Month: March 2019

Needed! Website Designer/Developer

A UConn student, Erdit Abedini, needs a website developed for his nonprofit organization, the Hartford Sports Foundation. The Foundation is geared towards helping high school students develop teamwork and communication skills through inclusive and accessible sports programs. He is looking for a UConn student skilled in website design/development to build the site for him and maintain it from April 2019 to September 2019. As his deadline for the completion of this website is April 6th, ample experience in website design/development is required. He is willing to pay $250 for the website and a monthly compensation of $30 for maintenance. If the website is completed by April 1st, he is willing to pay $350.

Here is a list of what Erdit is expecting for his website:

  • a homepage with the organization’s name and logo, a background picture, and social media icons
  • an “About Us” page which describes the organization’s inception
  • an “Our Team” page with staff member biographies and photos
  • an “Our Mission” page with the mission statement of the organization
  • a registration page where an application form can be filled out and submitted online, along with an automatic payment button
  • a “Become A Member” donation page with an emphasis on professionality and accessibility
  • other pages if needed

For more information on this project, please reach out to Erdit via his email:

Legrand is Hiring! Application Development/Data Systems Internship

Legrand Wiremold is currently looking for an application development/data systems intern to help with optimizing current data collection processes, internal databases, and planning automation. While Legrand has many different projects interns can pursue, such as database creation and information logging, their ideal intern will be able to assist them with mobile application development for a production portal. As Legrand is currently rolling out iPads and computers for their manufacturing staff, they want to give employees a way to seamlessly communicate their needs and record hourly production through an application.

In order to qualify for this internship, the applicant must:

  • be in pursuit of a degree in computer science, information technology, or management information systems
  • have exposure to Javascript, HTML, and/or CSS
  • have knowledge of well-known query languages, such as SQL
  • be able to work effectively in a team environment
  • be a self-starter

Top applicants will have experience with iPad application development, data collection and report generation, and be working towards an advanced degree.

The location of the application development/data systems internship will be in Hartford, CT. There, interns will be exposed to Legrand’s North American headquarters and four different factory environments centered around cable management products. This internship will be a ten-to-twelve-week, forty-hours-a-week position with flexibility for school, other projects, and vacations. The intern will have the opportunity to continue working part-time in the fall based on their schedule.

For more information about this internship, including how to apply, please click here.



Travel Insured is Hiring! Full-Time Data Analyst Role

Travel Insured International is looking for a full-time data analyst to help them with generating business insights and strengthening client relationships by utilizing company data. Responsibilities of the role include data cleansing, data analysis, data visualization, and consistent documentation of known errors and data-driven conclusions. In addition, as data analysts will be working with project managers, the ability to effectively communicate findings through managerial reports and meetings is a must.

To qualify for this position, candidates are to have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems, data science, computer science, mathematics, economics, statistics, and/or other fields of study related to business data analytics. In addition, candidates should have SQL proficiency, experience with common analytics toolkits, the capacity for analytical reasoning, and creative problem-solving skills.

For more information about this position, please click here.

Mark Your Calendars: Travelers Autonomous Vehicle Symposium

On Monday, April 1st, The Travelers Institute will be sponsoring a UConn symposium: Putting Humans in the AV Driver’s Seat: Autonomous Vehicles People, Policy & Law. At this event, Travelers’ Associate General Counsel Pete Sexton will be accompanied by professionals from RAND, a research organization centered around public policy, and the on-demand ride service Lyft to discuss how insurance and public policy will have to evolve in order to adequately face the impending rise of autonomous vehicles.

The symposium will be held in the Rome Ballroom from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and admission is absolutely free. Registration closes on March 22nd.

For more information on the attending panelists and the event, please click on the applicable hyperlinks.




