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

Tag: graduate professional studies

Rabb School 2019 commencement ceremony celebrates commitment to having it all

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies awarded diplomas to 117 Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) students at its 2019 commencement ceremony this morning. Approximately one-third of the graduating class attended the event, which took place from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Faculty Club on campus.

One of four schools at Brandeis University, the Rabb School is dedicated to developing innovative ways to deliver a Brandeis education to non-traditional communities. The GPS students graduating today have earned their masters of science degrees fully online, often while holding down full-time jobs and balancing other professional and personal obligations.

“You embody the larger mission of Brandeis, which is distinguished by academic excellence and the pursuit of truth and knowledge,” said Karen Muncaster, Vice President of the Rabb School, in her opening address. “The entire University community has great respect for what you have accomplished and how you have done it.”

Keishalee Shaw, a graduate of the Strategic Analytics program and this year’s student speaker, encouraged 2019 graduates to embrace life’s curveballs.

“Today we celebrate our success … and remind ourselves that our desire to learn was and will always be greater than any obstacle we have faced along this journey or will face in the future,” said Shaw.

Commencement speaker Michael Figueroa, president and executive director of the Advanced Cyber Security Center, challenged the graduating class to consider the value their advanced degrees can bring to situations beyond individual professional accomplishments.

“Go ahead, dream big,” Figueroa said. “Perhaps your dream is about literacy, providing people with the education they need to overcome poverty. Or, perhaps you’re concerned about global health, preventing the spread of virulent diseases and providing basic healthcare services to underprivileged peoples. Maybe climate change drives you. Whatever it is, hold on to it.You have already invested in your degree. Now, put that investment to good use.”

The full breakdown of diplomas awarded this morning is as follows:

  • Master of Software Engineering (11 graduates)
  • MS in Bioinformatics (7 graduates)
  • MS in Digital Marketing and Design (8 graduates)
  • MS in Health and Medical Informatics (12 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security (6 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security Leadership (2 graduates)
  • MS in Information Technology Management (5 graduates)
  • MS in Instructional Design & Technology (6 graduates)
  • MS in Project and Program Management (31 graduates)
  • MS in Technology Management ( 2 graduates)
  • MS in Strategic Analytics (26 graduates)
  • MS in User-Centered Design (1 graduate)

View a recording of the commencement ceremony here. Congratulations to our graduates!

Countdown to Commencement: Congratulations to the class of 2017!

On Sunday, May 21, at The Faculty Club at Brandeis University, The Rabb School of Continuing Studies will award diplomas to 112 Brandeis GPS students at its 2017 commencement ceremony. We are so excited that 44 members of the graduating class are expected to join us for the on-campus ceremony. We can’t wait to celebrate the achievements of all of our graduates!

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Analytics and tech dominate 2017 top jobs list

If you’re a data scientist, you’re lucky enough to possess what Glassdoor calls the best job of 2017.

The online recruiting site released its annual top jobs list earlier this week, and it’s no surprise that data analytics dominated the majority of the positions in the top 10.

“We suddenly have a new and abundant resource that previously didn’t exist on such a scale: data — big data,” said Ellen Murphy, director of program development at Brandeis University’s division of Graduate Professional Studies (GPS). “Individuals with the skills and knowledge on how to mine this resource, refine this resource and use it strategically, are what industries are demanding. The need for data specialists will only continue to grow and expand.”

According to EAB, Glassdoor researchers examined user data and member profiles and assigned job ratings based on three primary criteria: median annual base salaries, overall job satisfaction and the number of openings for each position. Here’s Glassdoor’s top 10 jobs with median base salary and job score:

  1. Data Scientist, $110,000, 4.8/5
  2. DevOps Engineer, $110,000, 4.7/5
  3. Data Engineer, $106,000, 4.7/5
  4. Tax Manager, $110,000, 4.7/5
  5. Analytics Manager, $112,000, 4.6/5
  6. HR Manager, $85,000, 4.6/5
  7. Database Administrator, $93,000, 4.5/5
  8. Strategy Manager, $130,000, 4.5/5
  9. UX Designer, $92,500, 4.4/5
  10. Solutions Architect, $125,000, 4.4/5

View Glassdoor’s full list of the 50 best jobs in America here.

