The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Category: GPS News (page 1 of 20)

Student Spotlight on William J. Hiraldo

Meet this week’s student spotlight – William J. Hiraldo!

William is from Orlando, Florida and is a candidate for a MS in Strategic Analytics. He currently works as a Workday ERP Consultant at Huron Consulting Group, and his professional goals are to “become a Chief Financial Officer for a major corporation”.

Fun facts about William

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Movie Theaters

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Caramel Pecan

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I would go shopping

 

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William thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.

Student Spotlight on Anthony Nguyen

Meet this week’s student spotlight – Anthony Nguyen!

Anthony is from Orange, California and is a candidate for a MS in Health Informatics. He currently works as a Senior Clinical Learning and Performance Consultant at BD, and his professional goals are to “help to grow and effectively use pharmacy automation across the country”.

Fun facts about Anthony

Movie theater or Netflix?

  • Netflix, but I gotta have my movie theater popcorn!

Favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Cookies and Cream

If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour?

  • I’d make sure that I always make it to the gym. No excuses now that there’s an extra hour!

 

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Anthony thrived at Brandeis GPS – and so will you! Learn more today about your area of interest, admissions and registration deadlines, and upcoming events.

Fall Semester Update

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Brandeis University has announced a comprehensive plan to safely reopen campus for the fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force, which included faculty, staff, and students, consulted with local, state, and national public health and medical experts to develop this plan for the university’s fall semester. Below we have highlighted important plan information that is of particular interest for our students here at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

Available Facilities

While all Brandeis GPS classes are online, there are facilities available to our students on the Brandeis University campus. These include the library, gym, and mailroom, among many others. While these are available to the Brandeis community, there are strict health and safety measures that are required for all of those who enter campus. Access to these facilities are subject to change, and we will keep our students updated as the semester progresses.

Health and Safety Measures

Based upon public health best practices and accommodations for individual community-member needs, the university is implementing the following policies and procedures to create an on-campus environment that is as safe as possible:

High Frequency, Universal Testing: Brandeis will provide high-frequency, mandatory COVID-19 testing to all on-campus community members.There will also be mandatory testing multiple times per month for all students, faculty, and staff who either live on campus or who come to campus several times per week, regardless of symptoms. This will enable us to quickly identify and contain any instances of infection on our campus.

Public Health Protocols: The university will institute a suite of public health measures, including symptom monitoring, mandatory face masks/coverings indoors and outdoors, public hand-sanitizing stations, and mandatory physical distancing. We will also ask all individuals who return to campus to sign a community commitment to follow such protocols.

Cleaning Enhancements and Building Modifications: The university is also taking actions, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and changes to foot-traffic flow through buildings and on-campus pathways, to ensure that all campus spaces and buildings support the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just a few of the many health and safety measures that are being implemented across campus.

Resources

For more information regarding the reopening of Brandeis this fall semester, please visit the following links:

Letter from the President

Campus Health and Safety Measures

Fall 2020 Plans Webpage

COVID-19 Task Force Report

Open source micro-courses that provide the foundation you need to give back to the community

One of the biggest benefits of this partnership is that while the OSI ensures access to open source technology leaders who design and facilitate each course, Brandeis University provides years of experience ensuring that the courses are designed to their standards and that each facilitator is prepared as a teacher as well as an OSS expert. – Ken Udas, program chair of the Open Source Technology Management program

The online Open Source Technology Management program at Brandeis is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the OSS community through content that is founded in the principles of software freedom and collaborative development. The program, a partnership between Brandeis University and the Open Source Initiative (OSI), provides the foundation for open source professionals to expand their skills and give back to the open source community and beyond.

Watch Ken Udas, program chair, explain why the OSI/Brandeis partnership is unique and how professionals benefit from the micro-courses experience.

As program chair, Ken oversees course content and helps ensure that the courses and program remain relevant. He has served in a variety of teaching and management roles at a number of esteemed universities. Ken is also the co-founder of the Educause Constituency Group on Openness and the Jasig 2-3-98 project that are focused on the emergence and adoption of open and agile practices, policies, and initiatives.

