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Special Events

NSU's College of Engineering and Computing hosts various events throughout the year for current and prospective students, faculty, alumni, and community partners!


SFTA Presents "Tech Talent Fest"

If you are looking for a job, you should attend this event on March 13th, 2018 right here on NSU's main campus.  For detailed information and to rsvp, please click here: /SFTA Tech Talent Fest



TechTalk Series - Protecting America's Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Attack: Building a career and making a difference.


to rsvp, please click here: TechTalk

The headlines are all around us: ransomware shutting down hospitals, identities for sale on the Dark Web, and malware strikes industrial safety systems in the Middle East. North Korea training over 3,000 cyber warriors to attack United States (US) infrastructure, like nuclear power and transportation (Paganini, 2015). Back in 1993, Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 63 identified eight critical infrastructure sectors vital to the functioning of our nation, including banking and finance, electric power, and transportation. Over the years, the list of critical sectors has grown to 16. 

Cybersecurity for critical infrastructure is divided into two domains; the more familiar one is Information Technology (IT) cybersecurity, or protecting business systems such as banking, personnel databases, and web sites from attack. However, protecting the operational side of critical infrastructure, such as the industrial control and Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that run chemical plants, passenger trains and the power grid from cyberattack emerged as a separate field in 2002, and has been gathering momentum ever since. This presentation will take a look at the threats, incidents, and defenses for the IT and operations side of critical infrastructure, and describe the growing need for cyber practitioners in the field. It will describe some ways students may enter the field from IT or engineering, and advance to lucrative positions protecting critical infrastructure.

Can't make it to campus?  You can join online:

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. 
You can also dial in using your phone. 
United States: +1 (646) 749-3112  
Access Code: 828-119-317 


WorldCamp Miami 2018

 Want To Become A Better Freelancer, Web Developer, Or Marketer?

Then don't miss WorldCamp Miami March 16, 17 and 18. For details click here: WorldCamp Miami 2018.

NSU students have significant discounts to participate, just register using the discount codes below:

Free Sat/Sun Weekend Ticket: NOVAFREE

50% Off Weekend Ticket (when free is gone): NOVA50 

Offering Free WordPress Beginner’s Workshop To Nova Students: FREEWORKSHOP1

Graduate Open House

NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing would love to meet with you this Saturday at NSU's Graduate Open House.  To rsvp for the Open House, please follow this link: NSU Graduate Open House

When: Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 8:30 am - 12:00 PM

Where: NSU's main campus, Carl DeSantis building. 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314





High School Kids Day at Nova Southeastern University

NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) is celebrating Engineering and Technology Week with a series of events. The first event taking place is Kids Day on February 20th 2018.

CEC has invited high school students for a fun-filled day to show them how interesting and fun Engineering and Technology really is! Demand for talent in Engineering and Technology fields are still on the rise.  According to the latest Robert Half Salary Guide (2018), “The persistent shortage of Technology workers in so longer just an inconvenience for many employers—it’s quickly becoming a significant business problem.” So we are joining forces with high school counselors to inspire our young students about the endless possibilities within this field.

For more information, email:


Lunch and Learn: Land Your Dream Job



As part of Engineering and Technology Week, CEC invites all students to participate in this Lunch and Learn opportunity.

When: February 21, 2018

Time: 11:30 am to 2:00 pm

Where: Carl DeSantis, rooms 1048 and 1049

Want to know how to make yourself marketable for a career in tech? Come hear it first hand from the  experts! Meet industry professionals from American Express and Florida Power and Light, as well as College of Engineering and Computing professors, and NSU's Career Development team. Panel discussion topics such as: Desired skills, in demand job categories and certifications, industry trends and much more! Join us on this seminar to learn how you can stand out from the competition. 

This event is by rsvp only, please confirm your presence here: Handshake

You can also attend virtually by clicking here: Virtual Link

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training. 

Participants can use their computer's microphone and speakers (VoIP) or telephone.

