife, Mary. The CIS program was very pleased with the number of alumni who stopped by to wish Peter the best. We decided that we needed to do this more often -- not retire -- just have an event where we could invite our alumni. The beautiful retirement cake, pictured on the right, was baked for the occasion and contributed by Kevin Michaud. In the upper-right hand corner of the cake picture, you will see a little of the "It's All Geek to Me" t-shirt that the CIS students made for Professor Dionne.

So many people wanted to sign Professor Dionne's retirement card that we had to include an insert so everyone could include a personal sentiment.

Dr. Szakas giving out the plaque

In the picture on the right, Dr. Joseph Szakas, Coordinator of the Computer Information Systems Program, presented a plaque in appreciation for 30 years of dedicated teaching in the Math and Professional Studies Department.

computer services

In the picture on the left, Director of Computer Services, Lauren Dubois, presents Peter Dionne with a "gag" gift from the Computer Services staff. I think it had something to do with "keeping your mind sharp." But we are assured that Peter will have no problem in that area as he tries to keep up with his grandchildren.

Back to Top

CIS Faculty Publishes Article on Student Retention

Professor Szakas, CIS Coordinator, and Professor McAleer, Business Coordinator, analyzed student data over a 10-year period in the BS in CIS degree program at UMA to determine two outcomes: 1) if there were any correlation between success at the university of those who took all courses at UMA and those who transferred credits into the CIS program, and 2) use the data over the past 10 years to create predictive Naïve Bayesian and Support Vector Machine models to help classify and identify current students who may pose a retention risk and use those models to create intervention strategies.

The image below shows the attribute importance of a successful student who will graduate (note that age, gender and a transfer of a CIS core course were not predictors of success or failure in this program).

image showing the attribute importance of a successful graduating student

The following histogram illustrates the age of our students over the last 10-year period.

illustration of student age

Back to Top

CIS Students Design Web Pages for UMA Faculty

In CIS131 and CIS231 Web Design and Development online classes instructed by CIS Professor Diana Kokoska during the spring 2009 semester, one option for the final project was to design and develop personal/professional Web pages for interested UMA faculty.

With feedback from the respective faculty, each participating student developed a Web site that was approved by the faculty and linked from the Faculty Directory pages on the UMA site. Students were also required to include documentation for the faculty member so he/she would be able to make minor updates to the pages that are accessible on the each faculty's office computer.

If you would like to visit any of the pages, click UMA Directories, and select one of the following faculty:

  • Brenda McAleer
  • Diane Boone (Business Club Site)
  • Jill Rubinson
  • Joe Szakas
  • Magdalene Linhardt
  • Nancy Schneider
  • Phil Watkins
  • Robert Roper
  • Terry Adams
  • Tom Giordano

The CIS131 Web Design and Development course is being taught online during the summer09 and fall09 semesters. Currently, we have at least 10 requests for students to build additional faculty sites at the end of the summer class. Any faculty who would like to participate in the summer or fall semester, please contact Diana Kokoska. If you contacted the instructor last semester but were not assigned to a student, please reapply for summer or fall as we anticipate upwards of 70 students in the two semesters.

Network Manager Chuck Baker and Webmaster Mark Krawec are to be applauded for the role they played in providing student-designed Web pages for faculty and a successful learning experience for the CIS Web development students. Kudos!

Back to Top

--Your online source for up-to-date information about your geek community--

Dr. Joseph Szakas, Program Coordinator
Telephone: 207-621-3181
Professor Diana Kokoska, Web Developer
Telephone: 207-262-7864
Professor Robert Roper, Computer Science/Business
Telephone: 207-262-7862