When you sign up for one of the program’s offerings, which consists of micro-courses, digital badges, a certificate, or graduate credit, you’ll benefit from Ken’s expertise as well as from leading experts in the field. You will also receive top-notch instruction from known leaders in the open source industry. In addition, you’ll engage with a curriculum that has been influenced and shaped by instrumental advisory board members. Ultimately, the micro-courses and program provide a rewarding experience as you meet, collaborate with, and learn from fellow open source professionals who will impact how you decide to give back to your community.

Join Ken in a live chat on Thursday, June 18 at 12 p.m. EST.  He will be available to answer questions pertaining to the upcoming micro-course, Cultivate an Open Source Community (starts July 6), and the other program offerings. Please register for this free online chat.

UPDATE (6/25/20): Join Ken for another live chat on Monday, June 29 at 12 p.m. EST.  Again, he will be available to answer questions pertaining to the upcoming micro-course, Cultivate an Open Source Community (starts July 6), and the other program offerings. Please register for this free online chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandeis GPS Class of 2020 celebrates graduation virtually

“Over the past 70 years, the university has remained committed to providing access to competent and curious students from all walks of life, including those who could not give up their careers and families and come to campus full time.” – Dr. Lynne Rosansky, Interim Vice President for the Rabb School of Continuing Studies, in her opening address.

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies honored 111 Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) graduates with a virtual celebration on May 26, 2020. Student speaker, Charlie D’Angelo, a graduate of the MS in Digital Marketing and Design program, addressed the Class of 2020, along with guest speaker, Sarah McEneaney, Partner and Digital Talent Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In her opening address, Rosansky congratulated graduates on their hard work and dedication during their master’s degree programs. “It’s a great accomplishment, and you should be very proud of your success,” said Rosansky.

She went on to add, “I would like to note that for most of you who have reached this milestone, you have not done so without support and encouragement of others. So, for family and friends who have stood by you over the years of your graduate studies, here’s a tribute to them.” She looks forward to when the community can come together in-person to celebrate and greet graduates, their family, and friends.

Rosansky honored Project and Program Management instructor Nadeem Malik as the recipient of this year’s Rabb School Outstanding Teacher Award. “Nadeem has a reputation for going above and beyond for students and for being responsive to the changing needs of the PPM program,” she said.

Dedicated instructors, such as Malik, shape the learning experience for GPS students. D’Angelo talked about the various benefits of studying at Brandeis GPS, including his appreciation for the faculty.

“I can honestly say every class I took I applied what I learned, and often immediately at my job; and the knowledge has helped me immeasurably to succeed.”

The direct correlation between D’Angelo’s coursework and his job, his insightful classmates, and learning from outstanding faculty, provided opportunities for him to excel in his professional life.

D’Angelo went on to encourage his fellow classmates to be lifelong learners: “Don’t lose your curiosity for learning.”

Similarly, McEneaney stressed the importance of continuing to learn. “A continuous learning mindset removes barriers and perceived constraints from where your potential and opportunities overlap. And, developing varied approaches to problem-solving and gathering rich experiences, those are the capabilities that make you unstoppable.”

“Each of you can be a force in leveling the opportunity field for so many others,” McEneaney informed graduates, “by helping out others who don’t look like us; who don’t think like us. Those that don’t have natural connections or relationships opening doors for them.”

“The most successful and effective leaders in the future are the inclusive ones,” said McEneaney.

Graduates’ names were read by the chairs of each program. The full breakdown of diplomas awarded is as follows:

  • MS in Bioinformatics (8 graduates)
  • MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech (1 graduate)
  • MS in Digital Marketing and Design (10 graduates)
  • MS in Health and Medical Informatics (16 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security (2 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security Leadership (3 graduates)
  • MS in Information Technology Management (3 graduates)
  • MS in Instructional Design and Technology (1 graduate)
  • MS in Project and Program Management (30 graduates)
  • Master of Software Engineering (8 graduates)
  • MS in Strategic Analytics (17 graduates)
  • MS in Technology Management (6 graduates)
  • MS in User-Centered Design (6 graduates)

You can view our virtual graduate celebration until June 8, 2020. Congratulations to our graduates!

