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Volume 4 Issue 1---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 2011

To Know a Geek is to Love a Geek

At the annual graduate recognition event in Augusta on May 1, Professor Mark Goodridge touted the accomplishments of two outstanding bachelor degree graduates in the CIS program, Christina Suitor and Marcia Moore.

picture of Crissy Suitor

Christina Suitor

A perfect 4.0 GPA distinguishes Christina Suitor as an academic scholar. Crissy, like many of the UMA graduates, successfully balanced the sometimes conflicting responsibilities of family, school, and career. After a rewarding internship at the Maine State Department of Transportation, Crissy landed a full-time position at SmartCatalog, a company that publishes online and print college catalogs.

Crissy is employed as a programmer and uses Python, XML, and VBA for migrating catalog content and data in the CMS and XHTML and CSS for the web catalogs. In a recent email to the Computer Information Systems Department, she writes "I feel that the courses I took at UMA were an excellent preparation for my new career as a programmer. I know it isn't possible to teach every possible language and development environment in a 45-hour program, but I think there was enough coverage in all of the important areas that the student who graduates from the program has a solid foundation from which to build."

Crissy is one of many success stories -- the perfect example of a student who immersed herself in learning multiple programming languages and is now enjoying the opportunity of applying them at a career level.

picture of Marcia Moore

Marcia Moore

Our second awardee, Marcia Moore, has a rather unique academic history. It seems about every 10 years, she gets the urge to go to school and get another degree, which accounts for the 10 years between her associate, bachelor, and post-baccalaureate degrees.

Marcia's high GPA is even more impressive when you consider that she has been employed full time as a Senior Auditor for the State of Maine while earning her degree part time. She is the perfect example of the adage, "If you want something done, ask a busy person."

When she matriculated in the Post Bach in CIS, she commented that she wanted to acquire Web design and development skills that she could use to start her own Web development company when she retired. But Marcia couldn't wait that long. This spring, she and several fellow CIS students formed a Web design company called Webs 'n' Moore.

During her e-commerce class, her online group designed a Web portal and online shopping cart for her commercial business, Gnome Kingdom, from which she is currently selling her products. But Marcia didn't stop there, she added the newest updates to her online store and volunteered to write all the updates for future e-commerce students.

She has also donated start-up Web sites for charity events. Although Marcia graduated with a Post Baccalaureate in Computer Information Systems last week, she is currently enrolled in a summer graphic design course. There is no indication that she is going to wait 10 years for her next degree.

University of Maine at Augusta - Bangor Campus Honors

At the academic awards ceremony on Thursday, May 5, three Bangor-based students were recognized for outstanding academic achievement, university involvement, and community service: Matthew Chadwick, James Morrill, and Joshua Hunsinger. Below is the commentary delivered by Diana Kokoska, Coordinator of the Computer Information Systems program.

Outstanding Associate Degree Graduate

The outstanding associate degree graduate, Matt Chadwick, has earned his degree in CIS with a strong grade point average.

Prior to attending UCB, Matt worked in the television industry and decided that he wanted to pursue a degree in Computer Information Systems. In 2009, he applied for the Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems.

This spring Matt participated in a required internship experience at Miller Drug in Bangor. This networking opportunity netted Matt a full-time IT position. He would like to thank Dana Wilson, his IT supervisor, for all of his support.

Matt plans to continue on a part-time basis to complete his Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems. During this year, Matt has been borrowing a laptop from the CIS department, and since he will be returning it this week, I thought that we should replace this laptop with one of his very own. (This laptop is a V-Tech child's learning tool!) Enjoy!

Outstanding Bachelor Degree Graduate

If our bachelor degree awardee's name sounds familiar to some of you, it may be because Jim Morrill was the overall outstanding UCB Associate degree graduate last year. It took Jim 10 years to complete his Associate degree and one year to complete his Bachelor's degree.

An unconfirmed rumor says it was because he waited until the last possible moment to take Discrete Math II. I know none of you could possibly imagine why anyone would want to do that. Last year at this banquet, the CIS department gave Jim a deck of Spiderman cards to help him prepare for Discrete Math II over the summer. Jim would like to thank Peter Parker and Spiderman for his successful completion of the math class this spring.

Although there is still something that bothers me - Jim's comment that "you and I started at UCB the same year, and I'll probably be here as long as you are to get my bachelor's degree." So Jim, I have a deal to make with you. Perhaps you could take one class each semester in the Criminal Justice program, which would complement your job at the Bangor Police Department nicely, and I could continue to teach in the CIS department until I'm ready to retire.

