Mitigating Risks With the All-Hazards Approach To Emergency Preparedness

Is Your Organization Adequately Prepared for the Unexpected?

Many forward-thinking businesses and public sector organizations have some sort of an emergency plan ready to deploy when disaster strikes. However, having a plan in place is only one component of a successful emergency preparedness strategy. Will your plan work in a variety of emergency situations? That is the real question to consider.

The concept of an emergency preparedness plan may seem quite simple. But organizations must realize the potential hazards for different types of emergencies, and the level of risk involved with each one. This brings in the all-hazards approach.

IS YOUR ORGANIZATION PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY?

5 Questions to Ask:

1. Does your organization have all-hazard risk assessment and business continuity plans?

2. Do your plans update with changes to personnel, clients, and soft ware?

3. Do your plans undergo regular testing with measurable goals and outcomes?

4. Do your plans allow for multi-jurisdictional interoperability, such as following the National Incident Management System (MIMS) including Incident Command System (ICS)?

5. Do results from testing or real-life incidents lead to revisions in risk assessments or business continuity plans?

THE ALL-HAZARDS APPROACH

When discussing emergency preparedness on their website, ready.gov, the Department of Homeland Security notes that, “The planning process should take an all-hazards approach. There are many different threats or hazards. The probability that a specific hazard will impact your business is hard to determine. That’s why it’s important to consider many different threats and hazards and the likelihood they will occur.” An all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness is designed to address a full range of threats, risks, and the overarching impact it may have on an organization.

It also is important to recognize that one disaster can simultaneously cause different negative events, creating a cascading effect. For example, a hurricane brings in a surge that causes flooding. That’s bad, but the flood may trigger an organization’s evacuation and relocation of staff. Now that your building is flooded, and has no electrical power or onsite staff, how do you maintain connectivity to your customers or clients? The all-hazards approach covers components of preparedness that often go overlooked.

For example, cybersecurity sometimes fails to make the final contingency plan. Thus, vulnerabilities can occur during a disastrous event which may cause the cybersecurity wall to crumble. Without a plan to mitigate cyber-risk, organizations risk losing a lot more than emails. They can risk losing valuable information that can jeopardize their reputation and bottom line.

All-hazards planning is a sound and proven concept, but it doesn’t mean that organizations must plan for every possible hazard. What it does mean is that organizations must plan for every possible hazard. What it does mean is that organizations should consider all possible hazards as part of a risk analysis. Using a risk-based approach to planning, coupled with functional and prioritized contingency planning, makes the best possible use of limited resources during an emergency.

RISKS TO CONSIDER WHEN CREATING YOUR ORGANIZATION’S ALL-HAZARDS EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN

  • IT System Failure
  • Cybersecurity  Threats
  • Supply Chain Interruption
  • Payroll Interruption
  • Power Outages
  • Restricted Access to Premises
  • Natural Disasters (Hurricanes, Flooding, Tornados, etc.)
  • Man-made Disasters (Chemical Spills, Transportation Accidents, etc.)

RISK ASSESSMENT: THE PRIMARY COMPONENT TO AN ALL-HAZARDS PLAN

Risk assessment is a process for identifying potential hazards, risk exposures, and the probability of occurrence. However, most organizations have not conducted a comprehensive risk assessment, in part because of a lack of resources and time devoted to this important function. By doing a Threat, Hazard, Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA), you can identify the range of hazard and risk exposures that have impacted, or may impact, the area and the organization itself.

The THIRA process allows individual business, faith-based organizations, not-for-groups, schools and academia, and all levels of government, to understand risks and determine the capabilities needed to achieve preparedness. Specifically, the THIRA process includes:

  • Identification of threats and hazards of concern.
  • Description of threats and hazards, showing how they may affect the organization.
  • Establishment of preparedness goals to define success.
  • Estimation of resources required to achieve the preparedness goals using community assets and shared resources.

