Computer Science 7th Advisory Board Meeting

most Important: CaPstone Showcase

Please help us make our students’ Virtual Capstone Showcase a special occasion by visiting the sites of their projects, and leaving a comment. Our students have worked hard to meet the demands of a senior capstone project, in difficult circumstances, and they are facing a challenging job market (although Computer Science is doing relatively well even in the COVID19 economy). It will encourage them to have your feedback, as industry leaders.

Here is the list of all the Capstone projects:


Summary of the Meeting

  1. Introduction to the Computer Science Advisory Board meeting, Chris Meissner
  2. 10min + questions: term overview and updates by Michael Soltys (see slides below)
  3. 15min + questions: update on Mechatronics by new faculty Bahareh Abbasi and Vida Vakilian (see slides below)




Computer Science 6th Advisory Board Meeting

The Computer Science 6th Advisory Board meeting on Zoom on May 18, 2020.

most Important: CaPstone Showcase

Please help us make our students’ Virtual Capstone Showcase a special occasion by visiting the sites of their projects, and leaving a comment. Our students have worked hard to meet the demands of a senior capstone project, in difficult circumstances, and they are facing a challenging job market (although Computer Science is doing relatively well even in the COVID19 economy). It will encourage them to have your feedback, as industry leaders.

Here is the list of all the Capstone projects:


Summary of the Meeting

A welcome from the chair of the board, Chris Meissner (Meissner Filtration), who asked that everyone write their names on the Zoom chat, as the meeting was brief (half an hour). We are all meeting online due to the COVID19 circumstances.

Virtual Instruction – in mid March the campus did an emergency move to finish the term through virtual instruction; some classes fit very well on line, but many, especially those that require hands on labs are more difficult to deliver virtually. Most students are coping very well, some – surprisingly few – have disengaged as a result.

This summer we need to redo the fall 2020 course planning, in a more deliberate way, to be virtual, now that we have more time to plan. It is important work but unfortunate because we need to spend summers doing research and projects – faculty are on a 9 month contract so summer is critical to stay current in our field. We are lobbying for stipends for all our instructors to be able to work in the summer on virtual delivery.

Silver lining: virtual instruction has been creeping up on everyone, and some students, especially those working (they are becoming a bigger segment of the student population) who come back to school to acquire new skills, prefer online. As instructors we prefer face-to-face in most cases. But the current emergency gave us an opportunity to prepare an online curriculum, which we might deploy in other emergencies, and more positively in a degree completion program that we are exploring. 

ABET Update: Our application for ABET Accreditation is on schedule. Prof Brian Thoms is on sabbatical (he has just been selected our new graduate director), and Reza Abdolee has been kind enough to continually remind everyone of the need to submit teaching assessments.

Further Items:

  • Eric Kaltman: building an intranet for departmental communication, and revamping our Games offering; it is great to finally have a faculty expert in game development, a topic that brings many students into Computer Science.
  • Bahareh Abbasi taught Machine Learning, and worked on Human Robot Interaction, focusing on assistive robots, and is publishing in IEEE.
  • Vida Vakilian submitted NSF grant for Machine Learning for Wireless Networking Systems, developed new labs for Mechatronics.
  • Jason Isaacs, Vida Vakilian, Bahareh Abbasi are working hard to build Mechatronics Engineering, and they are preparing for the first junior cohort in 2020/21.
  • Jason Isaacs with EMEC sophomore students participated in the DARPA subterranean challenge, and finished #6 overall and 2nd among unfunded teams. 
  • Jason Isaacs and Michael Soltys, working with Health Sciences (Sonsoles de Lacalle and Kristen Linton) and Eric Slack from Ventura Health, are helping Ventura Health with COVID19 Data Analytics (e.g., or our pandemic simulation:
  • Reza Abdolee established a “Cybersecurity and Wireless Lab”, and developed an ethical hacking course, as well as submitted NSF grants.
  • Scarlet Relle: is delivering our materials engineering class, and deploying our new furnace, tensile tester, hardness tester, microscope, grinder; all purchased with a gift from Bob and Susan Brown. Scarlet has used data from past labs to give students virtual lab assignments.
  • Scott Feister:  was awarded time on supercomputers to design numerical simulations of scientific problems. He is applying for grants to do “big data” acquisition with custom-designed scientific hardware at scientific laboratories. Scott also incorporated AWS cloud computing, machine learning, and GPU computing into COMP 262: Computer Organization & Architecture.
  • Prof AJ Bieszczad has retired, we are grateful for his contribution over last 15 years to Computer Science at CI, and for staying on for another 5 years as a FERPing faculty and helping to deliver our undergraduate curriculum.
  • Houman Dallali has not come back from his 2019-20 leave of absence.
  • Michael Soltys: teaching AWS – Cloud Architecting class with scholarships: Michael just passed the Software Developing certification, and is negotiating the 4th edition of my algorithms book. Michael has recently been selected to the AWS council, and has written 5 papers this term, two of which in cybersecurity and accepted at a conference that he is helping to put together, and 3 on cloudifying the curriculum.