Why a micro-course on open source communities can strengthen your collaborative skills

Technology and collaboration have gone hand-in-hand in breaking down the barriers of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Professionals in all industries are utilizing innovative technology as a way to collaborate remotely. In fact, organizations have started leveraging open source software to foster innovation and efficiencies. Employers need talent well-versed in the dedicated policies and programs required to ensure that the investments in open source projects produce the desired benefits while still aligning with the values of the open source communities.

Cultivate an Open Source Community, a micro-course offered by Brandeis University and the Open Source Initiative, starts June 1, 2020. Registration is currently open. Through this four-week survey course, you will explore the array of active open source communities to distill patterns and best practices. You’ll discover the reasons that people join communities; compare how collaboration tools influence how communities achieve their goals; and, define management and governance structures for communities. Coursework prepares you to identify and join projects that you’re interested in, select projects for your company, and improve projects that you rely on as either an individual or a company.

What can you expect to do on a weekly basis?

  • Work with a small team on a project to identify patterns and best practices in open source communities.
  • Attend a live virtual hour-long interactive lecture with the instructor.
  • Watch interviews with open source experts and leaders recorded specifically for this course.
  • Use open source collaboration tools to talk with other course participants and build your network.
  • Receive guidance and feedback from the expert course instructor on your team project and on open source communities

About the Instructor

Georg Link, PhD is an Open Source Strategist. He co-founded the Linux Foundation CHAOSS Project to advance analytics and metrics for open source project health. Georg has 15 years of experience as an active contributor to several open source projects and has presented on open source topics at 20+ conferences. As the Director of Sales at Bitergia, Georg helps organizations and communities with adopting CHAOSS metrics and technology.

Brandeis University and the Open Source Initiative offer other micro-courses, digital badges, and a certificate program in Open Source Technology Management. If you have any questions about registering for the Cultivate an Open Source Community, contact Christie Barone at cbarone@brandeis.edu.

Bioinformatics and COVID-19 therapeutics

By Alan Cheng

Unprecedented. It describes the current pandemic and its terrible human and economic impact. It also describes the speed and pace of scientific work unraveling the novel virus and enabling drug discovery efforts. That speed and pace is driven in no small part by recent bioinformatics advances.

The first global alert of a novel virus causing severe cases of pneumonia came in late December 2019. Just a couple weeks later, the first genome sequence of this novel virus was completed, enabling scientists to use bioinformatics to identify the novel virus as a beta-coronavirus, and a relative of the SARS and MERS viruses. A phylogenetic analysis found the novel virus most closely resembles the SARS-CoV coronavirus, leading to the official naming of the virus as SARS-CoV-2.

Naming the virus is one thing. Using bioinformatics approaches again, the proteins produced by the virus were identified, and subsequently made and characterized using experimental molecular biology techniques. The close homology of the SARS-CoV-2 proteins to those from SARS-CoV enabled us to transfer the learnings about SARS over the last 15+ years to help us understand SARS-CoV-2 and accelerate vaccine and drug discovery efforts around the world. Homology modeling allows us to rapidly build approximate 3D structures of the proteins and help suggest existing experimental drugs that were quickly put into clinical trials for combatting SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and replication. Experimental molecular biology and protein structure work, while more time and resource-intensive, has led to more accurate atomic resolution 3D structures of key SARS-Cov-2 proteins, including the spike protein, RNA polymerase, and main protease. This molecular understanding allows scientists at biopharmaceutical and academic institutions to efficiently begin to identify molecules that are not only efficacious in stopping viral expansion but also selective enough to be safe while not being too selective that viruses can easily mutate away from drug binding. All of this happened within two months of the genome sequence, with many efforts, especially in drug discovery, ongoing.

There is still a lot unknown about medical aspects of the disease itself, and how SARS-CoV2 interacts with and affects human host biology. Using proteomics approaches, scientists are identifying human host interactions with the viral proteins. Using genomics and statistical genetics approaches, scientists are analyzing how each of our unique genetic compositions and health situations affects disease progression, which will impact how we can most effectively treat patients. Longer term, the unprecedented speed enabled in no small part by bioinformatics will be important in preventing and treating future epidemics as well.

Developing your bioinformatics skillsets. The importance of bioinformatics in improving human health is growing. For current and prospective Brandeis students, here is how your coursework relates to the approaches being discussed.