United States
Long Distance: +1 (510) 365-3231 
Access Code: 175-223-542 
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the training


Brigitte Callaghan

Brigitte Callaghan

Certified Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) Program Consultant / Agile Coach / Instructor /Solution Train Engineer, American Express

Brigitte Callaghan has provided on site coaching support to American Express in the United States and abroad. She is the primary coach and instructor at the American Express South Eastern campus supporting over 2,000 employees.

As an experienced program manager skilled in business process, operations management, reengineering and customer relationship management (CRM) who moved to the development side of American Express over ten years ago, Brigitte has the unique ability to understand and coach both the Product Owner and Developer side of the development relationship.


Christine Davis

Christine Davis

Director Hardening Engineering Power Delivery, FPL

Chris Davis is director of hardening engineering for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL).  She is responsible for the engineering of projects that ensure the distribution infrastructure is more storm resilient.

Prior to her current role, Chris was the director of central maintenance and construction for transmission and substation, where she was responsible for the construction of new substation and transmission lines and upgrades and improvements of existing facilities.  She has held a variety of other roles within the power delivery business unit.  She joined FPL in 1989.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from the Nova Southeastern University.    


Melians Susan

Susan Melians 

Vice President Operations Services, FPL

Susan Melians is responsible for managing key functions including safety, quality and analytics, compliance and regulatory, customer experience, training and development and employee programs.

Mrs. Melians has worked for Florida Power and Light (FPL) for more than 30 years and has served in various positions within the distribution, marketing, external affairs and customer service business units. Prior to joining the HR business unit, Mrs. Melians served as director of the Customer Care organization.  During her tenure with Customer Care, the organization received repeated national recognition for its outstanding performance in the quality of service provided to FPL customers.

Mrs. Melians serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, Greater Palm Beach Area Chapter; she is on the Executive Council of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD); she is on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Martin County and is involved with STEM related initiatives including FIRST Robotics. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and a Masters of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. She has also completed executive course work at the University of Michigan.


Cheryl Duke

Cheryl Duke

Engineering Director, American Express

Cheryl is a seasoned IT Director with experience leading software delivery in .Net, Java and Pega for projects ranging from data center migration to new capabilities.  Her ability to provide clarity during times of ambiguity, make decisions and positive attitude enables her to deliver exceptional results.  Most of her career has been at American Express, 31 years, with the last 16 years as an Engineering Director in Technologies.  Cheryl has a BA in Finance and a MS in Quality Management. 

Beyond her Director responsibilities, Cheryl is committed to making a difference in the community.  For the past 14 years, she has served on non-profit Boards and at American Express launched a community outreach program to encourage middle school girls to pursue education/career in technology as part of the Women in Technology network.  She has two boys, Brandon 30 and Justin 23, and enjoys travel, outdoor activities and spending time with friends/family.


Women In Technology Seminar at Nova Southeastern University


NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing, in collaboration with sponsors Ultimate Software, Chen Moore, LexisNexis and FPL, is holding its first Women in Technology seminar, as part of a series of events taking place to celebrate Engineering and Technology Week.

The seminar invites students and alumni of all majors, as well as industry professionals that are interested in learning more about topics such as Developing a Culture of Innovation, and best practices for ensuring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace. 

The event is targeted to those that wish to explore various careers/roles in technology and that want to be empowered and inspired by over a dozen industry experts/speakers, with diverse backgrounds in the technology arena.

Panel and round table networking/mentoring conversations will take place with successful women to serve as role models for those just entering or considering entering the field.

Come join us Friday, February 23rd, 2018 from 8:30 am until 2:15 pm. 

Location: Carl DeSantis Building, 1st floor, classroom 1048,1049,1052,1053 and 1054.

Lunch will be provided.

Download Parking Pass

This event is RSVP only.  RSVP HERE

“If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change.” Privahini Bradoo, Co-Founder and CEO of BlueOak.


