May 2017

Welcome to the May Edition of the CommuniGram! It’s another very busy month across our region for both Professional and Student Chapters as the end of the Spring semester looms and summer is inching closer.

In this edition of the CommuniGram, we’ll review the 2017 CompTIA AITP National Collegiate Conference and take a look at what our Professional Chapters across the region have been up to. Also, be sure to review the information regarding the Fall Region Conference, which is set to begin on October 6th in West Virginia.

2017 National Collegiate Conference

The 22nd Annual CompTIA AITP National Collegiate Conference and Career Fair was held from April 6th – 9th in St. Louis. 555 attendees, including over 400 students from 47 Colleges and Universities attended this year’s conference. Universities represented from Region 18 included Appalachian State University and Kent State University Ashtabula.

Student’s from Kent State University Ashtabula brought home several awards including:

  • Region 18 Outstanding AITP Student Chapter of the Year
  • 2nd Place – AITP Student Banner Contest
  • 3rd Place – AITP Student Chapter Shirt Contest
  • 2nd Place – IT Research Paper – Tim Zee, Mehdi Ghayoumi


Kent State University Ashtabula student Rodger “BJ” Branson took the time to share his experiences at the NCC for this month’s CommuniGram.

2017 AITP NCC Student Experience

By Rodger Branson – Kent State University Ashtabula

Rodger “BJ” Branson

The 2017 AITP National Collegiate Conference was a great experience. Every conference allows students, IT professionals, and faculty advisors a chance to get to know each other better, both professionally and personally. The fundraisers and projects before the conference, as well as NCC itself, provided excellent opportunities to improve our teamwork and autonomy in a professional setting.

Everyone that attended seemed to enjoy themselves. This was my first time visiting St. Louis and my second National Collegiate Conference. The Hyatt Regency at the Arch was the hotel we stayed at and was located right next to the Gateway to the West, the St. Louis Arch. Though it was closed for maintenance, it was really cool being able to look out the window and see it up close. There was a fantastic sushi restaurant near a park within walking distance of the hotel. Some of our group went to the zoo, while others went on a trolley tour of the city and enjoyed learning about the sights and history of St. Louis.

There were a variety of breakout sessions and competitions to attend each day at the conference. Our group participated as teams in at least 7 contests from programming to a research poster presentation session. I noted participating in competitions at NCC can help expose strengths, weaknesses, and possible gaps in knowledge regarding majors and fields in the IT profession. We learn there is much more to study to expand our knowledge base. For instance, the PC Troubleshooting competition had questions geared toward troubleshooting both Mac and Linux, as well as Windows and hardware, which some had not expected. Fortunately, the educational breakout sessions available on Friday and Saturday delivered a variety of topics that actually helped fill some of those gaps.

The career fair was a great opportunity to network with many local and national companies including governmental organizations, such as the US State Department. We were also again able to visit with the folks from Progressive Insurance who also attended the 2016 conference. We were excited to speak with each other. Kent State University at Ashtabula students have a great reputation, not only as an active force in AITP but our graduates are a consistent pipeline of great employees for Progressive in Ohio.

The announcement by CompTIA of this possibly being the last National Collegiate Conference in this current format was met with great disappointment from all attendees. However, we have hope that this decision will work out to be a positive one for the students in AITP, who for over 20 years have looked forward to and invested so much energy to attend and participate in this event. Perhaps NCC, despite its greatness as we perceive it, needed some restructuring? CompTIA stated though future student conferences may not be named exactly the same or entertain the same format as NCCs of the past, they are looking at what would best benefit the students and professional members of this organization and want to provide events possibly “bigger and better” than ever. Students also appreciated learning membership dues to AITP in the future would be free and the 15% discount off of CompTIA certifications that was promised!

All in all, the AITP National Collegiate Conference will be missed. We had fun throughout the years, with many fond memories and strong professional relationships forged through working to obtain common goals and success. I hope AITP is in good hands under CompTIA, and look forward to seeing what the future has in store.

Region News

2017 Fall Region Conference News

We will be having our conference at the beautiful Marriott Hotel in Charleston, West Virginia on the weekend of October 7th.

Your room rate of $109 per night will include your morning breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, potato hash, Startbucks coffee, orange juice and toast, as well as a waived parking fee for their parking garage during your two-night stay.  The hotel has a nice swimming pool and an exercise room.  There is a shopping mall right across the street, which might be of interest to those who wish to bring along their families or significant other(s) who might not wish to attend the conference.  For a sneak peek at our hotel, check out this link.

We are looking into a Friday night social activity for those who wish to and are able to come in a little early for the event.  We are also considering a possible informal golf outing on Friday afternoon, if the weather permits and there is sufficient interest.

Registration will open in late April or early May and will include an early bird rate.  So make sure you are watching for that and do not miss it.

We are now working on lining up speakers.  Our intent is to have a full day of professional speakers on Saturday and possibly a less formal presentation on Sunday morning.  We will have additional updates on that and registration coming in a future issue of the newsletter.  In the mean time, please block out the weekend of October 6th through October 8th for what is shaping up to be a terrific event!  We look forward to your joining us.

