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DSU creates course offering internship experience

June 3, 2020

COVID-19 has impacted a variety of summer activities – from vacations to summer camps -- but also educational opportunities like summer internships. 

The Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences created a computer science experiential research course for students to take during summer 2020. 

“In mid-spring it became clear that the internship season would be impacted by the pandemic,” said Dr. Tom Halverson, professor of computer science.  While some companies and organizations were able to offer remote opportunities to students, some students still required assistance. 

“As we started hearing from students that the internship program they were pursuing had been cancelled, we decided we needed to act because internships are an integral part of our degree programs,” Halverson shared.   

“Internships allow the student to put class topics into real world practice,” he said. “They also get to explore what it is like to work in a technology career for a company organization.” 

Students will work on a project involving either software development, offensive security, defensive security, and networking areas. 

Andrew Kramer, instructor of computer science, and Tyler Flaagan, instructor of computer and cyber sciences, are managing the 11 students currently taking the class. 

 “When working with the students, Andrew and I didn’t want to select a topic for them, but instead let them try to come up with a topic in their area of interest,” Flaagan said. “My idea behind that is the work they would have done in their previously arranged internships would have been work in that same area of interest to hopefully align with their career goals.” 

Kramer shared a few of the projects students are working already working on. One student is working on a per-room climate control system using an embedding a system to read data from climate sensors and then automatically control room temperature and airflow based on time of day, season, and occupancy. 

Another student is working on a comprehensive guide to use Microsoft Azure to support business operations. “The student will spend each week learning to implement different mission critical systems in Azure and write a detailed blog post explaining the process and potential pitfalls,” Kramer explained. “At the end of the semester this will be complied into an ’Intro to Azure‘ book, with the plan of publishing under an open source license.” 

Another student is researching User Datagram Protocol (UDP) amplification denial of service (DoS) attacks. “The student will do research and review of past UDP amplification vulnerabilities, and then analyze several modern applications for similar flaws,” Kramer explained. “We’re hoping to see a formal research paper and a few novel vulnerabilities come out of this.” 

This summer offering will serve as a prototype and may continue to be offered if needed in future semesters.

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