Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Arlington 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony — “The County’s wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Bozman Government Center. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m., the moment when the plane struck the Pentagon and 184 lives were lost.” [Arlington County, Press Release]

Stabbing in Boulevard Manor — “ACPD responded to a domestic violence incident in which a woman was reported stabbed in a home in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood around 11:30 a.m. [Tuesday]. She’s expected to be okay. Police are not releasing additional details, to protect the victim’s identity, per spokeswoman.” [Twitter]

ACPD Considering Ring Doorbell Partnership — “The Arlington County Police Department appears likely to become the fourth Greater Washington law enforcement agency to sign a partnership with Ring Inc., a doorbell-camera company owned by Amazon.com Inc., despite internal concerns over privacy and racial profiling.” [Washington Business Journal]

Marymount Jumps in Rankings — “Great news — Marymount has jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings for top Regional Universities in the South, according to the 2020 Best Colleges Rankings from @usnews!” [Marymount University, Twitter]

Arlington Visitor Spending Keeps Rising — “Arlington visitors spent a record $3.4 billion in 2018, a 4.3 percent increase over 2017, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending since 2009. Tourism generated nearly $94 million in local tax receipts, benefiting County programs and services, as well as state tax receipts of nearly $127 million.” [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Neighbor Drama Does Federal — “A former analyst for the FBI admitted Tuesday to copying the private emails of a conservative conspiracy theorist and sharing them with his superiors while his wife offered them to the press… Tolson, who has left the FBI, agreed to forfeit two phones and two computers and avoid contact with Burkman, his neighbor in Arlington. He was released on bond until sentencing on Dec. 20.” [Washington Post]

Hoskins Wants ‘Innovation Campus’ in Fairfax — “As one of the lead negotiators involved in bringing Amazon.com Inc. to Arlington County, Victor Hoskins also helped Alexandria land Virginia Tech’s new ‘Innovation Campus’ — and now that he’s changed jobs, he wants to help Fairfax County do the same.” [Washington Business Journal]

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The University of Maryland is expected to open a research and event space in Crystal City next fall in an effort to cozy up to Amazon.

Called the “Discovery Center,” the campus will occupy a 8,000-square-foot space in a building Amazon has leased from JBG Smith and plans to begin temporarily occupying this year. University officials say that the center is designed to connect students and staff with companies like Amazon for research and job recruitment, as first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

“This new space will help connect our flagship researchers and students with this emerging technology hub, fostering innovation in our growing Cyber Valley,” UMD President Wallace Loh said in a statement.

UMD described the purpose of the space in a press release:

The Discovery Center will provide spaces for academics, local businesses and community residents to interact and exchange ideas, as well as seminar rooms, a strategic planning and creative problem-solving center, spaces for students to work with industry partners, and career development interview rooms to facilitate internships and employment opportunities. The center will also function as an event space for researchers, industry leaders and alumni to meet, network and discuss industry trends.

Both Prince George’s County, where UMD is located, and Montgomery County were hopefuls for the 25,000 jobs Amazon promises to bring. Now that the tech and retail giant has inked its HQ2 deal in Arlington and is beginning to hire employees, the university appears to be trying to locate itself closer to the action.

“Although we wanted Amazon to choose Maryland, the fact is they chose, of all the places in the country that they could have chosen, they chose 11 miles from the flagship campus of the flagship university of the state of Maryland,” UMD’s chief strategy officer Ken Ulman, told the college newspaper Diamondback.

Although the space is not a formal college campus per se, the university says it will host “learning events” on topics likely to interest the company, including supply chain management, machine learning, and cybersecurity.

JBG Smith is using the ground floor of the building, at 241 18th Street S., as a pitch room to convince other office tenants to locate to Crystal City.

Earlier this summer, Virginia Tech finalized the details of its Potomac Yard campus, also strategically planned near Amazon. The Alexandria campus, which joins the university’s other locations in Ballston and West Falls Church, was a feature of Virginia’s pitch to Amazon. Last week VT announced that it had launched a search process to find a new leader for the planned “Innovation Campus.”

UMD is expected to benefit from Metro’s decision to start extending Yellow Line rail service all the way to Greenbelt for the first time since 2017, which will connect the university’s flagship location in College Park to Crystal City.

“With Metro’s Yellow Line extension, folks can go from campus to the Discovery Center in 30 minutes without changing trains,” Ulman said in a statement. “You’ll walk out of the Crystal City station, turn and literally see the University of Maryland sign in front of you.”