Meet our newest student advisor

Faces of GPS | Q&A with Erin Flood

As we prepare to kick off the fall 2016 term, we’re excited to introduce you to one of the newer faces of GPS. Erin Flood, a GPS student advisor, joined us in July, and we are thrilled to have someone so dedicated and passionate about her work on our team.

Graduate Professional Studies: Welcome, Erin! Let’s start with an easy question — where are you from?

Erin Flood: I grew up in a small town in rural upstate New York, about an hour north of Syracuse.

GPS: What drew you to higher education?

EF: I’m passionate about learning for learning’s sake, and I also view educational access and success as an important social justice issue. In college, I studied psychology and religion. I was interested in how people behave and make decisions. While I was an undergrad and even in high school, I had always worked in education-related fields. My first job out of college was advising and preparing high school students from Dorchester, Mass, for college. I really enjoyed working with my students and ended up staying in touch with a lot of them throughout their college experience. I was really disappointed to hear about the lack of support many of them faced once they got to college. They didn’t always have someone they could turn to, specifically in terms of academic and career advising, since they didn’t necessarily know how to navigate higher ed, or what they wanted to do after graduation. This cemented my interest in advising even more. Between college and grad school, I worked for a few different universities and education-related non-profits, and then I went to grad school for an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology. I like working directly with students, and being at GPS in this role has offered me that opportunity.

Erin with two of her proud Dorchester Academy graduates (Karlos and Iyana, Class of 2011)

Erin with two of her proud Dorchester Academy graduates (Karlos and Iyana, Class of 2011)

GPS: Did you come straight out of your master’s program to Brandeis GPS?

EF: No, I worked at a community college in a rural area in Massachusetts immediately before joining GPS. Prior to that I was doing research, but I missed direct service and decided to go back to advising.

GPS: What are you most looking forward to here?

EF: Hands down getting to know my students. I can’t wait to learn more about what they’re excited about, what they’re learning at GPS, what their plans are. I’m looking forward to being useful to them. In advising, your students’ goals become your goals, so I’m excited to find out my students’ goals and, by extension, my own.

GPS: What is one thing you want your students to know about you?

EF: That I’m so excited to be here! That I genuinely care about my students and what they’re doing. I am open to helping them in any way I can. To my students: if you think of something that you want me to do, or if you have a question about something but you’re not really sure if that’s my job, reach out!

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

Countdown to Commencement: Congratulations to the class of 2016!

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies will award diplomas to nearly 100 GPS students at its 2016 commencement ceremony this Sunday, May 22. Approximately half of the graduating class is expected to attend the event, which will take place on campus from 8 to 9:30 a.m. EDT at the Faculty Club.

Given the online nature of GPS programs, many graduates are arriving from out-of-state and will be visiting the Brandeis campus for the first time. Some students are traveling as far as Israel, Canada and throughout the U.S., including Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Utah and Illinois. The university will stream the ceremony for those who cannot attend here.

The ceremony will feature remarks from Christopher Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and Jay Caplan, a May graduate from the Master of Science in Strategic Analytics program. Caplan and his Strategic Analytics cohort are the first group of graduates from that program, which launched in the fall of 2014.commencement-photos2

Diplomas will be handed out from the following areas:

  • Master of Software Engineering (17 graduates)
  • MS in Bioinformatics (6 graduates)
  • MS in Health and Medical Informatics (12 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security Leadership (12 graduates)
  • MS in Technology Management (13 graduates)
  • MS in Project and Program Management (22 graduates)
  • MS in Strategic Analytics (11 graduates)
  • MS in Virtual Management (1 graduate)
  • Graduate Certificate in Project and Program Management (1)

Congratulations to our graduates!

