In This Issue:
New Things Going On in This Major
Welcome to another great year in MIS. The MIS major is growing, with an increase in the number of MIS majors as well as those taking MIS as a minor. There have been some exciting new things happening. We hired Dr. Benyawarath "Yaa" Nithithanatchinnapat as an assistant professor of MIS. She will be teaching various courses, including in our graduate program. Dr. Yaa is heading up a task force researching the expansion of the major with a track in cybersecurity. She has a great deal of industry experience and is wonderful to talk with. You will learn more about Dr. Yaa in the faculty spotlight in this newsletter.
As things change in information technology and its application to the corporate world, what we learn also must change. We are continuously working with our corporate partners and industry to understand those ever-changing technologies and how they affect business. Our advisory board and our Executive-in-Residence (EIR) programs are a great way to learn more, as are events such as MIS days and the End of Year Business Showcase. Two of our EIRs are Jeremy O'Mard, managing consultant at IBM, and Steve Bugajski, CIO at U. S. Steel. The programs offered by both have been enlightening and provided great insight into industry needs and expectations of potential employees in Information Technology and beyond. Please take advantage of these events and programs. It will only benefit you.
There are some new courses being offered in the major that are of benefit to all Black School of Business students. They are MIS 250 Introduction to Problem Solving with Spreadsheet Analysis and Information Systems Management, MIS 344 Introduction to Cybersecurity, and MIS 417 Programming for Analytics. In addition, Healthcare Management Information Systems was offered this past fall as an MIS 297, and one student earned the CAHIMS (Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems) after completing the course.
As you can see, we are busy continuing to build a robust program that embraces the current issues and technologies in business, includes real-world business applications, and gives our students a quality reputation and a real competitive advantage.
All the best,
Benyawarath "Yaa" Nithithanatchinnapat, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of MIS.
She teaches MIS and World Campus MBA courses and also co-chairs the Cybersecurity Task Force.
What is an interesting research project that you have worked on?
The Study of Identity and IT Career Choice for Military Service Members and Veterans with Disability. I got to work with many people across different fields and institutions, and the research had a significant impact. It was a big project for a worthy cause that involved a large interdisciplinary team.
What is the most fun you've had in your career?
In the corporate world, I had fun learning about technologies, business strategies, company culture, and business processes. As a professor, I still love learning, but sharing what I've learned with my students is even more fun, especially shortcuts and lessons learned that aren't in the books.
What book should every MIS professional read?
Blue Ocean Shift by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne provides tools for formulating business strategies and creating new markets; they are helpful in identifying where to apply technologies. Another is Napoleon Hill's The Law of Success, about soft skills and mindset, two critical success factors hard to teach in classes.
Grace Blackford graduated from the Black School of Business in May 2021 with dual degrees in MIS and PSCM. She currently works at Erie Insurance as an Associate IT Project Manager within the company's IT Apprentice Program.
What is the most interesting/unique aspect of your job?
The most interesting aspect of my job is combining technology with project management. I lead project teams that install and upgrade complex software critical for keeping our business running. My MIS degree helps me to bridge the business side and technical side of my team.
What do you miss most about being a Behrend student?
The thing I miss most about being a Behrend student is being involved in student clubs and organizations. I also miss being so close to the Wintergreen Gorge.
What was your proudest moment at Behrend?
My proudest moment at Behrend was completing my thesis for the Schreyer Honors College. My thesis, "Analysis of Automation in the Fast Fashion Supply Chain," combined my MIS knowledge of systems with my PSCM degree to analyze a fast-adapting industry.
What came as the biggest surprise to you at your first post-Behrend job?
At my first post-Behrend job, the biggest surprise for me was how collaborative the work environment is. The ability to work well with others and communicate effectively is critical to the work environment. I work with team members regularly throughout the day to elicit feedback for different project initiatives.
Laura Gil Ortiz '22
I am a senior with a triple major in International Business, Business Economics, and MIS. During my time at Penn State Behrend, I have been part of the Student Government Association, a member of Global Boarders and Global Ambassadors, and a Resident Assistant. Right now, I am working as a part-time business and supply chain analyst for Logistics Plus.
What is one of the most interesting/unique aspects of your internship?
They give a lot of independence to work on different projects, because they know how well students at Penn State Behrend are prepared.
What's the best piece of advice you've received at Behrend?
Get involved and create networks.
What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?
How easy it was to connect with professors, faculty, and staff, and how welcoming and supportive they were when I decided to do my three majors.
The MIS Club has held a few new events this semester under new president Austin Oliver. MIS Day was February 15, and throughout the day more than eighty students attended events hosted by alumni, professionals, and professors. A week later, the MIS Club participated in a joint Black School of Business résumé help session. This featured a speaker from the Academic and Career Planning Center (ACPC) offering tips and advice on building résumés. The session was followed by a club-specific panel with professional recruiters from Logistics Plus and Erie Insurance giving tips for MIS career paths and résumés. The club is looking to host two more events this semester, including an academic scheduling help session and a mixer for students to get better acquainted with each other.