A laptop user looks at a screen that is emblazoned with a lock key and various numbers, emblematic of the captivity that ransomware represents.

Ransomware, which holds your files and system hostage for a ransom, is one of the many forms of malware attacks that are increasingly a threat to individuals and organizations. Image from Pixabay

With a student, faculty and staff population exceeding that of many cities, the Cal State Fullerton community faces the challenges of preparing its IT infrastructure for the cybersecurity demands of today’s wired world. Tony Modiri ’91, head of information security for the campus, looks at how the university is staying safe and offers advice you can use, whether at CSUF or in your personal life.

When checking your campus email, you notice an email message claiming to be from a faculty member a friend had as a professor a few semesters ago. It says your account will be terminated in a few days, but by clicking on the link, you can ensure continued access. By using an appeal to fear, the senders hope you will click on the link, only to find yourself in an unsecure space, with no relationship to CSUF, where cybercriminals can steal your personal information.

Tony Modiri ’91 (business administration and computer science), Cal State Fullerton’s head of information security, is at the forefront of thwarting such attempts to hijack the campus’ digital networks for nefarious purposes. Under his leadership, the campus has stayed at the forefront of organizational security by building strong defenses against threats and preventing dissemination through the network.

Still, as hackers and other cybercriminals continue to evolve, it takes the participation of every member of the campus community – from faculty to maintenance staff to students – to recognize and act upon best security practices, all the while developing habits that can reap reputational, financial and security benefits in your personal life as well. Read More

A boy receives an ear scan using state-of-the-art 3d technology.Jason Szolomayer ’02 (finance) is the founder of 3dp4me, a nonprofit dedicated to providing hearing aid solutions to the world’s underprivileged through 3-D printing. The Cal State Fullerton grad’s first project is providing ear molds for hearing aids to Middle East refugees and low-income residents in Jordan.

When longtime Costa Mesa resident and CSUF finance grad Jason Szolomayer ’02 taught English in the Middle Eastern kingdom of Jordan, he volunteered at the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf and Blind, where he witnessed firsthand the challenges of providing aid to the hearing impaired.

Globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 466 million people have a hearing disability worldwide, 70% of whom are in developing countries, where such a challenge can result in loss of employment, education or self-development opportunities. As many as 34 million school-aged children worldwide struggle with hearing challenges.

Working with his partner, Brother Andrew de Carpentier, chair of World Wide Hearing, Szolomayer changes lives with 3-D printing technologies, which creates personalized silicone mold aids. Their new nonprofit, 3dp4me, an acronym for “3-D Printing for the Middle East,” is currently fundraising and registering to offer hearing aid molds to those in need, particularly children.

While initially focusing on Middle East populations in partnership with the Hearing Express project, it is a concept that the social entrepreneur hopes will be replicated in other global regions. Read More

Kevin Chiu and other members of the Catalyst Software team stand in a field.

Kevin Chiu ’14 with his team at Catalyst Software. Chiu says effective recruiting is vital for startup success.

Catalyst Software Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Chiu ’14, a marketing graduate from Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree for the Enterprise Technology 2019 list. The 27-year-old’s startup provides an integrated platform enabling client-focused account managers in companies to track, identify, and respond to customer metrics and trends. By consolidating data, emails, notes, reminders and memos, the platform enables their customers to easily identify churn risks and upsell opportunities, which include small- to medium-sized enterprises, in addition to larger corporations.

Chiu discusses the features of the platform, his entrepreneurship story and what grads should know about starting a business in today’s competitive environment. Read More

Cal State Fullerton student Lauren Sukumar encourages young people of all backgrounds to seek careers in computer science. Lauren Sukumar ’19 (information systems and computer science) fell in love with computer science with her freshman information systems course at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College.

Deciding on a second major in computer science, Sukumar has pursued research opportunities in the field, such as a two-semester independent study examining retention of students from underrepresented demographics, including women, in the university’s computer science program. She has also served as vice president of the CSUF student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery – Women in Computing student chapter, and a research internship at UC Irvine.

Sukumar is the recipient of the Information Systems and Decision Sciences Outstanding Student Scholarship and has been on Mihaylo College’s Dean’s List for seven consecutive semesters.

“Technology’s influence is not limited to one industry or profession. It can be academically and professionally liberating, as it conceivably holds value and insight for any other discipline,” she says. “Computer science offered choice and space to uncover my passion in the digital age: security and technology policy in health care, education and the labor market. I aspire to analyze and develop policies that help society safely and effectively adapt to technological change.”

