Get to Know Us

Get to Know Us: Lisa DeMings

This month, we meet Lisa DeMings, Director of Enterprise Applications who has slipped under the radar of this newsletter since she arrived in February 2017! Lisa and her team work closely with many departments across campus including Marketing and Communication, the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid and many more.

While she plays down her work by saying that she “points and clicks and sometimes types”, Lisa’s real passion is data. She works to make data more accessible to the people and departments who need it.

My favorite term for it is “democratizing data”. It should be easy to get basic data – you shouldn’t have to understand super-complicated coding or be able to write code – you should be able to easily know anything you want about the data you’re responsible for managing.  Data should be an asset – it’s one of the reasons we implemented Clark Analytics so more people would be able to answer basic questions about Clark without needing a custom report built every time.

Before she arrived at Clark, Lisa went to art school for a BFA and continues to pursue her art in her free time. She worked originally in Admissions at her Alma Mater, the Maryland Institute, before the Director of ITS noticed her talent for report writing and data entry and offered her a job. From there, it’s been a data-driven life as she began to work with data regularly and manage software implementations, before we were lucky enough for her to join Clark.

When she’s not wrangling data, or working on her art, she enjoys Armsby Abbey, Candy Crush and reading the Outlander series. Interested in asking Lisa to solve your data problems? Click here for contact information.

Get to Know Us: Chris Naples

[Looking for Lisa Demings profile? Click here]

This month, we meet Chris Naples, Endpoint Administrator. Chris joined our growing Endpoint team in October 2021 and helps to prepare the computers that end up on your desk. As he says “the computer you receive when you first start your job doesn’t come ready to use out of the box”. Chris and his team helps set up and deploy your computer to be ready with the applications and other preferences you and Clark require.

Chris was born and raised in Central Massachusetts and prior to Clark, worked at Assumption University. He and his family (his wife and three young children) enjoy the beach, the mountains and theme parks – particularly Disney where they travel each winter. Chris is well known among ITS as having a green thumb, and loves growing (and trying to grow) exotic plants, fruits and vegetables. He also enjoys watching Disney’s new series The Book of Boba Fett, reading thrillers, or grilling with his family.

Interested in learning about how to work regular back-ups into your schedule (something Chris loves to talk about)? Click here for contact information.

ITS Gift Guide – 2021

It’s time for our annual ITS Gift Guide! As the gift-giving holidays approach, the ITS team have once again come together to share our nerdiness with the campus.

This year, similar to most of our community, we’re hopeful that we can spend the holidays with family and friends in ‘real-life’. As a result, we’re excited to highlight the techy, low-tech and even no-tech gadgets that we’ve bought this year or have on our holiday wish lists.

If you still have questions about your technology purchases after reading through our recommendations, give us a call! Click here to contact us.

Joe Kalinowski and Oculus Quest 2

Joe Kalinowski – CIO, VP for IT and our fearless leader – recently got an Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality headset, and he and his family have been loving it. It’s been a great source of entertainment for those using it, and just as much for those watching. At its most basic, the headset is an Android cell phone with special glasses to allow for an immersive experience for the user.  Additionally, the visuals can be cast to other devices so that a larger group can watch along. One thing to make sure is that you have a large enough space to move around freely when using it.

Ben Gardner and That's Entertainment

This year, Ben Gardner, Business and Data Analyst, is excited to go no-tech instead of high-tech. Staying local, he’s planning to go on a shopping spree at That’s Entertainment, Worcester’s “Pop Culture Emporium” which sells comics, video games, card and board games, collectibles, and decorations. He has his eye on some new board games with the hopes to play in-person with family and friends. New to board games? Ben recommends Codenames, Spirit Island and Tsuro.

Dan Meyer and Solo Stove

Another low-tech item on the ITS wish list is the Solo Stove. Dan Meyer, Enterprise Systems Engineer, is eager to gather around his new Solo Yukon. Solo is one of a few companies now offering portable stainless-steel smoke-free fire pits for a cozy backyard experience. In addition to the award-winning pit, the company offers a range of accessories – from stands to allow you to use it on any surface, to smores kits, grill stands and color packs that change the color of the flames.

Wanda Rouillard and Kindle Kids

Wanda Rouillard, our Operations Manager, is always on the lookout for gifts to wow her two grand-daughters. This year, the Kindle Kids has been a hit with kids, parents and Wanda alike. Available with fun covers, the Kindle Kids comes with 1 year of Amazon Kids+ that allows unlimited access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, tv shows, educational apps and games, including the complete Harry Potter book series.