Student Spotlight: James Mercaldo

Growing up in Milford, Connecticut, junior management information systems (MIS) major James Mercaldo knew he wanted to use emerging technologies and his analytical intellect to make an impact. In high school, he was on the engineering path, taking standard maths and sciences as well as multiple advanced placement classes in subjects like physics and calculus. However, when he began to look at colleges, he started to realize that he wanted to be in a professional environment where his network was more business oriented. As such, he decided to apply to the UConn School of Business, choosing management information systems as a happy medium between technical concepts, quantitative problem-solving, and business analysis.

“I’ve always been good at [information technology],” Mercaldo tells me as he reflects on his childhood. We are sitting in the Student Union, trying to speak over the voices of jubilated students participating in their weekly club activities. “My first internship was during high school. It was at Aquinas Consulting, and helped me understand the fundamentals of computer systems and the vocabulary behind the trade.” When searching for internships his sophomore year of college, however, Mercaldo was discouraged by what seemed to be a lack of options. “I didn’t know what the specific job titles were. Management information systems is such a broad field–I just didn’t know where to start.” But, as Mercaldo realized that professionals in MIS are the shapeshifters of the business world, able to execute anything from business analysis to data architecture, it became clearer to him that the MIS degree is extremely valuable, and that there are so many opportunities open to him. “Now, I see a lot of flexibility for what I can do outside of college, and I like that about MIS. I’ve worked in places like Webster Bank, and now I’m going to be doing business analysis for Travelers this summer. It’s really exciting.”

Regardless of his analytical mind, Mercaldo professes to me that he enjoys the management information systems degree primarily for the business component. He appreciates the soft-skills that are required for the major, including teamwork and team-building. He also just likes the variation. “Working on a project and using technology to solve a business problem is very interesting to me. I’m curious about all aspects of MIS in business, and want to see where my skills can help. I’m not sure where my work will take me, but I’m looking into project management positions like scrum master and [business-oriented] career paths in data science.”

In the technological side of the UConn community, Mercaldo is the secretary of the Information Management Association (IMA). He got involved during his sophomore year when he wanted to learn more about the management information systems major and the job prospects associated with it. “It turned out that IMA was a great resource for networking and connecting with industry professionals. The community aspect also kept me involved, and so I started spending a lot of my time there.” Now, he works with other members of the IMA Executive Board to try to connect UConn students interested in information technology with each other and potential job opportunities. “It would have been helpful to know other MIS majors when I started going to UConn. IMA provided that for me, and now I just want to give back.” Other than his involvement in IMA, Mercaldo also leaves time aside to participate in recreational activities. He currently plays Spikeball with the UConn Spikeball Club, a volleyball-like sport where team members bounce a ball onto a trampoline to get it to their opponents’ side of the court. “It’s a fun game, and it reminds me of my hometown by the coast. I’ve always been a beach person.”

For future MIS students, Mercaldo has this to say to you: “Learn about the major as soon as possible, especially with regard to internship opportunities. It’s very easy to get discouraged when you don’t know the vocabulary, but there are communities around you, like IMA, that can help.”

A big thanks to Mercaldo for letting me interview him.



A Reflection: Splunk Day

On Friday, March 8th, OPIM Innovate hosted Splunk Day in collaboration with Splunk, Inc., the industry leader in operations analytics software. Held in the Student Union, the six-hour event introduced students and faculty to the Splunk software, Splunk’s organizational culture, and ways to get involved with the company and their various applications. The event was kicked-off by Ryan O’Connor, Senior Advisory Engineer at Splunk and adjunct professor of the Operations and Information Management Department at the UConn School of Business. To give attendees an understanding of what Splunk can do, O’Connor introduced the software and its capabilities as both a data-visualization tool and a data-monitoring platform.

