Author: Carina Zamudio

Upward Hartford Sponsors Hackathon

This year the University of Connecticut was invited to participate in Hackathon, an event hosted by Upward Hartford. Upward Hartford is a new innovation / co-working space located in downtown Hartford open to entrepreneurs looking for a place to create new ideas and other innovative projects. The Hackathon was open to everyone in the community and local colleges were encouraged to send members to participate. This year OPIM Innovate sponsored a team of freshman engineering students who are also pursing the analytics minor.  These four exceptional students were eager to sign up and represent the university at the three day event.

Each day of the Hackathon was dedicated to solving challenges in the health industry utilizing digital technology. On the first day, participants frwere told they need to come up with a technological solution to a challenge in the health industry. Participants were given a variety of different topics to help them guide their project, but the UConn students decided to take an independent route and tackle an issue related to chronic illnesses.

From their full day of brainstorming, the UConn team decided to create Motivate Me, an app to promote healthy lifestyles. “The app is a health app that generates health information from variables and other health apps to make specialized packages for the users.” The goal is to get points by going to gyms or healthy places, and when a user achieves enough points, he or she will receive a package. The intention of this was to prevent chronic diseases, like diabetes, because some of them are preventable. “My inspiration was actually from Pocket Points, an app where users get points to redeem at food areas for leaving their phones off in class,” said Robert McClardy, a member of the UConn team.

The team used a program called Wireframe to create a preliminary version of the app. This program allowed them to design exactly how Motivate Me would work, with user friendly interactive components such as a health and location tracker. Once the team was able to “develop” the app, they rehearsed a presentation for day three. The third day was dedicated to a presentation to a panel of judges from different companies. Here the participants discussed their inspiration and purpose of the app, a market analysis, the target audience, their finances, and a timeline for how they could get the product up and running. Although the team did not place, they took the initiative to approach the judges to see how they could improve.

“This is something great to get involved in as an underclassmen and I would strongly encourage other students to go,” McClardy said when recounting his experiences in the Hackathon. The weekend is a great way to get exposure to the field, work on communication skills, problem solving, and make connections along the way. OPIM Innovate is looking to sponsor future teams to send to Hackthons or case competitions hosted at Upward Hartford in the future.


Blockchain in Business Workshop

Following his workshop last week on An Introduction to Blockchain, Christopher Day, a representative from RapidQube, held a workshop on Blockchain in Business. Although blockchain was created in 2008, it has recently gained popularity because it is the framework behind Bitcoin. Since Bitcoin, there have been many strides made in an attempt to apply blockchain to different aspects of business. “This week was about teaching students how to apply blockchain based on how the technology is already being used in different disciplines,” said Day following the workshop.

The workshop began with a brief overview from last week, and then Day focused on the benefits the business world could gain by applying blockchain technology. Blockchain could be implemented in shipping, the food industry, insurance, and supply chain, and companies such as Visa, UPS, JP Morgan, Chase, and IBM are all different companies that are already implementing it.  Blockchain can store both structured and unstructured data, such as documents or pictures, by simply scanning it and uploading it. When the information is needed there is easy access and every user in the chain will know who uploaded the information. IBM is using it for their global finance settlement work, so they are able to take dispute resolution out of the process because everyone has access to see transactions on the blocks. Shipping companies are using it as a fault-free way to track their products. Insurance companies have begun to use blockchain for car accidents, so you would take a photo after getting into an accident, upload it, and an AI would automatically filter through what is wrong with the car.  According to Day, “any place where you have people exchanging information and rules have to be applied you can apply blockchain.”

Charles Haylock, a senior studying History and German, went to both the Introduction to Blockchain and Blockchain in Business workshops. “Blockchain is really important and I am thankful and grateful to be a part of a university that recognizes that. From what I’ve heard and what I’ve read there is a heavy demand in the business world telling universities that they need students to know this.” Because of the increasing importance and high demand for knowledge on blockchain, there will be a third workshop on Blockchain Applications in Insurance held on Friday, March 30th in the BUSN Board room, 321. This workshop is a partnership between OPIM Innovate and the newly formed Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Register ahead of time to secure a seat.






Alberto Principe Student Spotlight

Alberto Principe, a junior Management Information Systems (MIS) major and Data Analytics minor, was introduced to Information Technology as a child.”When I was little my uncle used to fix computers around the house. He was really good at technology so being able to see him fix problems always sparked my curiosity.” It was these childhood experiences that inspired him in his academic career. The MIS major and Data Analytics minor will allow Principe to take the passions of his IT childhood, and apply them to the business world. “I’ve always wanted to be able to get to know computers, but having the ability to combine them in the business world in one cohesive subject has been influential in preparing for my future.”