8:30 am to 9:00 am – Check in and light breakfast

9:00 am to 9:15 am – Dean’s welcome

9:15 am to 10:15 am – Session one – Panel discussion Developing a Culture of Innovation

10:15 am to 10:30 am – Coffee Break coffee

10:30 am to 11:30 am – Session two – Round table discussions, 20 minutes in each table:

Table 1: Engineering

Table 2: Product Design, Management and Services

Table 3: Cloud Technology and Security

11:30 am to 12:30 pm – Lunch Break (box lunches provided)

12:30 pm to 1:15 pm – Session three - Presentation by Montra Ellis

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm – Session four – Panel Discussion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Jess Keeney, Senior Director of Product Development at Ultimate Software

Jess Keeney

At Ultimate, Jess Keeney is responsible for product and engineering efforts to deliver on business, technology, and strategic initiatives. Jess Keeney has demonstrated success across industries at analyzing market needs, defining innovative solutions, and maximizing existing business capabilities to drive delivery. She focuses on building cohesive teams known for high performance, energetic interaction and successful outcomes. She thrives in environments that are open to change or where she can help organizations adapt to new processes, markets, and concepts. She is known for her ability to lead cross-functionally and develop product development strategies with a deep understanding of business and customer needs.

Prior to joining Ultimate, Jess worked as a software consultant, a program manager and an attorney but always stood out for her ability to succeed in fast-changing and undefined situations by establishing and maintaining credibility using her strengths in adaptive leadership and understanding of operational needs. She generally works at a faster than average pace and communicates easily and flexibly, adjusting her style to maintain and grow productive business relationships.

Maria HernandezMaria Hernandez, Culture and Innovation Advisor at Modernizing Medicine; former Chief Innovation Officer at IBM

Maria Hernandez has led innovation and global strategies across a broad spectrum of industries, including IBM where she served as Chief Innovation Officer and member of IBM’s Corporate Strategy team, driving business development and innovation with IBM’s largest clients. A visionary leader, Maria stood out early in her career at IBM as an evangelist for women in the workplace, creating mentoring programs and molding a culture to support women in technology within IBM.   She’s currently Innovation Culture Chief Advisor for companies seeking to harness innovation for talent management, leadership development and women’s advancement.

Following her career at IBM, Maria joined Modernizing Medicine as Senior VP Strategic Development. In this role, she was responsible for leading strategic partnerships and alliances in healthcare technology. Almost immediately, Maria formed Modernizing Medicine’s Women in Innovation and Technology (MMwit) which has proved to be a culture changer in employee engagement and talent management.

Maria is also a founder and President of Madrinas, a non-profit organization for Corporate Latina leaders across the US. She serves on the Advisory Boards of Latino Business Today online magazine, IT, St. Thomas University, and FAU Tech Runway’s Entrepreneur mentor board.   Maria has received recognition for being a female role model in technology and is a frequent speaker at women’s conferences and university events.

Maria earned a BA degree in Management Information Systems from Pace University, New York, and has attended extensive sales, technical, and project management education at IBM. She has also received a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University.

Michelle Bazargan

Michelle Bazargan, Business Innovation Strategist, Align Innovation, TED Speaker

Michelle is originally from Iran and when her family migrated to the USA, they came with one bag and $500 in their pockets. With limited English, they found themselves having to quickly adapt to a new culture and system.  This experience built a foundation of perseverance, resiliency and gratitude.  With this foundation, Michelle was able to build a tech company from the ground up, which she later on sold.  A natural entrepreneur, she believes passion fuels any dream or goal and complexity and perfection are the enemies of execution and innovation. She is a born leader and thrives on inspiring and helping people to think differently and on creating a future by getting past conventional ways of doing things.  Her diverse and strategic experience spans various leadership roles at both start-ups and complex enterprise organizations, from leading strategy and innovation to executing and delivering multimillion-dollar programs.  She is an avid speaker at events such as TEDx Boca Raton as well as educational events. She is also a contributor writer for Forbes Council, Huffington Post, Business Insider and Women in Technology.   Michelle is also an athlete, strongly devoted to health and fitness.  