Sukumar encourages young professionals of all backgrounds to consider opportunities in information systems. “There is a place in computer science for anyone interested if they trust their curiosity, pursue what excites them and find a community to share their knowledge,” she says. “Along the way, they will surely define their place and, hopefully, help others do the same.”

Read more in Sukumar’s first-person account in The Orange County Register.

For more on Mihaylo College’s Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) program, visit the department online. Or read more articles about information systems.

Cal State Fullerton finance students stand together at the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine on Nov. 30, 2018, following the SMIF Competition, in which they took top honors.

CSUF Mihaylo College finance students pose at UC Irvine’s business school on the sidelines of the SMIF presentation, sponsored by CFA Orange County, on Nov. 30, 2018.

A team of finance students from Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics won first place – and the opportunity to manage a $100,000 investment fund – in an investment competition against teams from five Southern California universities.

Finance students enrolled in FIN 341 – Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) received a big boost when they won the rights to manage a $100,000 stock and bond portfolio. The students competed against teams from five other California universities, including UC Irvine, Chapman University and Cal State Long Beach, for the best investment presentation at the Nov. 30 SMIF Competition, held at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business and sponsored by the Orange County chapter of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute.

For the competition, the students defended their investment philosophy and process provided previously to the competition in a written report. They then presented their economic outlook, identified trades suitable for the client and the environment, and described the risk management practices they would pursue should they be given the opportunity to manage the portfolio. The student teams were evaluated by a panel of six finance industry professionals judging the contest.

Chapman University was awarded second place and received a $50,000 portfolio; the UC Irvine team took the third spot with a $30,000 portfolio. Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Long Beach and UC Riverside comprised the remaining finishers. Investment decisions are delegated to each of the winning university programs to enable students to perfect their investment management skills. Each decision is reviewed and approved by the investment committee of the CFA Society of Orange County before being implemented into the portfolios.

Noting that the SMIF program enables students to apply skills and knowledge across all aspects of business, including accounting, finance, economics, information systems, marketing and management, Finance Lecturer Marcia Clark sees the initiative as essential to many participants’ academic and professional futures.

“SMIF students often develop a passion for the financial markets, which leads them to apply to the prestigious Titan Capital Management program at Mihaylo College,” she says. “That program builds on the investment management skills developed in SMIF and provides a head start to our graduates as they embark on careers with leading firms.”

Alumni are currently employed in career positions at such companies as Goldman Sachs, PIMCO and Green Street Advisors.

For More Information

For more on Cal State Fullerton’s undergraduate and graduate finance education programs, visit the Department of Finance online. Also read more of our articles on the finance program.

Josephine Ngo, a management student at Cal State Fullerton who was awarded the PHIRA scholarship.

Josephine Ngo

Josephine Ngo ’20 and Phuong Nguyen ’20, both Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College management majors, were each awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the Professionals in Human Resources Association Foundation. 

Two Cal State Fullerton management students concentrating in human resources were among the honorees for the 2018 Professionals in Human Resources Association (PHIRA) scholarship, which recognizes students seeking careers in human resources.

Phuong Nguyen, a Cal State Fullerton management student, is a recipient of the PHIRA human resources scholarship for 2018.

Phuong Nguyen

The two Mihaylo College honorees – Josephine Ngo ’20, an enforcement operative of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and Phuong Nguyen ’20, a language intern at the Cal State Fullerton National Resource Center for Asian Languages who looks forward to an HR assistant role at McKinley Children’s Hospital beginning in January 2019 – will use the funding of $2,500 each to support their spring 2019 tuition. Both students, who shared this year’s annual full-time undergraduate award, are active in Cal State Fullerton’s Society of Excellence in Human Resources (SEHR), a student club providing professional development and networking for aspiring HR professionals.

“The PHIRA scholarships are competitive and awarded based on academic achievement, community service and a commitment to the HR profession,” says Shaun Pichler, associate professor of management specializing in human resources. “That two awardees are from Mihaylo speaks to the caliber of our students, the rigor of our academic programs, and our students’ commitment to leadership and service.”

The PIHRA Foundation annually awards scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000 for undergraduates, graduate students and entrants into the field. While the application period has closed for 2018, the foundation looks forward to Cal State Fullerton applicants for next year. More information is available here.

For more information on opportunities in human resources, including a concentration devoted specifically to this field, visit the Department of Management online or call 657-278-2251.