Principe has been preparing for his future since his freshman year, making sure to stay active on campus through Information Management Association (IMA) and an on campus job. After hearing about IMA at an on campus career fair, he decided to join and became an active member in the club. His participation and passion for the subject did not go unnoticed, and a year after joining he was elected the Alumni Relations Chair. Principe is the first student to hold this position and has many plans for the following semesters. “My goal is mainly to build a foundation for future Alumni Relations Chairs. At the moment I’m focused on trying to find the right people to contact, how to contact them, and being able to get the IMA word out.” He is trying to make these advancements by boosting social media advertising and reaching out to contacts that would potentially be interested in visiting, becoming mentors, or helping create contacts in companies. In addition to his position on the IMA E-board, Principe works at ITS, the UConn IT Department located on the first floor of Homer Babbidge Library. His position involves solving IT based issues from other students, on the phone or at the support table in the library. This job will give him entry level experience in the IT field, which could open up more opportunities for him in the future.

Although he is unsure about where his future will lead him, he wants to get into a career path that will allow him to develop more efficient ways of completing tasks, such as in machine learning. Machine learning is a relatively new area of technology that focuses on teaching computers how to perform tasks. “It’s really interesting to see how a computer or machine can go from not learning, to doing almost exactly what you want it to do in a really short period of time.”

With another year left at UConn, Alberto is spending the majority of his time focusing on schoolwork and applying for internships. In preparing for the real world, Principe reflected on some helpful experience he has gotten in the classroom. “UConn has exposed me to a lot of group activities. I know in the earlier semesters we are taught to do our work and make sure everything is on time, but now we focus more on applying concepts and working in teams. Being able to work with people we have never met before and work through conflicts and meeting times, is something that I will have to face in the workplace.” After graduation, Principe hopes to move to a big city and work at a company in information technology. He is hoping that this company will help him become an established professional and allow him to build connections with employers and peers.

For younger students pursuing MIS or Data Analytics, Principe encourages students to get involved. “It’s hard to find other MIS students because the major is so small, but come to IMA and you’ll realize all the connections you could have.”

UConn IDEA Grant

The UConn IDEA Grant funds undergraduate students with innovative ideas in all majors on all campuses. The program is a part of UConn’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium, a coalition of UConn programs, initiatives, activities, funding, and courses dedicated to helping students’ ideas succeed. The Office of Undergraduate Research who sponsors the IDEA Grants has partnered with OPIM Innovate to gain students with creative minds and driven attitudes. The $4,000 grant will be an exceptional way for students to work through prototypes in the OPIM Innovate space. If you or a team of UConn students has an original research project, a product to develop, an entrepreneurial venture, or any innovative idea, this is the perfect opportunity to turn it into a reality. Successful projects in the past have ranged from creating prosthetic limbs, promoting diversity in education, and attacking xenophobia in America through print making. Each of these projects were accomplished by students with different majors and interests, but the general subjects were, and should be, personally meaningful and engaging.

Applications are open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, in good standing, pursuing a bachelor’s degree. If you need help preparing your application, two workshops are being held in Rowe 420 at 4 pm on Monday Feb. 26 and Tuesday Feb. 27th. The office also holds office hours on Thurs., Mar. 8th, 1:00-4:00pm, Rowe 409 and Fri., Mar. 9th, 1:00-4:00pm, Rowe 409.

Application Deadline: March 12, 2018

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An Introduction to Blockchain Workshop

On Friday February 9th, the Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department held a workshop on an Introduction to Blockchain. This workshop taught by Christopher Day, a business advisor from RapidQube, is the first in a series of three Blockchain workshops discussing how this new technology is disrupting and revolutionizing the business world.

“Blockchain is a big secure database that’s in the cloud. The database consists of shared ledger that are the same across four nodes that communicate with one another to say if the data is good or bad,” said Day. Each group of transactions gets added to the ledger as a different block, and it becomes a chain because each block builds upon the data from the first block. Although the concept of Blockchain is relatively new, it is not a new technology. Instead, it is a system that uses existing technologies, that wouldn’t normally be combined, in new ways.

“Blockchain is changing the way that technology is moving and evolutionizing in the workplace. Every single workplace should know how this works,” said Radhika Kanaskar, a junior studying Management Information Systems (MIS). Blockchain can be used for a variety of different things such as to track produce, ensure flawless audit trails, assist lawyers with contracts, and utilize cryptocurrency. This is because Blockchain provides a seamless trail from the first stage of production until its final destination. The blocks in a block chain are interconnected and because the chain of transaction trails is open to the public, the tracking of produce will forever lead in the right direction, and the same goes for audit trails. This is especially helpful for people who want to know their sources, people who wan to track transactions, and people who want to resolve or eliminate mistrust. It is one of the only modern technologies that provides visibility to all of the people in the transaction. “Blockchain technology has exploded within the past four or five months because of bitcoin. Some people are putting millions of dollars into this and so many people don’t know how it works. It’s important to attend workshops like this to know how it came to be,” said Alex Martinez, a senior studying MIS.