Additionally, the THIRA process ultimately helps organizations answer the following questions:

  • What do we need to plan for?
  • What shareable resources are required to be prepared?
  • What actions could be employed to avoid, divert, lessen, or eliminate a threat or hazard?

PLANNING FOR FUTURE EMERGENCIES AND DISASTERS

With today’s complex and tech-driven world, the interdependencies of our infrastructure and systems create vulnerabilities that differ from the past. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses and public sector organizations to assess inherent risks while taking a comprehensive approach to preparing for emergencies and disasters. Implementing an All-Hazards planning approach to assess potential risks is a necessity to mitigate impacts to business operations and to ensure the safety of your workforce.

Three Reasons to Store Your Records Offsite

There’s paperwork involved in nearly every business process and transaction, regardless of the industry or type of business. If your organization hasn’t yet made the switch to digital – and if you’re still storing all (or most) of your records onsite – you’re ignoring a few key benefits of using a document management company to handle your records.

Free up valuable real estate with offsite records storage

While it may seem obvious, a large number of companies still miss out on the space savings afforded by storing their records in an offsite facility. Filing cabinets and shelves often become wasted space rather than areas that could house workstations and additional employees. By moving records offsite with a reputable document management company, organizations can make full use of their office’s square footage.

Get what you need, when you need it

There’s more to storing records than just placing them in a file or on a shelf. Knowing exactly how and where those records are stored and being able to access them quickly and easily when necessary is crucial. When you entrust those records to a document management company, they can index your files and documents for easy tracking and retrieval. This saves your organization time and money.

Mitigate records storage risk through compliance

Possibly the most compelling reason to store your records offsite is compliance. Properly storing records for the amount of time required by local, state and federal regulations is vital. So is the manner in which you destroy those records. If you fail to adhere to government and industry regulations, you may expose your organization to unnecessary risk. This can result in fines and penalties and damage your company’s reputation.

Above all, storing your records offsite gives your organization an opportunity to get a handle on all of your company’s data and ensure that you have a solid records management plan in place.

DaaS: 7 Reasons Why Companies Are Migrating to Cloud Desktop Solutions

The corporate world has gone through intense changes in the way companies utilize the internet. It seems like yesterday that we shifted from file cabinets to floppy disks. In no time, companies moved from floppy discs to backup drives, and now everything is migrating to cloud computing services.

All cloud computing services fall into four main categories. The four categories include:

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

You can choose any of the four services depending on the needs of your business.

Today we are focusing on DaaS, which is also known as the cloud desktop service. DaaS offers a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that is hosted by a third-party cloud service provider and is typically based on a monthly subscription fee model.

When researching more information on the cloud desktop, you’ll be inundated with articles about VDI and cloud desktop as a service so it’s important to first know the basic difference between the two services.

Difference between cloud desktops as a service (DaaS) and VDI

The difference between cloud desktops and VDI can be compared to the difference between leasing a car or buying one.

With DaaS, your chosen service provider manages your virtual infrastructure, meaning your internal IT departments no longer have responsibility for the network, the servers, the user desktops, and the hosted applications (depending on which of the main four cloud computing service you choose).

About cloud desktops (DaaS)

A cloud desktop is essentially a web-based desktop. Cloud desktops harness the power of the internet to provide you easy access to your company files and applications from any device that’s connected to the internet.

Traditionally, applications and files were kept on a physical computer or in a drive.

With the cloud desktop, company files and applications now exist in a shared system that is easy to access. Using the cloud desktop is as simple as opening an app on your iPhone.

7 benefits of migrating to DaaS or a cloud desktop:

 

1. Availability

Most of the campaigns you see for cloud desktop services sound something like “access your device wherever, whenever” or, “any time, anywhere”.

This is because cloud desktop isn’t bound to a device or office. The only thing you need to access the desktop is a connection to the internet. This provides more flexibility and freedom for your employees. Need to work from home or forgot to finish up a project before leaving for the day? Just sign-on when you get home and wrap up what is needed.

Also, the ability to work remotely has proven to improve company morale which is why so many businesses are providing an option to work from home.