  • Foundational bioinformatics analysis
    RBIF 101: Bioinformatics Scripting and Databases with Python
    RBIF 111: Biomedical Statistics with R
  • Genomics analysis of viruses and host response
    RBIF 109: Biological Sequence Analysis
  • Protein homology modeling and structural bioinformatics
    RBIF 101: Structural Bioinformatics
  • Understanding disease biology
    RBIF 102: Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Disease
  • Proteomics and expression profiling
    RBIF 114: Molecular Profiling and Biomarker Discovery
    RBIF 112: Mathematical Modeling for Bioinformatics
  • How individual human genetics affects disease progression
    RBIF 108: Computational Systems Biology
    RBIF 115: Statistical Genetics
    RBIF 290: Special Topics: Functional Genomics
  • Drug discovery for treatments
    RBIF 106: Drug Discovery and Development
    RBIF 110: Cheminformatics

Bioinformatics resources

Dr. Alan Cheng is chair of the MS in Bioinformatics program at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies. In his day job, Alan is a Director at Merck & Co., where he leads a group applying computational and structure-based approaches towards discovery of new therapeutics. He received a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco, and undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. All opinions presented here are his own.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more about the MS in Bioinformatics, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

An open source education program that suits your availability and learning style

Brandeis University and the Open Source Initiative® (OSI) announced at OSCON 2019 that they would be partnering to provide new educational offerings for the open source community. The OSI-Brandeis partnership aims to help address the growing demand for expertise within organizations seeking to authentically collaborate with, and productively manage, open source resources.

Now, more than ever, OSI and Brandeis University understand that providing options that align with individuals’ lifestyle and learning style ensures a positive learning experience. The fully-online Open Source Technology Management program that was initially launched in January has been redesigned to empower professionals in the open source community to pursue a valuable and needs-specific professional development opportunity. In fact, there are no prerequisites for the program.

The first micro-course of the program begins on June 1, 2020. Students have the choice to select one of four learning options. Participation in the program provides the opportunity to obtain open source skills that will set open source professionals apart from their colleagues, collaborate with fellow open source community members, and have access to quality coursework that is endorsed by OSI.

Option 1
Take a single 4-week micro-course. The upcoming course that will be offered is Cultivate an Open Course Community. Other courses in the program include:

  • Integrate the Open Source Community (launches July 6, 2020)
  • Open Source Business Practices
  • Establish an Open Source Program Office
  • Open Source Workflow and Infrastructure
  • Production of Distributed Open Source Software

Option 2
Complete two micro-courses in a given topic area, and earn a digital badge in one of these three areas: The Business of Open Source, Open Source Community Development, or Open Source Development Fundamentals.

Option 3
Complete all six micro-courses, and receive a certificate in Open Source Technology Management.

Option 4
Complete a capstone assignment at the conclusion of two micro-courses, and earn 3 graduate-level credits.

True to open source software process and principles, the educational offerings coming out of the partnership are crowd-sourced and jointly developed by an advisory board comprised of university curriculum development experts and senior open source advocates from Amazon, Red Hat, Bloomberg, Twitter and other leading companies.

Sign up to receive more information about the program. Specific questions can be emailed to Kathryn Wight, Director of Partnership Engagement.

The Rise of FinTechs Partnering with Financial Institutions

By Gideon Taub

The Disruptor Era

The first few waves of FinTechs primarily pursued a direct-to-consumer strategy, disrupting the legacy Financial Institutions and dis-intermediating banks, brokerages, and credit unions. Services like Mint (founded 2006), Wealthfront (founded 2008), Venmo (founded 2009), and Robinhood (founded 2013) all had a significant impact on how their customers manage their finances and forced the incumbent financial institutions to adapt, whether it be by building their own robo-advisors, creating Zelle, and decreasing brokerage fees.

Very few ‘disruptor era’ FinTechs focused on partnering with legacy financial institutions to drive their distribution, and those that did faced uphill challenges in terms of not being embraced by banks, offering inferior user experiences due to the limitations of legacy vendors, and long, if not, impossible implementations.