 Flavio Villanustre

Dr. Flavio Villanustre, CISO  and VP Technology, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Dr. Flavio Villanustre is CISO and VP of Technology for LexisNexis® Risk Solutions. He also leads the open source HPCC Systems® platform initiative, which is focused on expanding the community gathering around the HPCC Systems Big Data platform, originally developed by LexisNexis Risk Solutions in 2001 and later released under an open source license in 2011. Flavio’s expertise covers a broad range of subjects, including hardware and systems, software engineering, and data analytics and machine learning. He has been involved with open source software for more than two decades, founding the first Linux users’ group in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Flavio was recently named Distinguished Technologist of the Year for successfully advancing LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ reputation as a leading innovator in big data and analytics, promoting data for good strategies by leveraging the company’s open source HPCC Systems and building strong relationships with colleges and universities to promote an exchange of ideas, technology and talent. Prior to his technology career, Dr. Villanustre was a neurosurgeon.

 Trish McCall

Trish McCall,  Director for Program Management, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Trish McCall is Director Program Management for LexisNexis® Risk Solutions and leads various programs working with corporate and academic partners to help build and promote the HPCC Systems community, with emphasis on creating an ecosystem of advocates for expanding the value of the HPCC Systems open source platform. Trish also manages the ADAM Program, a tool donated to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children by LexisNexis to assist with the distribution of missing child posters. To date, over 175 children have been reunited with their families as a result of the ADAM Program. Trish holds a BS in Computer Science Information Systems from Kennesaw State University.

 Opal Wagnac

MODERATOR: Opal Wagnac, Director, Analyst Relations, Ultimate Software

Opal Wagnac is a seasoned IT-professional with almost 20 years of experience in developing software.  She has performed in roles ranging from developing code to product management, and her most recent venture, influencing the industry analyst community, who are key influencers for B2B technology products and practices.  Opal has been with Ultimate Software since 2004, contributing to its magnificent climb from a small HR/Payroll software shop to a leader in the marketplace. Opal is a graduate of Columbia University [B.S. Electrical Engineering] and has worked as IT consultant, developing software for various clients (e.g., US Patent & Trademark Office, 3M, Shell, Chevron, etc.), prior to joining Ultimate.

Opal is a native of Jamaica, and grew up in South FL. She’s married with 3 children (ages 7, 6, and 3). Outside of work, Opal loves to spend time with family and friends, ‘hacking’, reading, traveling, and mentoring.

Table 1 - Engineering:

Safiya Brea

Safiya T. Brea, P.E., Senior Engineer, Chen Moore & Associates

Safiya graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.  She has been working with Chen Moore and Associates for over 15 years and is now a partner.  Her current position as senior engineer and project manager includes designing and managing projects ranging from large utility improvement projects to roundabouts.  She is a graduate of Leadership Broward and Florida Engineering Leadership Institute and was the Florida Engineering Society’s Broward Chapter President from 2010 - 2012.  She is in the current Leadership Florida Connect Class VIII.  Safiya is also a mentor for the Women of Tomorrow mentoring program for young women.

Safiya has as two-year-old daughter named Nyla and a five-year-old son named Malakhi with her husband Mark.  She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach and reading a good book. 

Mahogany Newell

Mahogany B. Newell, Area Manager-Distribution, Florida Power and Light

Mahogany B. Newell is the Distribution Area Manager of the Central Broward management area at Florida Power and Light.  She joined FPL in 2002 and has worked there for 15 years.  She has held various roles at FPL and NextEra Energy Resources, including Operations Lead - NEER, Operations Specialist – PGD, Technical Services Transformer Principle Engineer, and Protection & Controls Engineer. Mahogany holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Florida State University.  She has a passion for STEM, loves mentoring young girls and women, as well as providing service to her community.