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Morning Notes

HQ2’s Towering Height — “Amazon.com Inc.’s planned pair of office towers at Metropolitan Park will have the same number of floors as the residential building next door. But the HQ2 buildings will lord over The Bartlett by nearly 60 feet. The 22-story HQ2 towers are expected to hit 322.5 feet at their highest point, according to plans submitted to Arlington County. JBG Smith Properties’ The Bartlett, with its Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market on the ground floor, is 22 stories but only 264-feet-tall.” [Washington Business Journal]

Retail Sales Up in Arlington — “Year-over-year retail sales in Arlington showed a boost in the first quarter of 2019, according to new data. Total retail sales of $767.2 million countywide were up 1.6 percent from $755.3 million during the first three months of 2018, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Taxation.” [InsideNova]

Univ. of Phoenix’s New Arlington Campus — The for-profit University of Phoenix this week will be celebrating the grand opening of its new Northern Virginia-D.C. Metro campus at 4401 Fairfax Drive in Ballston. [Eventbrite]

Heat Doesn’t Stop Youth Baseball Tourney — “Even as some events cancelled due to the extreme heat warning on Saturday, many people are still got outside. That included hundreds of young players from across the area who turned out for the Arlington Babe Ruth – Doc Bonaccorso Summer Classic Baseball Tournament in Arlington.” [WJLA]

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The working professionals who pursue the Arlington-based Executive MBA at Virginia Tech get a rich education in the fundamentals of business — accounting and finance, marketing, operations, ethics, communications and leadership.

But woven around those foundation courses are “experiential modules” designed to accelerate development in four essential and current areas:

  • Business analytics
  • Entrepreneurship & innovation
  • Leadership & governance
  • Global business

Each module includes two concentration classes plus a “big experience” course that puts the learning to work immediately, says Barbara Hoopes, academic director for Virginia Tech MBA Programs.

Corporate leaders are brought in “to provide guidance and bring real-life projects to students,” adds Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs in the Pamplin College of Business.

What does this look like on the ground? For the analytics module, which covers BI and data mining along with marketing analytics, Hoopes brought in four software vendors — Microsoft, Qlik, SAS and Tableau — to provide access to their products and act as coaches.

Students addressed pressing issues with U.S. infrastructure using publicly available data to analyze Congressional airport funding and its relationship to economic growth, identify causal factors for large utility outages and predict hazard classifications of dams in order to prioritize inspections.

Hoopes asserts that students really “need to understand how data can be used to support their decision-making.” That means “learning how to tell a story that convinces others” — in other words, traversing that last mile between the data scientist and the people at the very top.

Ghandforoush notes that students often arrive with an expectation that the data work they will do during their MBA is a throw-away “because they don’t need it or they have analysts at work who will do this for them.” And yet faculty hear back from former skeptics that those lessons turned out to be the most valuable in the program “because they’re actually using it at work and they’ve seen the results.”

That’s just what Virginia Tech had in mind when it undertook its redesign of the MBA for working professionals. “It’s not like students graduate and four or five years later we will hear if they have benefited from their MBA,” he concludes. “This is like a laboratory. We get to watch this as it’s happening right before our eyes.”

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Morning Notes

Body Found in Submerged SUV — “Authorities were working Monday night to recover a body inside an SUV submerged in the Potomac River [near Roosevelt Island]… D.C. Fire & EMS said they found tire tracks leading into the river and divers were able to locate the SUV by 6 p.m. Monday. Sources confirmed to News4 that a body was trapped inside.” [NBC Washington]

Clarendon Beer Garden May Open Next Month — “The 22,000-square-foot space, dubbed The Lot… [is] anticipating an early June opening, pending final permit approvals, with plans to incorporate drinking games, picnic seating, and tacos.” [Eater]

UMD Coming to Crystal City? — “The University of Maryland is scouting out potential sites in Crystal City, where it could potentially help to feed Amazon.com Inc.’s long-term plans to hire at least 25,000 workers to support its second headquarters. The state’s flagship university is in the market for between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet to support the growth of HQ2, according to sources familiar with the situation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Mosque Security Measures — “Members of an Arlington, Virginia, mosque are being trained on how to respond to an active shooter. Worshippers are learning how to take security measures to protect themselves and save the lives of others. The training follows mass shooting at houses of worship around the world.” [Voice of America, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School is excited to announce the January launch of its Juris Master (JM) Degree Program!

The JM Degree is designed for professionals who interact with lawyers and legal issues regularly in the course of their careers. This type of program is in high demand and now offered by over half of all tier one law schools.

“We are proud to offer the Juris Master Degree Program at Scalia Law School,” said Dean Henry N. Butler. “This is an opportunity for professionals to learn the law, so they will be better equipped to provide leadership in their respective fields.”