Mary Jane Scruggs
AITP Region 18 2017 Conference Chair

Chapter News

Akron-Canton Chapter

The Akron-Canton Chapter’s May meeting will be held on Thursday, May 18th at The Bit Factory, 526 South Main Street #511, Akron, OH 44311. (View Map)

Topic: IBM Blockchain – the Future of Digital Currency & Ecommerce

As you probably know, Blockchain is seen as the next big technological innovation after the internet. As the name suggests it is nothing more than a chain of data blocks; Each block contains a compact record of things that have happened. It maintains a single version of truth and operates on the principles of trust, accountability and transparency. Blockchain is expected to show great promise across a wide range of business applications; from financial institutions settling securities in minutes instead of days to providing secure access to a patient’s entire health history.

Bottom line is that Blockchain technology will revolutionize the way organizations do their business.

Join Ms. Daruwalla for an interactive & a candid session on Blockchain. We will explore the basic concepts, its benefits as well as the challenges & governance conundrum that come with this revolutionary technology.

Benazeer Daruwalla has 19 years of experience in technology and has served the last four years at IBM as a Senior Cybersecurity Architect in Financial Services, Investment Banking and Securities industries specializing in enterprise security architecture, security standards and complex integrations.

Meeting Sponsor: Expedient

Networking: 6:00pm – 6:30pm
Presentation: 630pm – 7:30pm
Wrap-up and Door Prizes: 7:30pm – 8:00pm

For more information and registration info, click here.

Greater Wheeling Chapter

The Greater Wheeling Chapter will hold its Wednesday, May 10, 2017 meeting at the White Palace in Wheeling Park, Wheeling WV.  The White Palace is located inside Wheeling Park at 1801 National Rd, Wheeling, WV 26003 (map via bing).

Meeting Topic & Speaker: What is IT Managed Service & how could your organization benefit from it?

Michael Pologruto is a Senior Account Executive with PGH Networks, a Managed Service Provider based in Robinson Township, PA. He lives in Cranberry Township PA with his wife and 3 children. Michael has been helping businesses to become more productive & more secure for over 20 years. His experience ranges from mobile workforce applications to network systems.

PGH Networks is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that focuses on boosting your productivity, minimizing your risk and reducing your downtime. We optimize and protect your network. PGH Networks provides a network assessment to determine the current state of your IT infrastructure & security policies & we offer a technology roadmap to get you to your desired state. We provide synchronized and layered security as well as business continuity & disaster recovery plans. We also support & manage your IT infrastructure, technology vendors & even your end users. PGH Networks manages your technology so that you can focus on your core business.

Event Schedule

We will meet at the White Palace.  Social time and registration will begin at 5:30 p.m.  The dinner will be at 6:15 p.m. and the presentations will follow the meal.

Cost for the evening is $18.00 for AITP members, $12.00 for AITP student members and $23.00 for non-member guests.  We will have our 50/50 drawing and door prizes for those in attendance.

RSVP to Join Us

This is a special event with a great speaker and informative topic, so please RSVP early in order to allow the Wheeling Park catering staff the opportunity to prepare sufficient food for everyone in attendance and to ensure there is seating available for our group.

E-mail Karen Kovacs at to RSVP, or register on our website.  Reservations are essential.

Pittsburgh Chapter

On April 24th 2017 AITP/CompTIA had their annual scholarship meeting to present a deserving student a $1000 check written to both the student and LaRoche College.  To receive this scholarship, the student had to write an essay about the Current and the Future of Big Data.   Also at this meeting, we had a presentation by John Grim, RISK Team, Verizon Enterprise Solutions who spoke on Data Breaches.

Our Scholarship Winner was Sani Shrestha from La Roche College. Attending with Sani was her Advisor, Professor Noakes and also Professor Arnold. Professor Noakes is also the advisor of the AITP Student Chapter at La Roche.  Also attending the meeting were students from Slippery Rock University AITP Student Chapter, other guests and members.

It was a great meeting and I, Stan Hoffman, want to thank Pat McMurray, Denise Patrizio and the rest of the AITP Pittsburgh Chapter Board of Directors for their hard work on a successful meeting.

NEO Chapter

On April 25th, the student chapter of Kent State University Ashtabula hosted the NEO Professional Chapter dinner for a presentation on the students’ experiences at the 2017 CompTIA AITP National Collegiate Conference. Speakers for the evening included chapter President Cameron Hartley, BJ Branson, Abby Raikes, Erin Taylor, John Loggins, and faculty advisors Carolyn Carvalho and Shelley Marshall.

The student chapter had another successful year at the National Collegiate Conference and had a great time in St. Louis. Excellent job!

Also during the presentation, Brenda Angle was presented with her 2nd Lifetime Diamond IPA award and Carolyn Carvalho was presented with her Diamond IPA award. Congratulations to Brenda and Carolyn for all of their hard work and dedication!

RTP Chapter

That’s all for this month!

Chapter Leaders, Members, and Students, do you have a news item or article that you would like to see included in the next CommuniGram? Drop me a line! Region Members would love to hear about what your chapter is up to!

Jen Addair, Editor

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