In fall 2022, Immaculata opened its new Applied Technology Lab, which is designed for students majoring in popular, in-demand fields such as information systems, cybersecurity and data analytics.
M.E. Jones, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and computing at Immaculata University, is pleased with the lab’s professional environment and equipment that prepare students for what they will encounter when they begin their careers in the technology field. She noted that the lab “is an environment where students are not afraid to try things because we’re on a separate network. If they want to experiment with some new technology—if something happens and the system goes down—we’re not taking down all of Immaculata.”
“We need students to learn the technology but also wonder, ‘What would happen if I tried this?’” Jones said. From her time working for several technology companies, including GE Aerospace/Lockheed Martin and AstraZeneca, she understands that corporate America works by asking the “what if” questions.
Students interested in cybersecurity have opportunities to think like hackers and develop skills to prevent cyberattacks and thwart hackers’ efforts to break into computer networks. For example, students are working on a “honeypot,” which Jones describes as a way to entice hackers to attempt to infiltrate a system (similar to a police sting operation). In addition, students can set up computer networks, experiment with and analyze extensive datasets, use data modeling techniques and Structured Query Language (SQL), and become familiar with computer programming.
Cybersecurity major Chris Watson ’26, a frequent visitor to the new lab, commented, “It’s very different from any other classroom here. It really makes me feel like a coder when I’m in there for my database class.”
“I think it’s very cool, and I’m happy we got a place specifically for cyber/info systems/tech students,” stated Makenna Piaskowski ’24, a cybersecurity and information systems major with minors in criminology and digital forensics. Students find the lab comfortable and easy to work in and often study in the lab outside of class.
In addition to the Applied Technology Lab, the University dedicated space in a room directly next to the new lab for computer research. Here students gain experience with the Linux operating system and can delve into computer hardware by breaking down and reassembling computer systems.
Jones, who is an Immaculata alumna from the class of 1982, helped to support the lab financially, in tribute to Sister Maria Socorro, IHM, who was her professor for seven physics courses, and in honor of her parents, Mary and Alexander Jones.