Say, "Yes," and I will give you this well-deserved award.

Distinguished CIS Undergraduate

Each year, the faculty in the CIS department recognizes an undergraduate in the CIS program who shows an extraordinary potential for academic success in the IT field.

This year, we would like to recognize Joshua Hunsinger, a native of "The County", who is currently employed by the Maine Air National Guard. He worked as a part-time/full-time employee as a help desk technician from 1996 until receiving a full-time job as a Computer Administrator in 1999. In 2002, he was hired as the Information Assurance Manager, where he stayed until 2010, when he was selected to stand up the Cyber Defense mission for the Maine Air National Guard. Bangor is one of the five Air National Guard units nationwide selected to pilot the Cyber Defense mission for the Air National Guard. Once the mission, in close collaboration with his Air Force counterparts, is fully vetted, he will be working with the various state and federal agencies to enhance cyber defense for the nation.

Josh started taking classes in 2004 - his first two classes were ones that I instructed. After taking these two classes, he put his education on hold for four years. I thought I had scared him away, but in 2008, determined to earn his degree, he started taking three classes a semester and plans to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in December 2011.

I must admit, I hold a special place in my heart for the military as I have both a daughter and a son-in-law in active military service. Each semester when I have a student in my class, who is former military or active military, I can usually tell right away! No one else seems to address me as "Ma am.".

Josh, you are certainly very deserving of this award, and the CIS faculty look forward to graduating a future IT professional.

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Geek Grad Photo Gallery.

The CIS program this year graduated 28 CIS students from the Associate, Bachelor, and Post-Baccalaureate degrees in Computer Information Systems. Unofficially, this is the largest graduating class from our program in the last 10 years. Within the next week, These graduates, who are officially alumni, will be receiving an CIS Alumni Survey gathering information about their future career or academic plans.

If you are a recent or past alumnus of the CIS program, you will be receiving an email about the survey. Please take the time to complete this survey, as the CIS program would like to track the number of graduates who are currently employed in the information technology field or who are continuing their academic careers.

Thanks to Donna Nickerson and Marcia Moore (both CIS graduates), we have a few pictures of the graduates at the commencement exercises in Augusta on Saturday, May 14. Please check out our Geek Grad Photo Gallery. If you have photos that you would like to share, please email them to Diana Kokoska at and I will add them to our gallery. If there is a photo in the gallery that you would like removed, please contact Diana at the above email address.

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Online Avatars Become Flesh and Blood CIS Students

According to "A computer avatar is a personalized graphic file or rendering that represents a computer user. The simplest type of avatar is a small graphics file used on Web sites. Users upload an avatar to represent themselves. This avatar can be a real-life digital photo of the person using it, but it is more often an image intended to be a creative alter ego."

This spring marked the 5th year that the students in the Computer Information Systems program have celebrated the successful completion of another academic year with an annual CIS picnic. This get-to-gether provided an opportunity for CIS students to negate that widely circulated rumor that CIS students are socially inept, spending all their time in front of the computer screen. In addition, students and faculty got to physically meet students with whom they had only virtually communicated.

The CIS program would like to thank Jan Bunford, a member of the UMA Advising team. Jan administers the MELMAC grant that sponsored our activity as part of the Program Student Success plan that allows for program-specific individualized activities that support student retention.

After an hour of social interaction, they retreated to the sanctuary of the computer classroom to watch the presentations of students who had participated in an internship experience during the spring 2011 semester.

Student Interns Gain Valuable Experience

Students gained hands-on experience in a number of IT areas:

StudentOrganizationIT Area
Sergei ChaparinDepartment of Health and Human ServicesDatabase Design and Development
Venessa WilliamsEastern Maine Development CorporationWeb Design and Development
Jeremiah LaddWinthrop Public SchoolsWeb Design and Development
Dana DuncanDepartment of EducationSystems Analysis
Matthew ChadwickMillers DrugDatabase Design and Development
Ibrahim Ali Excalibur Limousine ServicesWeb Design and Development
Nicholas GenoveseRaven Claw MiniaturesGraphic Design

Although Ibrahim Ali was not able to make a live presentation from his new home in Colorado, thanks to the technology with which our students interact, Ibrahim videotaped his presentation and uploaded it for review.

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Return CIS Home Page

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

Professor Diana Kokoska, Program Coordinator
Telephone: 207-262-7864
Professor Mark Goodridge, Computer Science
Telephone: 207-262-3181