Jason Trinklein and Kasa Smart

Jason Trinklein, Director of Infrastructure, moved into a new home this year, and is excited to fully-embrace the smart-home concept. While there are many options for creating a networked home, Jason has been exploring the TP-Link’s Kasa Smart product line. Using your existing Wi-Fi network, Kasa provides smart switches, plugs, bulbs and cameras. While simple to use, Kasa also provides advanced options for those who like to dabble in APIs and services like IFTTT (If This Then That) all at very reasonable prices. As Jason said “At this price point, your imagination – rather than your wallet – is your only limit!”

Melvin Vargas and Framework

For those of our community excited to get their hands a little dirty with technology, Melvin Vargas, our Endpoint Administrator, is very interested in Framework. The company is built on the ethos that computers should be easier for you to build and fix, and therefore better for the environment. Instead of retiring a laptop because of a broken screen, dying battery, or old connector, Framework makes it easy to repair devices that are sleek, well-designed and customizable. Additionally, the company offers a robust support section to help you learn as you go.

Alex Magid and Tapplock Lite

True to his profession, Alex Magid, our Information Privacy and Compliance Analyst, is eager to get his hands on the Tapplock Lite. When using this smart padlock, there’s no need to remember numeric codes or find that teeny-tiny key. Instead you can use the finger print scanner, unlock it using the Tapplock app, or even set a Morse code combination. The lock can allow you to store up to 100 fingerprints and manage multiple users access via the app.

Get to Know Us: Melvin Vargas

Melvin Vargas and his beautiful ginger cat, PitoThis month, we meet Melvin Vargas, Endpoint Administrator. While Melvin only joined Clark about 6 months ago, he’ll be a familiar face to the students, staff and faculty in the Becker School of Design and Technology after joining the Clark team directly from Becker College after 15 years of service.

Prior to Clark and Becker, Melvin graduated from VOKE here in Worcester and has worked with telecommunications, hardware, networking and many other specializations in IT at various schools and colleges. While he’s modest about what he does, saying that he just “fixes computers”, Melvin knows that helping our clients can help make their day that much better.

When not tinkering with technology, Melvin spends time with his 2 beautiful daughters, plays Call of Duty and Forza Horizon, and laughs along with the FX show “What We Do In The Shadows”. Finally, we can’t finish this introduction without mentioning Pito, the beautiful cat in Melvin’s picture, who sadly died earlier this year at 20 years old. But supposedly Melvin’s new cat TJ is helping to fill his shoes!

Interested in requesting pictures of TJ from Melvin, or chatting about his favorite car to drive in Forza? Click here for contact information.

Get to Know Us: Dorothy Erickson

This month, we meet Dorothy Erickson, our new Academic Technology Associate.

Dorothy is a Worcester-area native, and after a stint in New York City, moved back for a “brief” period and 25 years later (luckily for us) is still here! After working for a pharmaceutical consulting company, and having kids, Dorothy got her MFA in creative writing and started teaching as an adjunct. For the last four years, she has worked as an Academic Technologist, most recently at Anna Maria, “supporting faculty do what they do best.”

At Clark, Dorothy is a primary liaison for faculty teaching in the School of Professional Studies, Economics, Education, Geography and Language, Literature and Culture. She’s excited to have conversations with faculty about their pedagogical challenges and successes, and states, “I always learn so much, and I think it’s helpful for faculty to know they’re not alone.”

True to her creative writing roots, Dorothy loves to write fiction and read. This year she has particularly enjoyed reading Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Finally, she can’t spend enough time with her two daughters, either enjoying the outdoors, or curled up inside binging on The Americans.

Interested in learning more about Dorothy’s writing, or super-star Academic Technology skills? Click here for her contact information.

Get to know us: Alexander Magid

This month, we meet Alexander Magid, Clark’s Information Privacy and Compliance Analyst. “What’s that?” you might ask! Well, Alexander will help ITS write and implement policies to protect your data, while also keeping Clark compliant with data privacy, storage and documentation laws. He’s excited to talk to departments across campus about data privacy and help solve the new challenges faced due to the constantly evolving, fast-paced field of cybersecurity.

When Alexander joined the Clark community in May 2021, he became one of ITS’s first fully-remote staff members, living and working in the Greater Philadelphia area. He joins us with a professional certification in Cybersecurity, an MA in Law and a BA in Political Science. Alexander also works as a part-time staff editor for the Journal of Law and Cyber Warfare where he edits and peer reviews professional publications. When he’s not thinking about cybersecurity, he likes to spend time with his dog Cooper, go to car shows and watch The Big Bang Theory.