Scalia Law’s two-year part-time program is offered at the Arlington campus, and enrollment for the Fall 2019 class is currently OPEN.

As listed on the JM Degree website, https://jurismaster.gmu.edu/, in addition to general legal research, writing and introductory law courses, JM students can select law school courses from six concentration areas:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Employment & Labor Relations
  • Financial & Commercial Services
  • Government Contracts & Regulations
  • Intellectual Property & Technology
  • National Security, Cybersecurity & Information Privacy

JM students can maintain employment schedules, while benefiting from the opportunities afforded by a tier-one law school.

There is a growing base of legal services and legal knowledge required by employers and the JM Degree is designed to educate students with the legal knowledge necessary for them to succeed in their chosen professions.

Applications are being accepted now. For more information about the JM degree program, please visit our website or contact Jessica L. Sartorius, Director of Juris Master (JM) Degree Program, at [email protected] or 703-993-8418.

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The Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University has been named No. 2 in the country in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report for its security studies programs.

If you dream of a career in international security, homeland security, emergency management or other fields that tackle “wicked problems” around the world, the Schar School has top-rated master’s degrees, graduate certificate programs and PhD programs to help you achieve your goals.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Schar School, convenient to the decision-and policy-makers of Washington, D.C., boasts a faculty that includes program former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency director Michael V. Hayden, former ambassador Richard Kauzlarich and inaugural Carnegie Fellow and terrorism expert Louise Shelley.

Faculty also includes border security expert Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, former president and CEO of the Stimson Center Ellen Laipson, regional economics expert Stephen Fuller and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The Schar School is an important part of George Mason’s Research 1 Doctoral Universities rating as its faculty and students contribute research of consequence in fields including biodefense, homeland security, emergency management, global relations, war, elections, federalism, economics, energy and others.

For more information about Schar School offerings, including graduate programs in Biodefense, International Commerce, International Security, Organization Development & Knowledge Management, Public Administration, Public Policy, Political Science, Transportation Policy and Operations & Logistics, click here.

Join us for an online information session to learn more about the Schar School’s Master’s in International Commerce and Policy program. The webinar begins at noon (EST) on Thursday, April 11. The webinar is free. Register here.

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These days, there isn’t just one way to get an education, says Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast.

Popular program options for working professionals include MOOCs, coding bootcamps, technical certifications and master’s degrees. The question is which one to choose.

MOOCs — massive, open, online courseslet students audit courses online, at no charge, through well-known universities. Students may also participate in paid versions of the course, which add graded assignments, extra support and a certificate for successful completion.

Coding bootcamps vary widely in their duration, format and cost, but all have a similar goal: to help students ramp up quickly on coding skills, especially web and mobile development.

Technical certifications are credentials that show people have passed a test and, in some cases, worked in a given job for a set period of time. These can be inexpensive to attain, if the student is willing to do self-study. However, they’re of limited duration; when the technology is updated, the certification needs to be updated, too.

Then there’s the master’s degree:

  • It’s only available through institutions that have gone through an accrediting process to prove the quality of their instructors and courses.
  • In the leading schools, faculty have practical experience in the subject and bring cutting-edge information to their students.
  • The program generally includes a community of alumni with deep connections and support.

The online Master of Information Technology, offered by Virginia Tech, adds an additional benefit: It has been jointly developed by faculty from both business and engineering, which means it can strike that sweet spot of “technical and soft skills” that employers truly value, notes Sumichrast. The combination, he says, “makes for a really well-rounded student coming out of the program.”

So how do you choose a program? Sumichrast recommends looking at the context in which you’re operating. “If you’ve already got a degree in the field that you’re trying to update, then maybe a single course, such as a MOOC, could give you a narrow update on what you already know.”

“These are personal decisions,” Sumichrast advises. “Find the education that best fits you. For many students that means one that puts the facts that you learn in context and that approaches problems from different directions so that you can have a more coherent whole when you finish.”

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit www.vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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Many students at Argosy University’s Rosslyn campus are now stuck in limbo, waiting anxiously for the financially struggling school to release federal financial aid cash they desperately need.

Argosy’s parent company, Dream Center Education Holdings, has been in serious financial trouble ever since it starting working to acquire Argosy, the Art Institutes and South University. It recently entered into receivership, essentially declaring bankruptcy, and has now run into problems with federal loan money.

The U.S. Department of Education recently revealed that it sent millions in aid cash to DCEH, but Argosy failed to turn over any money left over after students’ tuition is covered. In all, that worked out to about $13 million, which students usually rely on to cover living expenses.