Partnering with Financial Institutions as a Great Distribution Strategy

As we look across the FinTech ecosystem, we’re now seeing far more startups focus on a B2B2C business model, partnering with banks, brokerages, and credit unions to reach customers. As we look at the startups (including our company, Pinkaloo) in the recent MassChallenge FinTech cohorts in 630’s recent programs; and in other leading FinTech Accelerators, we’re seeing many consumer-facing solutions whose primary business model is partnering with financial institutions.

What’s driving that change?

  1. Financial Institutions Eager to Partner

The innovation being led by the Direct-to-Consumer FinTechs is forcing the incumbent Financial Institutions to adapt, and in many cases, partnering is the less expensive and faster path to support that.

Like in the case of the development of Zelle, we’ve seen banks come together to create their own solution, but for many others, such as better customer onboarding experiences, chat bots, and white-label Donor Advised Funds, it makes more sense to partner.

  1. The Incumbent Vendors Are Opening APIs

The leading vendors, particularly the front-end banking providers, have similarly realized that the best way to meet their clients’ needs is to open up APIs and SDKs and allow FinTechs to create beautiful solutions on top of their infrastructure. Those vendors don’t have to build every solution themselves and it makes it even harder for their clients to switch, a win for all parties.

  1. Lower Marketing and Customer Acquisition Costs

For the FinTechs, partnering offers a distribution channel with much lower marketing and customer acquisition costs. Digital advertising rates for financial services products are particularly costly, so being able to generate recurring revenue via partnering is particularly attractive.

The Downsides to Partnering

As FinTechs decide on their go-to-market strategy, they should be sure to consider the downsides to this approach. First, most financial institutions are still learning how to successfully work with FinTechs, and sales and implementation cycles can be long.

The partnership strategy also requires a more mature, enterprise-ready product. You can throw the ‘Minimum Viable Product’ mindset out the window, as financial institutions expect and need a more sophisticated product.

Lastly, be prepared for a thorough compliance and diligence review, and be ready to dedicate tech resources to working through that. For many, Pinkaloo, included, the benefit far outweighs those downsides.

Gideon Taub is the CEO of Pinkaloo Technologies. Pinkaloo helps businesses engage their customers and communities through philanthropy and helps donors manage their giving through Pinkaloo’s white-label Modern Giving accounts.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more about the MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Meet the newest GPS student advisor

Paris Mansoor, student advisorParis Mansoor, our newest student advisor, recently joined Brandeis GPS from Wellesley College, where she served as Assistant Registrar. She brings a wealth of knowledge in higher education to the role, as well as a deep commitment to supporting students.

Read below to hear more about Paris’ professional background and personal interests, as well as the best piece of advice she received as a student.

Q: What led you to becoming a student advisor at Brandeis GPS?
A: When I graduated college, my first full-time job was as a financial advisor at Boston University (BU). Getting a taste of helping students made me realize very quickly that my life passion was in higher education. I really enjoyed advising students about policies and procedures and helping them navigate the system. My love of advising and assisting students continued throughout my career with most of my time spent as an assistant registrar at BU Dental School and at Wellesley College. I wanted to be a student advisor at Brandeis because I knew the role would allow me to have more direct involvement with students in working with them from the start of their program all the way to the end.

Q:  What is the best piece of advice that you received as a student?
A: The best advice I have ever received as a student was to take a challenging project/task and break it down into smaller tasks or pieces. Map it all out and work on each different piece on a set schedule. Continue working on each piece while still keeping in mind how it all fits together. Sometimes grouping similar tasks together is best and other times working on one piece at a time from start to end is the way to go. It’s like planting seeds all over your garden, but then watering and tending to each section as needed until you have a complete garden. I still use this advice everyday in my personal life and work.

Q: What would your ideal Saturday or Sunday look like?
A: My ideal Saturday would consist of having french pastries and yummy iced coffee in the early part of the day while spending time with my husband and son on a sandy beach. In the afternoon, I would watch my 9-year-old son play town/club soccer and then close out the day with a game of Monopoly with friends and family.

Q: What’s the most important thing that you want students to know about you?
A: I absolutely love advising and helping students. I am here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out, ask questions or just simply say hello. I am looking forward to working with you and to being a part of your team to make your journey at GPS a success.

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