The Games We Love

In honor of our colleagues and students joining us at the Becker School of Design and Technology at Clark University, ITS wanted to share the games that we’re excited about this Spring.

Games for when you want to …

Games for when you want to start from scratch

Jason Trinklein, our Director of Infrastructure, has been playing Factorio – similar to SimCity but with more complexity. Available on Windows and Mac, you build a massive industrial complex, starting from mining, to researching robotics, all with the ultimate goal of building a spaceship. Jason finds the world enormous, enriching and useful even in his professional life.


Games for when you want to be challenged

Aaron Bennett, our Manager of System Administration, enjoys playing online chess, despite being modest by insisting he’s not very good. He plays on both Lichess for blitz chess (three minutes for the entire game, and you gain two seconds for each move you make), and on RedHotPawn for a more relaxed correspondence type game.


Games for when you want to create something

If you’re into immersive, open-world games, Eric Scholwin, Systems Administrator, is the person to talk to. From SimCity 2000, Valheim, WOW, 7 Ways to Die, Minecraft, and Subnautica, Eric is passionate about building worlds, exploring universes and surviving various catastrophes. However, when pressed, he felt that No Mans Sky was the real underdog – which despite a rough start, has really flourished into a polished and ambitious creative space. A space exploration game, it allows you to visit procedurally-generated planets, confront random monsters, and mine a wide range of resources.

Also if you’re interested in chatting about indie games, quick blame games, or just enjoy chatting about games – Eric is your person.

Games for when you want to feel some nostalgia

Terrance McCormack, our Help Desk Manager, is embracing the nostalgia, by buying an NES to play his favorite childhood game – Kung-Fu Master. This game is a retro, side-scrolling beat ‘em up originally launched as an arcade game and later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System (and the Commodore 64). Interested in seeing the game in it’s all its glory? Check out this playthrough – not by Terrance, but impressive none-the-less


Games for when you want to get immersed

Brian Julin, Network Engineer extraordinaire, is all-in on Fallout 76 despite admitting that it’s “a deeply flawed game with spongy controls, a bug list a mile long, and and a game (im)balance that changes with every new software patch”. So why bother picking up a (Playstation, Xbox or Windows) controller to play it?

Brian believes that the flaws is what makes it so interesting “…you end up with a huge gray expanse between what’s an “exploit” and what’s just “in the game.”  Then add online play where you can kibitz with other players, and a build system where you can express your inner architect/artist, and you really have no excuse for being bored, even in the face of sparse end-game content.”


Games for when you have just two minutes

Just like everyone else, most of ITS enjoy some easy and quick mobile games to fill what little down-time we all have these days.

  • Greg Smith, Applications Developer – Letterpress: A mobile word game against friends, random opponents or bots.
  • Joe Kalinowski, Vice President of IT and CIO – Where’s My Water: A physics-based puzzle game from Disney with surprisingly in-depth character stories
  • Joanne Dolan, Director of Academic Technology and Client Support – Fil-a-Pix: Deductive, logic puzzles, perfect for playing while listening to podcasts or audiobooks.

Get to Know Us: Bhagya Srinivasan

This month, we meet Bhagya Srinivasan, who works in our Academic Technology Services department as an Instructional Designer

Bhagya joined Clark on February 1st of 2020, just in time to become an invaluable part of our faculty support team during the COVID response. When asked how to describe what she does in a single line, she says “I help teachers discover their strengths in teaching.” She particularly enjoys working with faculty from different disciplines and learning about their passion, teaching and research. Her ultimate goal when working with faculty is to help them get technology to work for them as much as (or more than) feeling like they’re working for technology.

Bhagya is originally from India, and grew up travelling through most of India as a military daughter. She’s lived in four states in US, loving each one of them for their individual uniqueness. During her travels, she got married, worked at a variety of colleges and universities, had a daughter and earned her Doctorate in Education. Now living in Shrewsbury, she loves spending time with her grandson, walking on trails and practicing yoga.

Interested in chatting to Bhagya about how to make technology work for you? Visit the ITS Contact Us page for more information.

Get to Know Us: Michael Benedetti

This month, we meet a new face to ITS – Michael Benedetti, our Senior Endpoint Administrator.