Federal officials say they aren’t sure what DCEH has done with the money, and could cut off all of Argosy’s access to federal aid cash going forward.

DCEH would not say when it might send the aid money along to students, but it did confirm that students at the Rosslyn campus (located at 1550 Wilson Blvd) have been affected by the discrepancy.

“We are working day and night to secure the release of funds from the Department of Education owed to students of Argosy University for federal financial aid,” Mark Dottore, the court-appointed receiver for DCEH wrote in a statement to ARLnow. “These are funds that both belong to these students and, in many cases, are critical to them.”

Dottore was also adamant that the Argosy campus in Rosslyn will remain open and “there are no plans to close the campus.” DCEH recently shut down all of its Art Institute locations, including the Rosslyn campus, in July, and officials in other states have warned Argosy students to prepare for imminent closures of the campuses.

“The university remains committed to providing our students with a quality education that makes an impact in their lives and the lives of others,” Dottore said.

But that leaves many students, including the roughly 500 students attending the Rosslyn campus, a bit stuck while Argosy gets its affairs in order. The Education Department says it plans to cancel student debts for the current spring semester, but anyone relying on the loan money to afford rent or other living expenses will be out of luck.

One concerned mother, who declined to use her name given the sensitivity of the matter, says her son, Joshua, is waiting on $9,000 from Argosy to afford the basics like rent and food. He enrolled in the Rosslyn’s campus doctoral program for psychology last fall, and is relying on a loan from his parents just to stay afloat.

She points out that her son left a full-time job to pursue a degree from Argosy, as do many students attending the school, and doesn’t feel he has much time left to wait before trying to return to the workforce.

“Argosy and its administration have strung him and all the students along with false hope and empty promises,” she wrote in an email. “He trusted the program and the school. He aspires to have a career as a psychologist so he can help others and those in the DMV community who suffer mental health issues. We have no idea what to do… and many are in the same boat.”

Dottore is set to report more details on DCEH’s finances in the coming days, but he’s already said he suspects that Argosy used the loan cash to cover staff salaries instead of sending it to students. If that’s the case, federal officials could revoke all of Argosy’s access to loan funds, which could force the university to shut down.

Photo via Google Maps

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Virginia Tech’s Master of Information Technology program has been ranked the No. 1 online graduate degree for cybersecurity in the 2019 rankings list from CyberDegrees.org, a Washington, D.C.-based company.

In addition, the program was named one of the three best online graduate information technology programs nationwide for the seventh consecutive year in the annual rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Based at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center, the 100% online program is offered jointly by the Pamplin College of Business and College of Engineering. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to develop a range of skills and focus their studies in a topic that best serves their career goals.

Cybersecurity is one of 11 areas of specialization that students can use to tailor their degree. Other areas include Analytics and Business Intelligence, Big Data, Health Information Technology and Software Development.

The program also offers six Graduate Certificate options for professionals that are not looking to pursue a full degree.

The program plans to continue adding new courses and Graduate Certificates that keep up with current trends in tech, particularly as the wider university takes on a central role in the cybersecurity ecosystem.

In 2010, Virginia Tech launched the Hume Center to lead the university’s research and experiential learning programs in national security. The center now has a research facility in Ballston.

In 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that Virginia Tech will lead its $25 million Commonwealth Cyber Initiative.

For more information about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology Program, visit www.vtmit.vt.edu or sign up for an upcoming information session.

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Since 1969, Virginia Tech has served local residents, government and industry in the National Capital Region. It now boasts more than 45 graduate degree and certificate programs, as well as many laboratories and research centers, spread across the region from Alexandria to Leesburg.

Among those degree offerings, the Pamplin College of Business offers two different MBA program options that serve working professionals looking to advance their careers without leaving the workforce.

The Evening MBA program option provides students with maximum flexibility while still allowing them to choose their timeline for completion and focus their studies in an area of particular importance to their career.

Classes take place at the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center, which is adjacent to the West Falls Church Metro station and convenient to I-495 and I-66.

In 2018, the Evening MBA program was named one of the top 20 part-time MBA programs nationwide by U.S. News & World Report for a fourth consecutive year.

The Executive MBA program option offers an accelerated, cohort-based option for mid-career professionals. The cohorts meet bi-monthly for weekend classes at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Ballston.

The curriculum focuses on leadership and strategic management in a global environment with an emphasis on business analytics, innovation and globalization.

Graduates of both the Evening and Executive MBA programs create lasting professional connections and join the university’s vast alumni network in the D.C. Metro area to help advance their careers both now and in the future.

To learn more about the Virginia Tech MBA Programs, visit mba.vt.edu or register to attend an upcoming information session.

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