Mission Accomplished

Gary Smith is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Information Technology Management program at Brandeis GPS. He is currently a Manager Symm Software Customer Service at EMC Corporation.

“Having recently graduatedgary1 from Brandeis GPS with my Master’s in Information Technology Management, I can confidently say that GPS helped me to achieve the goals and objectives I had when beginning this program. I have always enjoyed managing and coaching, and coming into Brandeis GPS I had hoped that a Master of Science in Information Technology Management would help me to progress my IT management career at Egary2MC.

I have learned a great deal about leading and managing in the IT world. My courses at GPS taught me differing perspectives on IT management, operational and organizational strategies, project management methodologies, and managing in a virtual worldwide environment. Classes like “Negotiating and Conflict Resolution” have improved my ability to negotiate with customers, management, and employees, all of gary3which have been very useful to my profession.

The courses I have taken at Brandeis GPS have helped me to communicate technical issues through various mediums both internally at my office  and to our customers and partners. I now have a wider viewpoint of the IT industry outside of my current employer’s perspective. Through Brandeis GPS I have become a more effective, ethical leader and have added valuable skills to my repertoire.”

 

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From Registered Nurse to Informatics Analyst

Theresa Harrigan is a graduate from Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics. She is currently an Informatics Business Analyst for EPIC implementation at Massachusetts General Hospital.

I am atheresa blog photo registered nurse and have worked in health care for more than two decades. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would be furthering my education, I would likely have said no.  My family and professional life was simply too demanding and I could not imagine myself finding the time to attend classes.  Fast forward a few years and you will find me celebrating the completion of my master’s degree from Brandeis in Health and Medical Informatics.   The online-learning program at Brandeis provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge and understanding of health care relative to the application of technology solutions and opened new doors for me. I was able connect with and learn from experienced leaders in the industry in the industry as well as with other students from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and from all over the world. While a student at Brandeis, I discovered new opportunities and pathways for professional growth that I never realized existed.

My professional work continues to evolve and I have become involved in promoting technology solutions as an informatics analyst  aMedizint Massachusetts General Hospital. My mission is to simplify health care for both providers and patients.  Because of my educational experience and the knowledge gained, I believe I will be able to make a direct contribution to improving patient care outcomes and the delivery of health care.

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Fuzzy Math: The Security Risk Model That’s Actually About Risk

By: Derek Brink

Reblogged from: https://blogs.rsa.com/fuzzy-math-security-risk-model-thats-actually-risk/

Sharpen your number two pencils everyone and use the following estimates to build a simple risk model:

  • Average number of incidents: 12.5 incidents per month (each incident affects 1 user)
  • Average loss of productivity: 3.0 hours per incident
  • Average fully loaded cost per user: $72 per hour

Based on this information, what can your risk model tell me about the security risk?

My guess is that your initial answer is something along the lines of “the average business impact is $2,700 per month,” which you obtained by the following calculation:

12.5 incidents/month * 3.0 hours/incident * $72/hour = $2,700/month

But in fact, this tells us almost nothing about the risk—remember that risk is defined as the likelihood of the incident, as well as the magnitude of the resulting business impact. If internet-security1we aren’t talking about probabilities and magnitudes, we aren’t talking about risks! (We can’t even say that 50% of the time the business impact will be greater than $2,700, and 50% of the time it will be less—that would be the median, not the mean or average. Even if we could, how useful would that really be to the decision maker?)

Let’s stay with this simplistic example, and say that your subject matter experts actually provided you with the following estimates:

  • Number of incidents: between 11 and 14 per month
  • Loss of productivity: between 1 and 5 hours per incident
  • Fully loaded cost per user: between $24 and $120 per hour

This is much more realistic. As we have discussed in “What Are Security Professionals Afraid Of?,” the values we have to work with are generally not certain. If we knew with certainty what was going to happen and how big an impact it would have, it wouldn’t be a risk!

