Patriot Cloud Conference 2020

November 7, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Zoom Webinar
Marie Nzi or Alisha Sharma

Patriot Cloud Conference is all-women speaker conference about cloud computing, hosted by Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at George Mason University. Our Cloud Conference will provide college students with insight into today’s growing field of cloud computing. With the increase in globalization, it is crucial for the next generation to be aware of, not only the complexity and risks of cloud computing, but also the opportunities, achievements, and importance in cloud computing that affect their daily lives. In response to COVID-19, we will be hosting PCC virtually to keep our attendees safe!

Over the duration of 5 hours, binary and non-binary people are immersed in newly adopted tech culture and encouraged to learn to use of cloud computing tools such AWS and more.

Activity Start End
Pre-Conference Presentation 10:00 am 10:30 am
Opening Ceremony 10:30 am 11:10 am
Session 1 11:15 am 11:55 am
Session 2 12:00 pm 12:40 pm
Lunch + Presentation 12:45 pm 1:30 pm
Session 3 1:35 pm 2:15 pm
Closing Ceremony 2:20 pm 3:00 pm

About the Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers at George Mason University believe in empowering women to reach their highest potential by providing access to academic, professional, STEM- focused opportunities. As we empower women in the STEM field, we also inspire them to be a part of a strong support system here at George Mason University.


10:00AM-10:30AM | Pre-Conference
  • Cloud Conference Logistics by Maya+Shruti  
10:30AM-11:10AM | Opening Ceremony | Keynote Speaker - 30 mins 
  • Significance of the Cloud Conference  by Brandee Daly - CEO of C2S Consulting 
11:15AM-11:55AM | Session 1 - 40 minutes  12:00PM-12:40PM | Session 2- 40 minutes 
  • AWS |  Machine Learning on AWS – Amazon SageMaker Deep Dive by Emily Webber 
  • IBM | Kubernetes everywhere: Extreme adoption of Kubernetes and the impact on cloud computing by Briana Frank
  • Salesforce | Culture and Platform for Innovation in the Cloud by Brian Coughlin 
  • NTT Data Services | Rapid Moves to the Cloud - Securing the New Normal by Sushila Nair & Scott Vachal
  • Microsoft | Artificial Intelligence Overview: An introduction to AI by Gianna Mondragon  
12:45PM-1:30PM| Lunch & Presentation- 40 minutes 
  • AWS | Demystifying Tech Careers by Yuriko, Horvath
  • AWS | How to accelerate your Career in the Cloud Industry  by Mo Zaman 
1:35PM-2:15PM | Session 3- 40 minutes 
  • Accenture | Fireside Chat with Accenture Cloud Leaders by Eliane + Malek + Mahwish - Moderator: Suehaila
  • AWS | Building a Data Lake on AWS    by JianJun 
  • Perspecta | Challenges and Solutions for AI at Scale by Patrick Biltgen
  • Booz Allen Hamilton | Securely Migrating Large Organizations to the Cloud: From Strategy to Production  by Jyoti Wadhwa, Briana Hogan & Briana Lohman
2:20PM-2:50PM | Closing Ceremony | Future of Cloud Computing 
  • Hitachi Ventara Federal | Cloud Computing – the Accelerator for a Data-driven world by Pragyansmita Nayak - Chief Data Scientist at Hitachi Ventara Federal 
  • Closing Statement by Maya
10:00AM-10:30AM | Pre-Conference Cloud Conference Logistics by Maya and Shruti  
10:30AM-10:35AM | Welcome Remarks from Mason - Aurali Dade
Aurali Dade is the Associate Vice President for Research Innovation at George Mason University. As Associate Vice President, Dade is responsible for developing and implementing university strategy for fostering a dynamic, supportive and growing research ecosystem. Dade provides leadership for the Research and Innovation Initiatives (RII) team which includes programs, offices, centers and institutes that are focused on supporting, connecting, communicating about, and convening researchers internally and with external partners.

Dr. Dade has a PhD in Environmental Science, an MS in Biology, and a BS in Environmental Biology.

10:35AM-10:40AM | Kickoff Conference - Atif Qarni
Prior to his appointment as Governor Northam’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni taught at Beville Middle School in Prince William County, leading courses in civics, economics, US History, and mathematics. He also served as a GED Night School Instructor. In 2016, Atif was recognized as the Dale City Teacher of the Year. In addition to his work as an educator, Atif is a former Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps, and was deployed to Iraq in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served at the state level, having been appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Small Business Commission in 2013.

Secretary Qarni hold a Bachelor’s in Sociology from George Washington University as well as a Master’s in History and teaching license from George Mason University.