2. Reduced hardware expenses

When onboarding new employees, you need additional desktop computers and/or laptops for remote work. With a cloud desktop system, you save on those costs as well as the initial setup costs.

Switching to the cloud desktop means that license upgrades and servers are removed from your budget almost entirely, allowing you to use your capital for other investments.

Maintaining and upgrading traditional hardware is costly. Cloud service systems are updated rapidly and cost-effectively, rather than every few years.

3. Reduced IT Costs

Every functioning business needs a good team of IT professionals to fix program or hardware issues. But, if your desktop and company laptops are at a minimum then you can use your IT spend elsewhere.

When your desktop is on the cloud, you spend less time maintaining and managing your IT system. You would only require the services of your cloud desktop service provider and a small IT team to deal with other internal IT needs.

4. Centralized Data

Have you ever spent hours looking for files or information on several drives or different computers? With a cloud desktop, data is held in a central place.

Locating files is as simple as searching the main network that everyone is on. This reduces the time and effort wasted on locating important documents.

5. Collaborative work environment

The cloud desktop helps you and your employees save 3 steps when sharing files.

The old way of sharing files:

  • asking for a file
  • the employee looking for it (when they see your email)
  • The employee sending the file (if they remember where they stored it)

The new way of sharing files:

  • you can now simply access files yourself because files are saved to one central location

This is instrumental in improving productivity by giving you the ability to seamlessly share folders, documents, and calendars across your team.

6. Data Safety:

A sound example of desktop security versus cloud security is the difference between keeping your money under your mattress rather than in a secure bank.

The former makes you feel safe because it’s within your control, while the latter is safe because it’s kept secure by professionals who specialize in keeping up to date on defenses against those trying to infiltrate that security.

It’s a common myth the cloud computing is LESS secure than traditional data storage because companies no longer have complete control over the storage. Research has debunked this myth.

Data has shown that the physical location of your data matters less than the means of access. If you’re interested in data safety: here is a good article about how data security in the cloud is more secure than traditional methods.

7. Disaster Relief and Prevention: Business Continuity

When hardware goes down or files get destroyed through malfunction or disaster they are gone forever.

When hurricane sandy hit in NJ, countless companies were forced to close because of the disaster. If your company has important data stored on computers, you’re putting your company at risk. (article on disaster recovery here

Within the cloud, data is not deleted and it can easily be recovered.

As you can see, the cloud desktop offers solutions to common concerns and it advances a company’s success in a myriad of ways. From everyday office use to remote employees, security, and data loss prevention, the cloud covers it all.

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You might also like the following articles:

Short cybersecurity webinar here.

Cybersecurity article here.

Case study about cloud and cybersecurity fostered growth in a leading organization here.

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Read more about related services:

Disaster relief services here.

Cloud services here.

Cybersecurity services here.

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Do not hesitate to reach out if you have interest in hearing more about how cloud computing services can make a positive impact on your business:

Number: (855) 646-3267

Email: [email protected]

Reaching for the Stars Starts in a Classroom

THE GIRL SCOUTS OF Northern New Jersey now offer 30 new national Girl Scout badges exclusively for girls ages five to 18 at CIANJ member County College of Morris (CCM), a nationally designated center of excellence for cybersecurity education. Nine of the 30 new Girl Scout badges focus on cybersecurity, which is one of the focuses of this issue (see page 40).

The badges—which recognize the study of cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science and space exploration—were made possible by CCM’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. CCM is the only community college in New Jersey to hold that designation.

“Career opportunities in this well-paying and rewarding field are growing, as the need for protecting information only becomes more critical,” explains CCM President Dr. Anthony J. Iacono. “Teaching girls about this field at an early age is one of the most effective ways to increase the number of women in cybersecurity.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are predicted to increase 17 percent by 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth in non-STEM-related occupations. In anticipation of its 60th Anniversary next month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) gave $1.4 million to help minority-serving colleges—including CIANJ member Passaic County Community College—develop new STEM courses.