Based on these estimates, what would your risk model look like now?

For many of us, our first instinct would be to use the average for each of the three ranges to compute an “expected value”, which is of course exactly the result that we got before.

Some of us might try to be more ambitious, and compute an “expected case,” a “low case,” riskand a “high case”—by using the average and the two extremes of the three ranges:

  • Expected case = 12.5 * 3.0 * $72 = $2,700/month
  • Low case = 11 * 1.0 * $24 = $260/month
  • High case = 14 * 5.0 * $120 = $8,400/month

It would be tempting to say that the business impact could be “as low as $260/month or as high as $8,400/month, with an expected value of $2,700/month.” But again, this does not tell us about risk. What is the probability of the low case, or the high case? What is the likelihood that the business impact will be more than $3,000 per month, which happens to be our decision-maker’s appetite for risk?

Further, we would be ignoring the fact that the three ranges in our simple risk model actually move independently—i.e., it isn’t logical to assume that fewer incidents will always be of shorter duration and lower hourly cost, or the converse.

Unfortunately, this is the point at which so many security professionals throw up their hands at the difficulty of measuring security risks and either fall back into the trap of techie-talk or gravitate towards qualitative 5×5 “risk maps.”

The solution to this problem is to apply a proven, widely used approach to risk modeling called Monte Carlo simulation. In a nutshell, we can carry out the computations for many (say, a thousand, or ten thousand) scenarios, each of which uses a random value from our estimated ranges. The results of these computations are likewise not a single, static number; the output is also a range and distribution, from which we can readily describe both probabilities and magnitudes—exactly what we are looking for!

Staying with our same simplistic example, we can use those estimates provided by our subject matter experts plus the selection of a logical distribution for each range. Here are my choices:

  • Number of incidents: Between 11 and 14 incidents per month—I will use a uniform distribution, meaning that any value between 11 and 14 is equally likely.
  • Loss of productivity: Between 1 and 5 hours per incident—I will use a normal distribution (the familiar bell-shaped curve), meaning that the values are most likely to be around the midpoint of the range.
  • Fully loaded cost per user: Between $24 and $120 per hour—I will use a triangular distribution, to reflect the fact that the majority of users are at the lower end of the pay scale, while still accommodating the fact that incidents will sometimes happen to the most highly paid individuals.

The following graphic provides a visual representation of the three approaches.

Based on a Monte Carlo simulation with one thousand iterations—performed by using program-hero-infosec1standard functions available in an Excel spreadsheet—we can advise our business decision makers with the following risk-based statements:

  • There is a 90% chance that the business impact will be between $500 and $4,500 per month.
  • There is an 80% likelihood that the business impact will be greater than $1,000 per month.
  • The mean (average) business impact is about $2,100 per month—note how this is significantly lower than the $2,700 figure computed earlier; the difference is in the use of the asymmetrical triangular distribution for one of the variables.
  • There is a 20% likelihood that the business impact will be greater than $3,000 per month.

If warranted, we can try to reduce the uncertainty of this analysis even further by improving the estimates in our risk model. (There will be more to come, in upcoming blogs, on that.)

What to do, of course, depends entirely on each organization’s appetite for risk. But as security professionals, we will have done our jobs, in a way that’s actually useful to the business decision maker.

About the Author:

BA8D94F2924E634831C8CA3D8E7179C7477BBC1Derek E. Brink, CISSP is a Vice President and Research Fellow covering topics in IT Security and IT GRC for Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company. He is also a adjunct faculty with Brandeis University, Graduate Professional Studies teaching courses in our Information Security Program. For more blog posts by Derek, please see http://blogs.aberdeen.com/category/it-security/  and http://aberdeen.com/_aberdeen/it-security/ITSA/practice.aspx

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