“I liked the workshop a lot and thought it was very  informative. Having a third party vendor come in from a company to teach us the workshop was really interesting because he had a lot of deep knowledge on it,” said Martinez. Luckily, Day will be returning this Friday, February 16th, at 1PM in the OPIM Gladstein Lab on the third floor of the School of Business to conduct a follow up workshop on Blockchain in Business.

John Hauselt Student Spotlight

John Hauselt, a sophomore pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) with a minor in Computer Science, has been interested in Information Technology since he was in high school. As a proactive student he decided to begin his job search as a junior in high school, looking for jobs in IT to fill his free time. He was able to land a position as an intern in the IT Department at Masonicare, a hospital and rehabilitation center. Here Hauselt was able to get introductory level experience on how the IT world works, and was exposed to cyber security. Masonicare uses a program called Honeypot which “generates fake information to analyze how people are trying to hack the network and traces incoming IPs.” It was this exposure, in addition to his later work experience, that pushed him to work in cyber security.

Working at Masonicare opened the doors to IT positions Hauselt was eligible to apply for. His next job was in the IT Department in the Wallingford public school system. Most of the work involved solving basic computer issues, but the work was independent which gave him the ability to work through issues on his own. He now works at the IT Department in the School of Business and really enjoys the diversity of work he is exposed to. “People always ask me what I do, but what I really enjoy is that everyday I do something different. So I’ll tell people today I did something as simple as blocking pop ups but tomorrow could be something like downloading software, coding, or something totally different.”

This job, and the ability to be a student worker, is perhaps the most helpful aspect of preparing for his career. His job has given him helpful connections such as other students who are able and willing to help him with school and connecting him with future employers.

While fulfilling his goals of doing well in school and securing a job after graduation, Hauselt is the Secretary of the Information Management Association (IMA) and involved in the Business Connections Learning Community (BCLC). The BCLC provides students with a place to live, learn, and connect with each other, helping students grow both inside and outside of the classroom. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get involved,” Hauselt advises younger students. IMA is a great way to make connections with employers and peers. He was amazed to see that employers who would attend meetings were actively engaged and cared about the students they were talking to.

Data Analytics Minor

The Data Analytics minor gives students data analytics skills in understanding patterns in data, analytical frameworks, predictive modeling, and discovering hidden relationships in data. These skills are important for problem solving in the business world, especially in fields such as finance and accounting.  The ability to understand and analyze data is a crucial aspect of all fields, and creates a competitive advantage when on the job search. Because of its usefulness in the technological world we live in, the minor is open to all UConn students, regardless of whether or not they are in the business school. The minor requires twelve credits. Students must complete OPIM 3221 Business Database Systems, OPIM 3802 Data and Text Mining, and OPIM 3803 Spreadsheet Modeling, and can choose between OPIM 3801 Project Management or OPIM 4895 Special Topics as their twelfth credit.

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Note: OPIM 3221 can count towards both the Management Information Systems (MIS) major and the Data Analytics minor



Scholarship Opportunities (Round 2)


If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any type of cancer, you are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be attending a four year accredited university by the fall of 2018. The application requires a copy of your high school or college transcript in addition to a 1,000 word essay on the provided essay question.

Deadline: May 15, 2018

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Eligible applicants for this scholarship are students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 attending an accredited university. An essay is required.

Deadline: June 30, 2018

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Applicants must be undergraduate students attending an accredited college or university. A 1500-2000 word essay and a five minute video based on the essay are required.

Deadline: August 31, 2018

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Applicants must currently be enrolled in an accredited college or university. An essay is required.

Deadlines: March 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019

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Applicants must currently be enrolled in an accredited college or university. An essay is required.

Deadline: July 15, 2018

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Applicants must currently be enrolled in an accredited college or university. An essay is required.

Deadline: December 1, 2018

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Applicants must be veterans of the armed forces and use their education to help other veterans. A 300 word statement on how you plan to use your degree to help veterans is required.

Deadlines: May 1, 2018 and November 1, 2018

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In order to apply for the Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship, applicants must be honorably discharged veterans or spouses of disabled veterans who have served for the US armed forces. Applicants must be high school or GED graduates with a minimum GPA of 2.5, hoping to attend an accredited university.

Deadline: February 28, 2018

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Applicants must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university pursuing a degree in a STEM related field.

Deadline: August15, 2018

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Applicants must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university. A 500 word essay is required.