Computer Science 5th Advisory Board Meeting

The fifth Computer Science Advisory board meeting took place on Monday December 9, 2019, chaired by Chris Meissner, from Meissner Filtration.

Some of the companies in attendance were the following: OmniUpdate (who gave the company profile), Booze Allen Hamilton, Naval Air Warfare Center Point Mugu, Haas Automation, Semtech, Procore Technologies, Ventura County ITSD, SAGE Publishing, File Your Taxes, Saalex Solutions, as well as other friends and supporters of the department.

Professor Scott Feister, in the picture above, gave a great talk about his research in high performance computing, and he combined deep knowledge of his field, with a plan of incorporating CI students, and fitting his work into the CI context. Scott Feister, together with Bahareh Abbasi, Reza Abdolee, Eric Kaltman and Vida Vakilian, are the five new faculty hires – which we were very proud to introduce to the board.

Chris Meissner, the chair of the board, spoke about companies supporting our capstones, and creating a synergy between R&D for IT business, work experience for CI student and research engagement for faculty.

Lance Merker and Kimberley Prieto presented the profile of Omni Update, where they spoke about a recent merger with Destiny solutions in Toronto, and the fact they have hired 25 to 30 CI alumni over the last years. They also spoke about the business of higher education, digital engagement for students, and continuing education platform.

Michael Soltys mentioned the current student numbers, and the constant growth of the department – about 10% every year. There is growth even as the times of slow enrollment are upon us — as Lance from OmniUpdate said, there is an expectation of 15% decline in college student numbers nationwide over the next two decades – and an opportunity for universities to offer classes for non-traditional students, e.g., veterans, who will be coming to take continuing education classes.

Michael Soltys presented recent initiatives in Cybersecurity, such at the October 11, 2019, HAAS/CI Cybersecurity conference and Cloud Computing, as well as a collaboration with the Navy whereby we offer modules in Python and in the future AI/Machine Learning.

Computer Science 4th Advisory Board Meeting

On May 2, 2019, we held our fourth bi-annual Computer Science Advisory Board Meeting. The meeting started with lunch at the top (3rd) floor of Broome library, and continued with a two hour set of presentations in the Handel Evans room, also at Broome.


  • 12:00 PM – Lunch, 3rd Floor of Broome Library
  • 12:50 PM – Transition to J Handel Evans (Broome Library Rm 2533) 
  • 1:00 PM – Welcome, Agenda Overview & Introductions – Chris Meissner
  • 1:15 PM – Department Overview – Michael Soltys
    • Student numbers
    • Faculty updates and hires
  • 1:30 PM – Welcome from the Dean – Vandana Kohli  
  • 1:40 PM – Student Presentation
    • Robotics – student Steven Romp
    • Beast – students Noelle Abe and Devon Trammell Soltys
    • CS Club – students Julia Maliauka and Ori Weiss
    • CS Coding club – student Michael Petracca
    • CS Girls Club – students Noelle Abe and Maria Contreras
    • CS Cybersecurity Club – student Richie Zins
  • 2:10 PM – Member profile – The Trade Desk – Zak Stengel, SVP Engineering
  • 2:30 PM – Discussion – Chris Meissner and Michael Soltys
    • How do we become a world class department?
    • How do we become a hub of expertise?
    • Examples of where we already achieve partially these goals
    • But we need help from the board to get there
  • 3:00 PM  – Transition to Capstone Showcase, Sierra Hall

presentation slides







Pictures from the Capstone Showcase.