 Jennifer Dyni

Jennifer Dyni, Software Engineering Manager, Ultimate Software


Jennifer Dyni started her engineering career in web development, and has been programming computers since the days of the original Oregon Trail. Currently an Agile Coach and Engineering Team Owner with Ultimate Software, Jennifer's background includes over 18 years of experience in diverse roles on software project teams. 


Table 2 – Product Design, Management and Services

 Gaby Antoni

Gaby Antoni, Business Analyst, Ultimate Software

Gaby has a Business degree with a major in Finance. She has been working at Ultimate for almost 2 years as a Business Analyst. She is an advocate for a new process called LightStarters where she encourages all teams to follow a design methodology when working on a new project.

Before Ultimate, Gaby worked for a strategy consulting company for almost 5 years. Gaby and her husband have a beautiful baby boy named Mateo.

 My Le Foley

My Le Foley – Sr. User Experience Designer, Ultimate Software

My Le is a User Experience Professional with over 18 years of experience in interactive web and application design.  She has been in the technology sector her entire career.  She started in the mortgage industry, but quickly jumped to consulting for a tech firm which allowed her to gain broad knowledge across many industries: restaurants, cruise, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.  She is a mom to a teenage boy and girl that keep her busy running around to debate competitions and sporting events.Melanie Erwin

Melanie Erwin, Director - Customer Resolution, Ultimate Software

Melanie is Director, Development Customer Experience, at Ultimate Software in Atlanta, where she is responsible for improving customers’ experience by conveying the impact of our product on customer experience to the product development teams. Melanie is an innovative thought leader responsible for managing complex change within the organization. She is very passionate about leadership and ensuring people have the tools and support they need to be the best leaders possible. In 2015, she received the Outstanding Leadership Award. Prior to moving to Development in 2014, Melanie served as a senior leader in the Customer Success organization, where she led initiatives to improve retention and customer satisfaction.

Before joining Ultimate in 2012, Melanie took a sabbatical to care for her second child, who was born with special needs. She worked at Oracle/PeopleSoft and another consulting firm and served as a leader and had technical roles, including a DBA and programmer.

Melanie lives in Atlanta and enjoys spending time with her two daughters and husband.  She has a passion for tennis and plays competitively whenever she can. She is actively involved with the National Charity League, where she and her daughters volunteer with various service organizations.


Table 3 –Cloud Technology and Security

Amanda Ahringer

Amanda Ahringer, Threat & Vulnerability, Ethical Hacker, Ultimate Software


Amanda Ahringer has been working in the Global Security organization of Ultimate Software for about three years. She is passionate about helping people unlock their full potential so that they can live fulfilled lives and make this world a better place. Access to quality academic programs and impactful mentors transformed her life in a way that she is grateful for every day. She wants to help give this same gift back to others! She holds a Master’s Certificate in Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking from the SANs Technology Institute. Her B.S. is in Network and Communication Management. Amanda was a Security Engineer at Akamai Technologies for three years before she moved to Ultimate. She loves to read and practice yoga, meditation, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

 Yasmary Diaz

Yasmary Diaz, Cloud Solutions Architect, Ultimate Software

Yasmary was born and raised in Miami. She is a  proud mother to a beautiful baby boy named Mario Antonio (Super Mario) and a 2.14 lb fur baby named Minnie.

She fell in love with computers at age 9 and has been programming since the 7th grade. She went to school at Florida International University (FIU) where she got her Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science. After FIU, she worked as a technical consultant for IBM Websphere division for 5 years and then joined the Ulti family in 2011.  During her spare time she enjoys brewing beer and binging on Netflix.