Mitchell Livy, Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College assistant professor of economics.Since joining the Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College faculty in 2015, Mitchell Livy has been committed to examining the world from an economics perspective – and engaging the next generation of young professionals to do the same.

The Ohio State University alumnus has research interests in environmental economics, land use, urban and regional economics, and resource economics, with a particular focus on their impact on local communities.

Livy discusses his motivation, research, teaching and advice on why students should consider careers in economics.

What encouraged you to become a professor of economics?

I was drawn to economics because of the logic embedded in the subject, and the applicability of economics tools to a range of issues. I wanted to become a professor so that I could help and engage students in this interesting subject. Economics research can inform policy and aid in decision-making. Read More

Vivek Mande, department chair of the Cal State Fullerton Department of Accounting and editor-in-chief of the Managerial Auditing Journal.

Vivek Mande, accounting professor and department chair, is the new editor-in-chief for the Managerial Auditing Journal.

Cal State Fullerton Accounting Professor and Department Chair Vivek Mande has been appointed editor-in-chief, Associate Professor of Accounting Jie Zhou is associate editor, and Assistant Professor Walied Keshk is on the editorial board for the Managerial Auditing Journal, a recognized accounting journal providing industry-specific content of interest to academic and professional leaders.

The Mihaylo College of Business and Economics faculty began their roles with the journal on Dec. 1, 2018, the first known instance in which CSUF faculty have received such significant representation in the editorial content of a top-ranked research journal. Previously, the journal’s lead editors were based at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Producing eight to nine issues annually, the journal highlights peer-reviewed qualitative and quantitative research studies, literature reviews and industry updates on national and global topics related to taxation, regulatory auditing, earnings management, audit effectiveness, and related fields. Read More

Mansi Bhat, Cal State Fullerton ISDS graduate student, holds the award she received for her research presentation at the 2018 Teradata Competition in Las Vegas.Mansi Bhat ’18 (M.S. – information systems) was honored at the Teradata Analytics University Challenge in Las Vegas earlier this fall for her research study, “Analytics Approach to Combating the Opioid Epidemic in USA,” which uses publicly available data to understand and address the rising death toll from prescription drug abuse.

When Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) graduate student Mansi Bhat ’18 learned that 115 people die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, she wanted to use her skills in data analytics to better understand and address this crisis. The victims represent all demographics of society, from globally-recognized pop stars to underprivileged residents of America’s cities and rural areas, with a combined economic impact of $78 billion to the U.S. economy.

“A case that particularly caught my attention was Prince’s doctor, who was sued for failing to appropriately evaluate, diagnose, treat and counsel the famed musician for his recognizable opioid addiction, and further failing to take appropriate and reasonable steps to prevent the foreseeably fatal result of that addiction,” she says.

Working in conjunction with ISDS Professor Rahul Bhaskar and fellow graduate student Guillermo Hernandez ’19, Bhat’s study, “Analytics Approach to Combating the Opioid Epidemic in USA,” was a winner at the Teradata Analytics University Challenge in Las Vegas, which reviewed more than 60 submissions from around the world. Bhat’s paper received the Best Use of Analytics and Visualization award for her use of advanced analytics and machine-learning algorithms to produce visual insights. Read More

Aerial view of shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach, California.

The Port of Long Beach, one of Southern California’s major ports of entry, handles billions of dollars-worth of Chinese imports each year, for consumption throughout North America. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The world’s largest and second-largest economies have been locked in a bitter trade dispute since the Trump Administration has acted upon protectionist policies, with particular impact to the Southern California economy, one of the nerve centers of trade with East Asia. CSUF Mihaylo College Economics Associate Professor Pedro Amaral and Lecturer Aaron Popp examined the trade dispute and where it might go next at a Nov. 28 panel discussion.

At a summit meeting on the sidelines of the G20 conference in Buenos Aries, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to a temporary truce in an escalating trade dispute between the world’s top economies.

As much as $250 billion in Chinese imports and $110 billion of U.S. exports have been tariffed since Trump mandated the first of three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports on July 6, following an investigation by the U.S. Trade Representative. The East Asian nation has countered with tit-for-tat duties on American exports.

“About 46% of total Chinese imports are being tariffed, but L.A. is serving a smaller percentage of those products [that are being tariffed] – 41%. But any later round of tariffs will have a harder impact on the local economy,” said Aaron Popp, Mihaylo College economics lecturer, of the situation and its Southern California impact at a Nov. 28 symposium, sponsored by the CSUF Economics Association. Read More