Computer Science 3rd Advisory Board meeting

On November 29, we held our 3rd biannual Computer Science Advisory Board Meeting.

There were two parts to the meeting, a lunch with presentations by CI faculty and administration, and the Capstone Showcase, which takes place at the end of each term:

1:00-3:00 Lunch and Presentations

  1. Chris Meissner welcome & introductions
  2. Richard LeRoy, Advancement
  3. Amanda Carpenter, Career Development
  4. Jason Isaacs, Mechatronics with
 Alberto Venegas, Ethan Warner and Mark Getzinger
  5. Brian Thoms, ABET
  6. Zane Gittins, HAAS & MSCS
  7. Michael Soltys, Chair’s report

After Chris Meissner’s welcome, and introductions of all present,

Richard LeRoy on the mission of the board

Advisory Board 11.29.2018

Brian Thoms on ABET

Brian Thoms distributed a draft of the departmental ABET document, and  asked our board members to comment on our PEO (Program Educational Outcomes), which describe what we expect from our graduates 5 years after graduation (they are different for our 3 undergraduate programs: Computer Science, IT and Mechatronics). Please read the PEOs, and send your comments to Brian Thoms <>.

Presentation slides of Brian Thoms:


Jason Isaacs on Mechatronics


Zane GIttins on Cybersecurity


Michael Soltys Chair’s report


Pictures from Capstone Showcase

Computer Science 2nd Advisory Board Meeting

On May 10, 2018, the department of Computer Science, which is composed of four programs: Computer Science (CS), IT, Mechatronics and the masters program in CS (MSCS), held its second Advisory Board meeting. The first meeting took place on November 3, 2017.

The Advisory Board consists of leaders in the industry and public service in Ventura County, and its mission is to:

  • Champion the department in the community.
  • Help with placement of our students in internships and full time positions.
  • Support the curriculum.
  • Provide access to real world problems which can than be given to our students for senior capstones, projects and masters theses.
  • Form the constituents of the department, as for example required by ABET accreditation.

The meeting started with lunch at 12:30 (Handel Evans Conference Room, Broome Library Room 2533), and welcome words from Chris Meissner (Meissner filtration, and also a member of the CI Foundation Board), who outlined a vision for the board, and has kindly agreed to take the lead of a planning committee that will develop bylaws and membership. Dennis Gaiseer has also agreed to help in this effort. Chris’ remarks were followed by two faculty presentations, Profs. Brian Thoms and Houman Dallali, who briefly showcased their various research projects and how they involve CI students.

Lunch was followed by a tour of the new labs in Sierra Hall, with detailed visits in the Robotics, Embedded Systems and Networks & Security labs. At 3pm, in Sierra 1422, we held a planning meeting that started with a presentation by Michael Soltys; here are the slides:



The talk outlined the recent successes and accomplishments, e.g., starting of Mechatronics program in the fall 2018, student programming competitions, scholarly achievements (over a dozen publications arising from research in the department), as well as the rapid growth of the students majoring in Computer Science (at 400 currently, doubled in the last 3 years). We also mentioned some of the challenges, such as the leaving of several key tenure-track faculty (moving to other universities and retiring).

We also spoke about the push toward ABET accreditation, and that the Advisory Board will be key in that enterprise, as we are required to have one in order to maintain a discussion about the Program Educational Outcomes, which comprise a vision for our graduates, and which has to be examined by the constituents (i.e., Advisory Board) of the department. The department has a working document for its implementation of an ABET assessment program:

Following that, Ritchie LeRoy from Advancement led a discussion about the following items:

  • Membership of the board
  • By-Laws
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Leadership
  • Expectations

The day ended with the Capstone Showcase presentation 4-6pm in the Sierra Hall Lobby, held at the end of each term, presenting the magnificent senior projects of our students. The students were excited about the possibility of presenting their work to industry leaders.

Some shots from the Capstone Showcase:

First CS Advisory Board meeting

The first Computer Science Advisory Board meeting will take place on November 3.

Time, Location and Parking


  • Introductions & Lunch
  • Presentation – Computer Science and Mechatronics
  • Discussion

Presentation Slides


Pictures from the event