 Molly Berg

Molly Berg, Software Engineer Cloud Solutions, Ultimate Software

Molly is passionate about creating high-quality software for her team’s customers. Before starting with the company 2 years ago, she graduated with a degree in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology where she quickly gained a love of coding and problem solving. She is also currently pursuing her master’s degree in Machine Learning from Georgia Tech. Molly has worked in many different areas as a software engineer including web applications and cloud technology. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Montra Ellis

Montra Ellis, Senior Director, Product Innovation, Ultimate Software

Montra Ellis is the Senior Director of Innovation Strategy at Ultimate Software.   Montra and her team are responsible for Ultimate’s Innovation strategy and looking forward for impactful product, industry and technology trends.

She’s been in the Technology industry for almost 20 years, which has allowed Montra the opportunity to be exposed to a significant number of client verticals in varying degrees.  The experiences from those years span from managing worldwide DSP distribution for Texas Instruments to being a road warrior for a boutique Agile Software consultancy before landing at Ultimate Software.

Montra has spoken at various conferences including SXSW and Grace Hopper on many topics such as PO roles in the Agile world, panels focused on “frugal” innovation in Africa and women’s roles and success in Technology.

Bindu Adai Mathew

Bindu Mathew, Business Analyst, Ultimate Software

Bindu Adai Mathew was born in India and immigrated to the US when she was 4 1/2 years old. In search of a better life in the United States, her parents still enforced many of the traditional rules that went along with their Indian culture. From the pressures of becoming a doctor to having an arranged marriage, Bindu battled many cultural expectations. She later channeled her experiences into a novel, “The Chrysalis” and somehow ended up in the software industry. She is now not only gainfully employed but also a mother to a rambunctious, sweet second grader. She is happy to add, that for now, her parents have not yet disowned her.

 Monika Struga

Monika Struga, Business Analyst, Ultimate Software

Monika Struga was born and raised in Tirana, Albania. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Tirana before moving to the United States in 1997. After moving to the US, Monika completed her Graduate studies and earned an MBA in International Business from Florida Metropolitan University. Monika has worked for over 12 years in the Financial Services Industry. She held several positions (including a Business Analyst position) while working for T. Rowe Price Investments in Tampa, FL. She later worked as a Project Consultant for Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, FL.  Monika relocated to South Florida two years ago and has been working for Ultimate Software as a Business Analyst since November 2016.

 Marta Guerra

Marta Guerra, Manager of User Experience, Ultimate Software

Marta moved to the US in 2006 and learned English using Google at work.

When she moved from Brazil to California in 2006 she dived into everything from working as an Extra in Hollywood movies to working as a housekeeper in a mansion in Beverly Hills, and she always kept a positive attitude and performed her roles with love, as Marta sees every job opportunity as a learning experience to the next one. After she obtained her green card, she was able to go back to the job market as a Designer where she could truly utilize her passion and creativity.  Marta is a true entrepreneur and has founded a couple of tech businesses both in Brazil and here in the USA. She has also held creative tech roles in other major organizations such as Citrix, Omnicom Media Group and many more. Her formal education is as diverse as her professional background. She holds a BS in Urban Design and Architecture from University of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU, in Sao Paulo, Brazil), as well as a MBA in Marketing from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Recife, Brazil).  In the USA, she has completed Harvard Extension School for Innovation & strategy and University of California’s certificate of Marketing and Sales.

 Andie Heffernan

MODERATOR: Andie Heffernan, Business Analysis Manager, Ultimate Software


Andie Heffernan was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the US at 3-years old after the fall of Saigon. She is a Manager of Business Analysis at Ultimate Software and holds degrees in Computer Science and Criminal Justice. She began her career as a software engineer back when Cobol was cool and Mainframe was all the rage. She eventually transitioned to Business Analysis combining her loves of technology and business. She is passionate about mentoring winning teams to define solutions that allow customers to achieve a high level of engagement with their people. Andie and her husband have 2 boys, ages 9 and 7. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, CrossFit, creative projects and new adventures.

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