After O’Connor’s brief introduction of Splunk, Glen Wong, Senior Engineering Manager at Splunk, took to the podium to give attendees an inside look at the endeavors of the Splunk Mobile Team. The Mobile Team’s mission is to make Splunk accessible, not just on laptops and desktops, but also on phones, tablets, televisions, smart watches, and so on. With applications like Splunk Mobile, Splunk users can pull up useful dashboards and receive notifications and alerts when pertinent changes are made to their unique Splunk environment. Splunk TV, another application developed by the Mobile Team for Apple TV, specifically, allows users to pull up multiple saved dashboards and search through data using voice recognition.

During the Splunk Mobile presentation, Devin Bhushan, Senior iOS Engineer for augmented reality (AR), showed audience members a live Splunk AR demo. Augmented reality is an emerging technology that superimposes digital modules, animations, images, and videos onto the real world through a mobile device. For Splunk AR, various augmented reality modules can be placed onto the physical environment through the use of a near field communication (NFC) tag. The NFC tag holds the information of a specific Splunk dashboard, and gives Splunk AR users the ability to see how that data is changing in real time. For example, if Splunk is capturing how hot a certain device is, Splunk AR can place a digital temperature gauge on that device. This versatile technology can also be used in manufacturing to track the movement of inventory.

On the topic of Splunk’s organizational culture, the next presentation centered around Women in Technology. Khadija Yamin, a Splunk Sales Engineer, started this part of the event with a few important statistics. For one, there are currently only about 26% of women in technology-related fields, with female minorities being even less represented. In addition, 56% of women in technical fields leave their jobs at the mid-level, which is a very costly point in time for an organization to lose an employee. What Splunk does to avoid this is to promote an inclusive culture, which is encouraged by mandatory unconscious bias training. They also regularly utilize textio, described by Yamin as “a spell check for gender bias,” for written communication. Though, to Yamin, inclusivity has to be present in the lives of women and other minorities pursuing roles in the technological field even before they reach Splunk to be the most effective. When I asked Yamin what both men and women can do at the college level to support women who want to pursue technological roles, she stated: “Stay involved with your female colleagues and classmates, don’t make derogatory jokes, and be respectful of the pursuits of both sexes. You can’t look at a person and expect them to not understand something because they are female or male. You have to look beyond that–we are equally capable human beings.”

For Brian Gilmore, Splunk’s Chief Technology Advocate and speaker for the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) portion of Splunk Day, a pattern he consistently faced in his early professional career was that useful data was not being explored by systems specialists. During his time at the Georgia Aquarium as an aquarist and life support manager, for example, he found that the automation control systems that kept “the animals healthy and the water clear” were not being utilized for business insight. As a result, he built connectivity to those systems, which controlled all tank valves, filters, sensors, and activators, by creating a way to feed that data into Excel. When he began to work with Splunk, he sought to use the Splunk platform as a more efficient medium between the machine and the man, which is basically what Internet of Things is all about.

Internet of Things, in an industrial context, is connecting any data-generating device to the internet for efficiency and insight. Splunk assists many companies in this area of emerging technology by giving them the data necessary to optimize their business models, minimize costs and generate optimal revenues. For example, Dubai Airlines partnered with Splunk to optimize their customer service model and keep track of utility usage. Due to this implementation and the data collected from customer checkpoints, Dubai Airlines can now get a customer from the front door to their gate in five minutes. They can also restock toiletries, such as hand soap, paper towels, and toilet paper, in a timely manner due to IoT sensors on toilets and sinks.

According to Rao Durvasula, Senior Instructor at Splunk and the presenter of the Machine Learning portion of Splunk Day, “You’re not a data scientist if you can’t articulate the problem in English.” So, when it comes to Splunk Analytics and its Machine Learning Toolkit, exploration is the best method for implementation. The moment you install Splunk, you can utilize the Machine Learning Toolkit as a free add-on to explore predictive analytics such as linear regression and logistic regression. These algorithms help you create future insights from present and past data and can assist you in making business decisions. In addition, the Toolkit gives you an opportunity to start understanding predictive models and machine learning for future communication.