Deadline: August 28, 2019

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How the Internet Works Workshop

The internet: an everyday tool that has somehow become obscure and mysterious in both its definition and the way it works. On Friday, February 9, Adjunct Professor Stephen Fitzgerald tackled the daunting task of explaining how the internet works in the latest OPIM Innovate workshop. The workshop covered how we connect to the internet, how we send messages through the internet, the divisions of the internet (such as the surface web, deep web, and dark web), and websites.

The internet began as a Department of Defense project, with the hopes of being able to create a communication network that could survive nuclear attack. In order to do this, the creators of the internet decided to send information in packets, dividing one message into smaller parts, sending those parts on different routes, and reuniting them later on at their appropriate destinations. Each destination that a message will encounter along its travel is referred to as an IP address. IP addresses are a series of unique numbers that distinguish computers depending on the network they are connected to. “IP addresses are like home addresses; so what we want to do is get information from one destination to another. With an IP address, we can track the steps it takes to get from my home router to google,” Fitzgerald said. Although each IP address is different, the amount of addresses is not unlimited because they are coded in binary. This means that at institutions such as UConn, users are able to login to the internet with a specific IP address, but once you log out the information will be recycled for the next user. “There are a few buildings where the huge internets of the world connect to each other. These would be places that connect the millions of IP addresses together like Time Warner, Comcast, etc. and they are filled with routers,” Fitzgerald said as he began to paint a physical picture of how the internet is connected.

“This was a good first workshop to go to because it gave information on how the internet works while reflecting real world issues like net neutrality. I think sometimes if you live on campus at a college you can shut out the outside world, so workshops are a good way to understand the real world applications of things we learn about in school,” said Brittany Reynolds a Management Informations Systems (MIS) and Psychology major (’19). Being able to use the internet is an essential skill for students in their academics and the workplace, but knowing how the internet works is an extremely useful tool for students looking to make an impact in the field of technology. “Knowing about the internet is important. With the amount of information being shared across the internet, it is important to know where that information is going, who has access and who doesn’t, and to be able to control where your information is going,” said Anthony Modolese, a senior finance major in attendance. Modolese and his friend Matthew Kopec have been taking a private independent study on the business of blockchain and are currently learning about the history of the internet. This interest in blockchain has brought them to multiple workshops and they are both interested in attending more in the future.


Dominika Lichomska Student Spotlight

Dominika Lichomska, a junior pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) with an Analytics Minor, has had a passion for Information Technology since her childhood. “I was highly fascinated about computers and what made them tick. Once I took several OPIM classes I realized that technology is equally interesting as it is challenging.” Because technology has become an integral aspect of modern day life and is constantly evolving, her MIS degree will help her succeed in any field she decides to work in.

After transitioning from the Stamford campus to Storrs her sophomore year, she became involved in Health Care Management Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, Hearts Over Latin America (HOLA), and Information Management Association (IMA). IMA was a great way for Lichomska to meet other students who are interested in MIS and share her passion for technology. “IMA was the perfect club to get me acclimated to the opportunities that MIS offers,” she said, and after just one semester she was elected as treasurer. “My main goal as Treasurer is to support the IMA EBoard in introducing the MIS field to undergraduate students, present technology opportunities, and connect students with working professionals.” In addition to IMA, she is also interested in attending the OPIM Innovate workshops so she can “further develop technology skills and knowledge.” With her experiences through the business school and prior work experience at The Center for Women’s Heath, she decided to combine the interests and join Health Care Management Society.  Although Lichomska stays involved within the business school and the OPIM Department, she also makes sure to lend a helping hand through HOLA. HOLA designs campaigns that will have a sustainable impact in public health and education in Latin America. Even with this broad array of clubs, societies, and organizations outside of the classroom, her main goal after attending the University of Connecticut is simple, to “learn a lot, meet some friends, and make great memories.”

“I adore that UConn not only focuses on the knowledge that MIS majors could benefit from but also the history and logic behind them. For example, in my advanced business application development class, before learning how to code in C# we learned the history of computers and the logic behind the language.” This background knowledge is helpful to gain a deeper understanding of topics in class that may be difficult to grasp, and will help prepare students for their careers. Although Lichomska may not know what her future holds, she has been most interested in the concept of gamification. “Gamification includes the process of using objectives and rules, while taking into consideration intrinsic motivations, to apply a gaming environment into non-game contexts.” In the future, she would enjoy working in an industry where the gamification concept is used to help solve industry obstacles. It is the opportunities within the department, such as the courses and workshops, that helped Lichomska intern with M2 Media group, a magazine subscription agency, located in Stamford, CT. “During my internship I learned about the magazine industry, how to efficiently coordinate with many company departments, and edit magazine descriptions. I was able to polish my Microsoft Excel and communication skills. Communication is important especially for business majors and my internship with M2 Media Group has introduced me to the art of business communication.”

With her remaining year at the University of Connecticut, she hopes to find her calling within the technology industry.