Passaic County Community College’s “Takes Flight” curriculum will focus on avionics technology and will revise the college’s existing “Introduction to Engineering” course to include basic avionics concepts such as navigation and landing systems, weather radar, transponders and flight control systems.

NASA’s Innovations in Space Technology Curriculum awards align with the priorities of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), which is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering new technologies and capabilities the agency needs for current and future space missions.

In addition, NASA recently selected 20 research and technology proposals—valued at $15 million—from 19 American small businesses. Each is partnering with research institutions for Phase II of NASA’s competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

STTR supports NASA’s future missions into deep space and benefits the U.S. economy. Selected proposals will sup-port the development of technologies in the areas of aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations and space technology. The awards are for small companies partnering with research institutions from across the country—including New Jersey.

“Our STTR program focuses both entrepreneurs and leading research institutions on NASA’s long-term goals, bringing the latest in aerospace research to our programs,” says Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator for STMD.

Small businesses have created approximately 55 percent of all jobs in the United States since the 1970s. The STTR program encourages small businesses and research institutions to develop innovative ideas that meet the specific research and development needs of the federal government. The program is intended to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, increase the commercial application of research results, encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small businesses, and foster technology transfer through cooperative research and development between small businesses and research institutions.

From NASA’s big ideas to more everyday applications of technology for businesses, the future of the economy is being driven by the STEM fields of study. That’s why this issue’s Annual Higher Education Roundtable (see page 26) focuses on this area, and why colleges and universities continue to invest in the degrees that will address the careers of a new generation. Reaching for the stars literally starts in a classroom.

 

STEM Education Programs Prepare Future Leaders for Technology-Driven Careers

ACCORDING TO THE U.S Department of Commerce, jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are pre­dicted to increase 17 percent by 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth in non-STEM-related occupations. For this rea­son, COMMERCE asked the presidents of New Jersey’s top colleges and univer­sities to discuss their STEM programs and how they are preparing future leaders for technology-driven careers.

Berkeley College

By Michael J. Smith, President

Today, every student and graduate must be familiar with technology changing at an acceler­ated pace. Berkeley College’s mission of empowering students to achieve life­long success in dynamic careers gives our graduates a distinct competitive advan­tage. Students are taught by faculty experienced in academia, as well as in the workplace. Assignments are work­force-related. In the School of Health Studies’ Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, laboratories simulate the real-life work­ing environment. Physicians and other medical professionals comprise the fac­ulty who oversee lab assignments relat­ed to anatomy and physiology, pharma­cology and so forth. The Larry L. Luing School of Business®, integrates business management courses into the curricu­lum in majors such as Information Technology Management in Database Management or Web Design, so stu­dents become familiar with real-world employer demands.

County College of Morris

By Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President

During the past academic year, County College of Morris (CCM) trained more than 5,000 individuals through our Workforce Development programs. As part of those efforts, we held roundtable ses­sions with businesses to address the need for skilled professionals. Addition-ally, we have launched a $2.25 million campaign to provide the facilities to prepare students to excel in our technol­ogy-driven world. Through that cam­paign, we will be constructing an Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Center and Healthcare Simulation Center, featuring state-of-the-art equip­ment. Also, in the area of STEM, we are expanding our Cyber Security programs to meet the demand for employees and an educated public. Plus, we provide hundreds of students each year with internships and practical learning oppor­tunities, while our Women Who Dare program serves to encourage young women to enter STEM.

Drew University

By Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger, President

Our STEM students have the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with former industry scientists such as Dr. William Campbell, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine, and faculty researchers— both during the academic year and fulltime over the summer. They work closely with mentors to publish in peer-reviewed journals before they graduate and to win awards from organizations such as Yale University, the Goldwater Foundation and the National Science Foundation. These experiences result in Drew STEM students achieving presti­gious positions at employers such as Google, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and Pfizer, as well as leading graduate schools, including Stanford, Columbia, Princeton and Cornell.

