ECPI Student Helps Build Mobile App for Teachers

ECPI University student Brad Nicholson was among a select group of students invited to participate in Dominion Enterprises’ most recent Hackathon, an intense two-day app development competition that assembles teams of software programmers, graphic designers, product developers and students to channel their creative energies into mobile applications aimed at learning.

With support from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and The Learning Registry, the event produced an array of new applications designed for schools and teachers, all of which have been made publicly available to foster ongoing development within the open-source community, DOE, and school systems nationwide. Among the 10 groups of competitors, Brad’s team – The Leftovers – created an app that National Geographic is expecting to put into immediate use as data collection and retrieval tool.

Charleston Students Create Covert Device, Demonstrate Need for Physical Security in Networked Computing

Most people are familiar with anti-virus software, but what about a threat lurking right under the desk?  Well, a group of ECPI University students in Charleston, South Carolina have demonstrated just how simple it is to create an information-stealing covert device that seems like something from a spy novel.

The students embedded a popular miniature computer called a Raspberry Pi into a typical multi-plug power strip to create a device that, once implanted into an office setting, collects data covertly for recovery by the creators.  The project required collaboration between Electronics Engineering Technology students, who completed much of the necessary hardware assembly, and Computer Information Science students, who programmed the device to carry out its task.

“Covert devices are very real and prevalent in our technological world,” said Project Manager Wesley Boothe.  “These devices can be built with common materials from the internet and deployed in an inconspicuous manner with the purpose of gaining access to internal organizational data.” Appropriately enough, they named the device “The Odysseus,” a nod to the famous myth of the Trojan horse.
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ECPI Students Participate in Dominion Enterprises Hackathon

Two ECPI University Students – Chris Meier and Doug Walters – were among eight students selected from four colleges and universities to participate in Dominion Enterprises’ (DE) Annual Hackathon. The competition is designed to challenge students to create new and innovative Facebook applications.

Hackathon participants devoted two days to building apps using technology from Facebook, Heroku and DE’s own diverse group of online brands. They worked alongside programmers, product developers, and marketing staff from DE, representing market-leading brands such as For Rent,,, Cycle Trader, Powersports Network, and The Employment Guide.

Doug Walters Team – Foxtrot Bravo – won Most Market Ready and Best in Show. They built a Facebook app called “Plan and Post” that allows you to schedule birthday wishes for friends, in case you don’t sign in on a given day to say “Happy Birthday.”

CIV Gets a Taste of Celebrity

By: Kimberly White, CIV Honors Graduate, June 2011

On a rainy, unseasonably cool Sunday in September, two Italian reality television personalities brought a little sunshine to Virginia Beach. Top Chef fan favorite, Fabio Viviani and Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice along with Culinary Institute of Virginia Chef Instructor, Dedra Blount headlined as the finale attraction during the Mediterranean Festival at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The three day event began on Friday, September 16, was a celebration of Greek and Italian cuisine, music and culture.

The show began with a flawless cooking demo by Chef Dedra Blount, who effortlessly produced a beautiful dish of Quinoa Risotto and Veal Chops over a beautiful Pear Sauce with the assistance of CIV student Jeanine McDougald. CIV Academic Director, Chef Steve Sadowski was also on hand to demonstrate the proper technique for fabricating veal chops.

Teresa Giudice, known for her somewhat explosive temper, eclectic style, feuding family, legal woes, four rambunctious daughters, and New York Times bestselling cookbooks, Skinny Italian and Fabulicious, was next to take the stage. Teresa demonstrated how to make Devil Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta which is one of the recipes featured in her most recent cookbook. As she cooked, she fielded questions from the audience. Although Teresa seemed a little uncomfortable with the actual cooking portion of the demo, she wooed the audience with her candor, vivaciousness and down-to-earth quality that seems to be sincerely who she is.

Culinary team with Fabio Viviani of Top Chef and Teresa Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey

The icing on the proverbial cake in the event was Fabio Viviani, who came to the stage amid cheers and cat calls from screaming fans. Completely comfortable and commanding on stage, Fabio had the cameraman come right up to the demo table so that every step of his presentation could be seen clearly and up close by the audience. Fabio was assisted by CIV student, Jackie Beau. As Fabio began to make his famous Potato Gnocchi dish, he regaled the audience with funny antidotes and his philosophy about cooking and how Italians use very simple, fresh ingredients. He kept the audience completely entertained and engaged while giving cooking instructions.  After producing a pillowy light Gnocchi that he then finished in vibrant roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce, he had every person in the audience come up to the stage to try one. Fabio’s hilarious stories about growing up in an Italian family were endearing and you totally felt how sincere and passionate he is about cooking and sharing his love of food with his family, friends and fans.


Let the Gaming Begin

Gaming. For some people this means Pac-Man in an arcade in their teens. For others, such as the Gaming Club at ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus, it means the opportunity to create its own role-playing game. The club set out to create “Truth Sayer,” which is set in medieval times and follows a person who is attempting to discover why the world is in ruins. Ultimately, he discovers it is because no one tells the truth, that there are no truth sayers.

It began with a group of students who had participated in a few workshops and stayed after class a few additional hours to work on the development of the game. After being self-taught in Unity, John Di Bona, now an ECPI graduate, taught his fellow students the program. Unity is a game development program, and it was because of John’s experience with the program that he is now employed at MYMIC, a high-technology business specializing in training analysis, simulation, modeling, and computer visualization solutions for the military. “Even though I’ve graduated I still participate as I want to see this thing through since I initiated the process,” said John.

There are now about 20 students who have contributed. “We want people who have a genuine desire to create a game and not just because it is in their field,” explained John of the team. “It is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun.”

“It’s been a huge learning experience with the skill set needed often exceeding our experience, but we learn as we go,” said John. The entire process will take about 12 to 18 months with the ultimate goal to sell the game for the personal computer or Macintosh.