As we have seen, Splunk can be used in a variety of ways, from gathering IoT information to making machine learning predictions. However, its capabilities do not stop there–it can also be used as a security client. During the Security portion of Splunk Day, Khadija Yamin returned to explain Splunk Enterprise Security, which helps organizations identify security concerns. For users who have the regular version of Splunk, Splunk Enterprise, they can install Splunk Security Essentials, a free add-on that helps detect security anomalies. As it takes, on average, 146 days for organizations to find out if they were hacked, having a security client is very necessary. And, Splunk Enterprise Security has been the top in Security Information and Event Management for 6 years, meaning that they are the optimal choice.

At the end of the informative portion of Splunk Day, the final presenter, University Recruiting Manager Katia Ratkovitch, described the “Perfect Splunker.” They are a person who is a team player, who enjoys building (or innovating), who is inclusive, who values personal growth, and who takes action when other people don’t. The Splunk environment thrives off of these individuals, and thus holds the values of being innovative, passionate, disruptive (ahead of the competition), open, and fun. If you are interested in this type of environment, consider Splunk’s 10-12 week internship program! Every intern has a mentor, works on a real-world project with a real-world team, and participates in fun events like a one-week hackathon. While most internship positions have been filled for the summer of 2019, please feel free to browse their internships and full-time positions for future opportunities.

Following of Splunk Day, students began to network with the various Splunk employees that presented during the event. One of these students was Joanne Cheong (MIS ’19), a Lab Specialist at OPIM Innovate who enthusiastically agreed to tell me about her experience. “Splunk day provided me with great insight on what the company does. I already knew about Splunk from the tech kits I write for the Innovate Lab, but I learned a lot more about how Splunk can be used in areas like operational intelligence and cybersecurity. And, given that I’m a [Management Information Systems] major, it’s great to have a platform where you can experiment with data for different purposes.”

Splunk, as an organization, tries its best to promote social change and stimulate personal growth. It is no wonder their motto for employees is, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”–growth is something they strive for, not just for themselves but for the communities around them. Through Splunk4Good, Splunk sponsors various educational institutions, including UConn, to give students the ability to build valuable skillsets while learning to use the Splunk Analytics platform. That way, they can use Splunk, and their understanding of data analytics, to positively influence the progress and growth of various organizations striving to make an impact.

If you would like to learn more about Splunk, I encourage you to take Splunk Fundamentals I and II. They are free Splunk courses for UConn students, and give you a first step towards an amazing skillset.


A Reflection: OPIM Student & Alumni Networking Dinner

On Thursday, March 7th, the UConn Operations & Information Management (OPIM) Department held its third annual OPIM Alumni & Student Networking Dinner. The event, held at the UConn Graduate Business Learning Center, was attended by 12 alumni, 8 faculty, and 22 students, all with a background in management information systems (MIS), business data analytics (BDA), and/or business technology (BT). During the dinner, students table-hopped after each course of the meal (three in total) and networked with professionals from a variety of fields. The event was meant to promote professional development by placing students in an environment where they could network with UConn alums, receive advice, and develop valuable professional relationships.

As a senior MIS student, myself, attending the networking dinner gave me insight as to how altruistic UConn MIS, BDA, and BT alumni are. Many of the students who attended the dinner were underclassmen, but their initial anxieties and insecurities regarding networking were assuaged by the encouragement of the professionals around them. Many UConn alumni who have graduated with an OPIM background now have full-time positions at companies like Travelers and Cigna, yet they spoke to students as if they were reliving their own undergraduate experiences. Alumni like giving back because they have been in our shoes, before, a theme that was recurrent throughout the event. “I like informing students of the different opportunities available at the company I work for and informing students of the different career paths they can take as an MIS major,” said Anuj Desai, a Performance Data Engineering Scrum Master at Cigna. “As an MIS student, I didn’t really know what the corporate organization looked like, so it’s always good to have events like these.”