Eastwick College

By Tom Eastwick, President

Eastwick College has been providing training in information technology and electronics for more than 50 years, so we’re especially proactive in keeping our curriculum current in an industry that can experience major technological shifts in the span of just a year or two. In our latest efforts to enhance our STEM studies and provide our graduates with an advan­tage in the job market, we have integrated a number of new and upcoming technologies to our computer elec­tronics certificate and associate degree paths of study, including wireless, mobile and fiber optics. The associate degree also features Comp TIA certification in Network+ and Security+, two areas that have become critical for the safe and efficient exchange of data and information within the modern workplace.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

By Dr. Christopher Capuano, President

Our strategic plan places strong emphasis on student outcomes and career prepared­ness—especially to students in STEM-relat­ed fields. We want to help them stand out among their peers by preparing them with leadership opportunities and solid work and internship experience. Specifically, for jobs in the tech industry, we’ve recently renovated spaces into specialized laboratories, including a soils lab, an advanced manufacturing lab, a materials-testing lab, a fluids and HVAC lab, an electrical wiring lab, a 3-D printing lab, an electronics lab, a green energy lab and a digital arts studio. We added a Mechanical Engineering degree for undergraduates and a Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree for graduate stu­dents. Our School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences con­tinues to expand. Our Master of Public Health program was approved by the New Jersey Presidents’ Council.

Felician University

By Dr. Anne Prisco, President

The best competitive advantage we can offer our students is to first provide an education that includes and reflects the level of technology seen in the workplace today. From our state-of-the-art nursing simulation center, to our trading room in the School of Business, to our Cyber-security lab, students receive an education infused with the latest technologies. The second advantage of Felician is that we support our students in their academic careers through opportunities such as scholar­ships, internships, experiential learning, and research projects with faculty. The outcomes of this are graduates who are consistently sought after in their respec­tive fields, because they possess the entrepreneurial thinking and technolog­ical skills required in today’s workforce.

Kean University

By Dr. Dawood Farahi, President

Kean University STEM programs are designed to give students a competitive advantage in this technology-driven job market. Our New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics provides a unique program structured around multi-disciplinary core studies in mathe­matics, biology, chemistry and physics. It is integrated with hands-on, authentic research experiences under the guidance of a mentor from freshman year until graduation. This approach provides our students with a strong foundation in sci­ence and technology, command of technical application, and deep re-search experience that makes them highly attractive to prospective employ­ers and graduate programs. Kean pre­pares our graduates to be responsive and productive in our dynamic, chang­ing landscape. Successful career place­ment is one of the hallmarks of our STEM-related programs.

Monmouth University

By Dr. Grey J. Dimenna, President

Monmouth University recently completed an 18-month, $40 million renovation of our Edison Science Building. The project embodies our commitment toward STEM education, especially because our general education requirements bring all students into the building for at least four classes during their undergraduate career. A critical component was $5 mil­lion in state funding through New Jersey’s Building Our Future Act and Capital Improvement Fund. In June we significantly expanded our marine sci­ence capabilities with the acquisition of the 49-foot R/V Nauvoo, providing a major boost for hands-on research for our faculty, students and regional partners. We have also entered into an agreement with the Borough of Rumson to construct a $7 million Marine and Environmental Field Station on the Navesink River, where faculty will collab­orate on STEM programming for K-12 students.

Montclair State University

By Dr. Susan A. Cole, President

We support experiential learning opportunities in more than 90 science-related majors, minors and concentrations, and students benefit from research and training experiences with modern instrumenta­tion and technology for entry into the STEM workforce. The NSF-funded STEM PIONEERS program provides a year of discovery as well as mentoring and aca­demic support for first-generation col­lege students interested in science careers. The PSEG Institute for Sustain-ability Studies provides students real-world internships with New Jersey busi­nesses, municipalities and community groups to solve sustainability problems through its Green Teams program. New opportunities for students continueto expand in new fields, such as Cyber-security and Data Science, and the School of Nursing has increased its offerings to include a Master of Science in Nursing graduate program and a four-year Bachelor of Science degree.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

By Dr. Joel Bloom, President

Technology is both the foundation of our global economy and the catalyst for its growth, across all business sectors. NJIT is one of only 32 polytechnic universities in the nation, so we specialize in preparing students in the STEM disciplines to thrive professionally. We maintain close relations with industry-leading corpora­tions in order to assure that our gradu­ates have the skills employers seek. As a result, our graduates are in great demand. They average nearly three job offers prior to graduation and starting salaries nearly 20 percent higher than the national average. This has made NJIT #1 in the United States for student upward economic mobility and among the top 2 percent for student return on investment.