Michael started at Clark in November 2020 and has quickly become an important part of our Endpoint team, supporting devices across campus, or as Michael modestly puts it “I help with computers to make sure they work the way their owners want them to work.” Working with Michael, it was clear immediately that he’s a person who loves to learn and his favorite part of the job so far is that working with Clark faculty, staff and students has already taught him so much – and there’s more on the horizon. One thing he wishes he got asked more often is about data security and how users can protect their – and Clark’s – data.

Michael is Massachusetts born and bred, and originally from Palmer, a small town in western Massachusetts. He got an early interest in computers when a high-school teacher saw some potential and let him get his hands on the brand-new school computer, a PDP-8 minicomputer with spinning tapes and flashing lights. From that point on he was hooked, and has worked with computers for his whole career.

PDP-8 Minicomputer

Outside work, Michael is a cat-lover and while currently has 3 cats, has had 8 or more rescued kittens in the past. Recently he’s dabbled in Disc Golf, is interested in getting back to playing his baby grand piano and is reliving the 90’s by rewatching Babylon 5 with his wife.

Interested in talking to Michael about your computer needs, how to secure your data or how to herd cats? Visit the ITS Contact Us page for more information.

 

 

ITS Gift Guide – 2020

While 2020 wasn’t what any of us expected, one thing remains the same – ITS are still geeks! As gift-giving holidays approach, the ITS team have come together to share our nerdiness with the campus. We’re excited to highlight the fun techy things, or super-geeky gadgets that we’ve bought this year or have on our holiday Wish Lists.

If you still have questions about your technology purchases after reading through our recommendations, give us a call! Click here to contact us.

STEMify Your Skills

Submitted by Michael Krikonis, Academic Technologist

As well as having an adorable name, the Raspberry Pi is a DIY computer encapsulated in a keyboard and it’s perfect for those looking to develop Computer Science and STEM skills. Once set up, the operating system comes packed with Math and Science apps, as well as a popular game or two. A monitor with HDMI input is required and we recommend purchasing a larger memory card to allow room for plenty of data and fun.

Become Big Brother

Submitted by Dan Meyer, Enterprise Systems Engineer

For those of you comfortable with all things autonomous, you may be interested in Dan’s pick of a flying security camera. Dan (true to his profession) is a big fan of home security cameras, and Ring’s soon-to-be-released “Always Home Cam” combines the fun of a drone, the convenience of a robot vacuum, and the security of the Ring suite of technology.

Use Your Voice

Submitted by Sharon Griffin Edson, Help Desk Coordinator

While Sharon was worried that an Amazon Echo was too old-school to be highlighted, ITS is loving voice-assistant technology more than ever. The Echo brand have expanded over the years and now include voice-assistant gadgets for your car (Echo Auto), an Echo with a screen for easy video calls (Echo Show), and portable assistants for your ears (Echo Buds) and your eyes (Echo Frames). Click here to see the whole range.

But if Echo/Amazon/Alexa isn’t for you, there are many other options including Google Nest, Facebook Portal and Apple HomePod.

Get to Know Jack

Submitted by Joanne Dolan, Director of Academic Technology and Client Support

While Joanne has been playing Jackbox Party Packs for years, the games have seen a well-deserved resurgence as they’re easy and fun to play over Zoom. Available to buy and install on PC and Mac (via Steam), the host can stream the game by sharing their desktop on Zoom.  Players connect via their phones, tablets or computers wherever they are to submit answers to fast-paced trivia, ridiculous punchlines to Dad Jokes, or drawing for Pictionary-styled hilarity. The most fun you can have with a Clark-sponsored Zoom account!

Manage your Media

Submitted by Jason Trinklein, Director of Infrastructure

Finding AppleTV, ChromeCast or FireTV too limiting? Consider a mini-computer for your home entertainment system. Connecting an Intel NUC mini-computer to his TV not only gave Jason access to all his streaming services without fuss, it also allowed him to connect and display his digital music collection, PC games, and family photos. While having access to a wireless keyboard and mouse is preferable, the NUC can be controlled with a regular universal remote. And while you can buy mini-computers with various specifications, you don’t need the newest or most powerful one to make it a valuable addition to your home entertainment center.

Embrace the #2020

Submitted by Christian Sorgi, Information Security Engineer

Something that’s made Christian’s life easier over the past 9 months is something small, cheap, but really effective at what it does – a Pulse Oximeter. Perfect for those that don’t want to splurge on a Smart Watch having one of these on hand helps during high-altitude hiking, as well as to quell any anxiety surrounding COVID-19. It’s also FSA/HSA approved.