As for the perspective of current students, many MIS majors who attended the dinner left with a greater understanding of the information technology industry, the skills desired by certain companies, and interview advice. “The event really helped with my networking skills,” said Andrew Taylor (MIS ’21), a statement that resonated with many of the other students I spoke with. “They gave me a lot of insightful information on what companies are looking for in someone who has an MIS background,” added Andrew Eastman (MIS ’20). “A lot of the people I talked to were like, ‘Yes, this is the super hot thing! This is the skill to know right now!'”

During the networking dinner, Jonathan Moore, the MIS Program Director of the OPIM Department, thanked attending alumni for their continued contribution to the MIS major. As adjunct professors, mentors, and points of contact for current MIS students, we appreciate you! Thank you for coming to the dinner! We hope to see you again, next year!


Student Spotlight: Alexander Zevin

Originally from New Milford, CT, Alexander Zevin knew from a young age that he wanted to use technology in a business setting. As he was sitting down in his math, computer science, and business classes, he saw each new concept and theory as a stepping stone that could be used to bring about change and increased efficiency. Throughout high school, Zevin used this entrepreneurial mindset to work on a variety of projects, including a small business venture. Mixed with a growing interest in finance, he soon realized that he wanted to understand business from a financial standpoint to supplement his innovative ideas. As a result, he became a Computer Science and Finance dual-degree student at the University of Connecticut, and has since been working on building the business acumen necessary to become a well-rounded business professional.

Now finishing up his sophomore year at UConn, Zevin sits across from me in the Gladstein Lab, OPIM Innovate’s hub for technological exploration. As we speak, a 3D printer is working on making a student’s design become a reality. It is distracting to me, but is very commonplace for Zevin. He is comfortable in this lab, it now being almost a year since he became a lab specialist for the OPIM Innovate initiative. The gentle hum sparks conversation regarding his work here. “I see the enormous benefit this initiative has on the University as a whole,” Zevin says. “When I first started working here, we weren’t as situated as we are now [with the learning opportunities the Lab has to offer], and it’s satisfying to see [the initiative] grow. Also, on a personal level, I’ve become more experienced with a lot of these emerging technologies we research. I didn’t quite understand the applications for virtual reality (VR), for instance, but the more I use it the more I see the practical functions for it.” Next semester, Zevin will actually be helping a graduate student from the UConn Department of Psychology utilize VR to reduce stuttering in patients. “I have been helping her prepare by advising her on the equipment she can use and the technical capabilities of VR. It just goes to show how this technology can be used in a variety of fields.”

Outside the OPIM Innovate initiative, Zevin has remained incredibly active in terms of academic opportunities. Viewing his college experience as a way to expand his mind as much as possible, he has been consistently challenging himself since his freshman year. “When I began college, I came with the mindset of wanting to learn and wanting to change–I wanted to become a better version of myself,” Zevin admits. As a result, he refused to remain inside of his comfort zone, and in turn increased his level of self-confidence by testing his skills. In his first month at UConn, for example, Zevin got involved in the annual Management Information Systems (MIS) Case Competition. “My team consisted of myself and three other freshman students,” Zevin recalls. “We were up against juniors and seniors, and we hadn’t even taken a business course yet. The case was about using Internet of Things (IoT) to help increase the efficiency of UConn facilities, so we decided to focus on preemptive maintenance.” Zevin describes the experience as “nerve-wracking,” and as he talks about winning first place, he still seems a bit surprised by it. “The month after that, we did a case competition with PwC, and we placed first again. Then we did one for Cigna, and we placed second. So, while participating in these competitions did improve my confidence, they also helped increase my business acumen–we had to do our research, we had to do our due diligence.”

Zevin has been doing his due diligence in everything that he does, enough to get him the position of Vice President in the Information Management Association (IMA). There, he attempts to create a sense of community for all UConn students, regardless of their academic backgrounds. “What we’re trying to do is reshape IMA by getting people from all sorts of disciplines inside the Innovate Lab. We want these students to become involved with the technologies Innovate has to offer, not only for their personal curiosity but also for their fields.”