Ocean County College

By Dr. Jon H. Larson, President

Said the late English theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking: “We live in a bewildering world.” But science—this discipline of reason and of romance—lights our way. At Ocean County College, we strive to promote research and experimenta­tion in the sciences, technology, engi­neering and mathematics. In that vein, OCC has devised a multi-faceted STEM Center for our campus in Toms River. The facility will involve learners in interactive instructional activities and in laboratories equipped with cutting- edge instrumentation, and it will seam­lessly merge resources to grow the STEM student pipeline, deliver engaging educational opportunities and create a network of resources for exist­ing businesses and startups. Through local partnerships, and the enrichment of our degree programs, we endeavor to encourage students of all ages to consider a STEM career.

Ramapo College of New Jersey

By Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President

Ramapo College, like many of its peer institutions, has made substantial investments in the STEM disciplines. We have excellent facilities and faculty and many of our graduates go on to outstanding professional and graduate schools. However, we also encourage avoidance of the American obsession with STEM education. Leaving aside the question of whether a “tech­nology-driven career” might be as arid as it sounds, I subscribe to the views expressed by Fareed Zakaria in a Washington Post article dated March 26, 2015: “A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross-fertilization. Yes, sci­ence and technology are crucial compo­nents of this education, but so are English and philosophy.”

Thomas Edison State University

By Dr. Merodie Hancock, President

Many of our programs meet the needs of those seeking, or already immersed in, careers where opportunity is fueled by technology-related skills and leadership acumen. Our School of Applied Science and Technology’s offerings encompass associ­ate to master’s degree programs in information technology, engineering technology, data management, cyberse­curity, aviation and health technology. Our W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing’s programs are a cornerstone for nurses seeking flexible pre-licensure through doctorate degree program options that enrich their careers and position them to lead healthcare transformation. Our School of Business and Management has developed career-focused undergradu­ate and master’s programs in account­ing, data analytics, finance and health­care management. Across all our areas of study, students can leverage their STEM-related career skills by earning equivalent academic credits for their professional licenses, certifications and military training.

Union County College

By Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, President

We are continually evalu­ating programs of study and course offerings to best meet the needs of the STEM job market. Faculty utilize experiential learning as well as project-based learning across the STEM disciplines to help students better understand career opportunities. Union students in the engineering and archi­tecture programs have access to soft­ware such as MATLab and 3D printers to help them build their design portfolios. Our students in the STEM programs have access to research leaders through specialized seminar talks and the opportunity for networking and mentorship. Additionally, our students are exposed to graduate programs and the career opportunities that follow. This past year, Union launched a new program in cyber forensics, which is a rapidly growing STEM field with a need for qualified professionals.

William Paterson University

By Dr. Richard J. Helldobler, President

Our degree programs include biology, biotechnology, chemistry, environmental science, computer science, computer infor­mation technology, mathematics, sustainability, materi­als chemistry and actuarial sciences. Our programs focus on opportunities for students to conduct research direct­ly with faculty, often leading to conference presenta­tions and publication in peer-reviewed journals. We are increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minori­ties in STEM programs through our leading role in the National Science Foundation-funded Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Our active Women in Science and Engineering Program, with sup­port from Becton Dickinson, encourages talented women to explore science careers and develop leader­ship skills. Our close connections with alumni and friends at STEM-related companies and on our College of Science and Health Advisory Board help us realign curriculum to industry needs and provide STEM-specific career development networking programs.