In his professional pursuits, Zevin interned for United Technologies the summer of his freshman year. Working with one of their branches, Otis Elevator Company, he was tasked with assisting business professionals with developing a live chat feature for Otis’ next-generation Customer Portal application. In addition to this project, he assisted Otis with connecting the Customer Portal with their existing IoT products, his role as a point of contact evolving into a new internship opportunity. “This summer, I’ll be working with Collins Aerospace in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m very excited about that, to travel to a new place, and to learn about a new industry. My role will be finance- and technology-oriented, but I don’t have the details quite yet.”

Reflecting on his personal success so far as a student and budding professional, Zevin has this advice to say to incoming UConn freshmen: “Go to class, attend office hours, and if you can’t explain the subject matter to somebody else, have a conversation with your professors or [their teaching assistants] until you can. Also, become involved in your campus community and start setting goals for yourself–they’re a great way to start thinking about the future.”

To keep up with Alex Zevin and his professional development, follow him on his website:





A Reflection: Wearable Tech in Action Workshop

On Friday, March 1st, OPIM Innovate hosted its Wearable Tech in Action workshop from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM in the Gladstein Lab. There, students were able to use hardware such as FLORA microcontrollers, UV light sensors, and force sensors to design their own wearable technologies with pre-coded software templates created using Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping software. There were multiple projects students could choose from based on the parts they selected from the toolkit supplied by the event instructor. Encouraged to work on their own, students downloaded the Arduino software, began building their wearable technologies, and experimented with changing light colors and cycle times by altering the code provided to them on the workshop’s GitHub page.

Since this was the first time I had ever created a wearable piece of technology, I decided to build an accessory that utilized a FLORA microcontroller and a neopixel light. Thanks to the diagrams available to us when using the GitHub tutorials, it was not that difficult to put together. In all, it took one micro USB cord connected to my laptop to power the FLORA microcontroller and upload the Arduino code. From there, I had to use three alligator clips and three on-board pads, or points of contact between devices, on both the FLORA microcontroller and the neopixel light to individuate the electric pulses that would make the device work properly given the current code. Once everything was connected, the neopixel light began to cycle through different colors. At first, the device ran on a red, green, and blue cycle. Then I changed the colors to aqua blue, purple, and pastel pink.

As I continued to experiment with my wearable accessory, I found that you could do various things with the code. For one, you could decrease the brightness of the lights, or even add an extra color to the current hue loop. Looking around me, I also saw my peers use Arduino to create color waves utilizing the neopixel strip, which carries 60 individual neopixels inside of it. Light traveled up and down the strip in a single color, something that could have become a rainbow arrangement with a little extra time.

If you or someone you know is interested in wearable technology, consider visiting OPIM Innovate! We have wearable technology kits available for you to use at your own pace, and you do not have to be an expert to get started!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Wearable Tech workshop. We hope to see you again, soon!

Register Now: Splunk Day

On Friday, March 8th, OPIM Innovate will be hosting Splunk Day in collaboration with Splunk Inc., an industry leader in operations analytics software. An American public multinational corporation based in San Francisco, California, Splunk, Inc.’s mission is to make machine-generated big data accessible. They do this by producing software clients can use to identify data patterns and visualize findings, all via a web-style interface.

Interested in a career with Splunk, or just want to see what products Splunk has to offer? Then come celebrate Splunk Day with us in the Student Union, Room 304 from 12:00-5:00 PM. Students should come prepared with their resumes and dress in business casual attire. Staying for the entire event is encouraged, but is not required.

During the Splunk Day event, a number of presentations will be held covering topics such as:

  • Mobile App Development
  • Machine Learning
  • Blockchain
  • IT Security
  • Women in Tech
  • Recruitment

If you are interested in this event, please register here. We hope to see you all there!