10:40AM-11:10AM | Opening Ceremony - 30 mins

Keynote Speaker | Significance of the Cloud Conference- Brandee Daly

Brandee Daly is a seasoned technology executive with more than 25 years of experience leveraging her technological innovation, program improvement, and strategic thinking skills to build successful teams and businesses. As the CEO of C2S Consulting Group, Ms. Daly has helped hundreds of businesses and public sector organizations successfully migrate, manage and optimize their technology and cloud infrastructure. Today, Ms. Daly is a recognized leader within the Intelligence Community (IC) and Department of Defense community in cloud migration and management strategy including technology innovations such as AI/ML and data lakes. C2S Consulting Group was just confirmed as a finalist for the 2020 GovCon Awards for Contracting Company of the Year.

Prior to founding C2S Consulting Group, Ms. Daly served as the executive account manager of Amazon Web Services (AWS), where she managed sales, adoption, and executive relationships across IC government programs. At AWS, Ms. Daly saw a need for assistance in secure cloud services by business and government agencies. The larger trend toward organizations’ need for assistance in cloud migration and management inspired her to establish C2S Consulting Group as a solution.

Prior to joining AWS, Ms. Daly held systems architect and program management positions with Microsoft, the Central Intelligence Agency, Wolters Kluwer and Pricewaterhouse Cooper, among others

Ms. Daly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems & Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona. She has also earned a Master of Business Administration degree, with a specialization in Management of Global Information Technology, from American University. Ms. Daly has received numerous industry awards for her determined pursuit of excellence, including the Federal 100 Award for “Leading the Cloud Migration Flock”, multiple Performance and Leadership awards from the CIA, and the Encore Award for Excellence

11:15AM-11:55AM | Session 1 - 40 minutes 

Northrop Grumman | The Fundamental Aspects of Cloud Operating Models

Cloud services and technologies are fantastic technological enablers. However, the success associated with their use is highly dependent upon the proper configuration of an organization’s cloud operating model. A successful model involves two critical components. First, organizations must have a solid understanding of all of the supporting services and technologies underwriting each of the cloud deployment and service models. Secondly, cloud operating models must be constructed and configured in accordance with historic best practices associated with governance, security, operations, and economics.

In this discussion, Robert Weiner, corporate cloud strategist and architect, Northrop Grumman, will discuss—and answer questions—around these basic principles.

Robert Weiner serves as the corporate cloud strategist and architect for Northrop Grumman’s Enterprise Services organization.

In his capacity, Mr. Weiner is responsible for synthesizing and implementing strategies and tactics associated with cloud technologies to support Northrop Grumman operations and its government customers. His responsibilities include developing people, processes, policy, and technology governance around the company’s cloud operating model. Mr. Weiner also serves as the company’s chief cloud architect and is responsible for developing and communicating the architectural and engineering standards associated with the governance, security, operations, and economic principles guiding the use of cloud services and technologies.

Mr. Weiner earned his bachelor’s in computer technologies and information systems from the University of Mary Washington, and his master’s of business administration at George Mason University.

12:00PM-12:40PM | Session 2- 40 minutes

AWS | Machine Learning with Sagemaker 

Ever wondered what it looks like when the world’s leading cloud provider puts their muscle into joining forces with the academic community and builds a scalable platform for building, training, and deploying machine learning models? Enter Amazon SageMaker. Join us for an action-packed walk-through of the major SageMaker highlights – you’ll learn how to decouple your development environment with SageMaker Studio, package your scripts as models, distribute and tune them, and build end-to-end applications for high throughput and low latency.

By:EmilyWebber Emily Webber has been leading the development of machine learning applications for over six years. She started working with Rayid Ghani at the Data Science for Social Good Foundation, then joined the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank as a data scientist. At AWS she helps build SageMaker working from the customer backwards, guiding hundreds of customers successfully on their ML and cloud journey. She mentors start-ups at 1871, and is currently an adjunct professor of computer science and applied mathematics at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Salesforce | Salesforce: Culture and Platform for Innovation in the Cloud

IBM | Kubernetes everywhere: Extreme adoption of Kubernetes and the impact on cloud computing

Kubernetes is one of the fastest growing open source projects and for good reason. In this talk we'll address trends in cloud computing, the rise of Kubernetes and the driving factors. We'll take a look a common client use cases driving Kubernetes adoption not only in the public cloud but everywhere.

By: Briana Frank Briana lead the team that built the IBM Cloud Kubernetes service in 5 months and now manages 10’s of thousands of clusters worldwide. Briana believes in creating exceptional user experiences that enable users to build and innovate on IBM Cloud.  Briana managed services which include the  IBM Cloud Kubernetes service, registry, Istio, monitoring, logging, activity tracker, event streams and IBM Cloud Functions. Briana directed incubation teams within IBM Cloud and owned Marketing and Design for a startup which achieved double digital annual growth. Briana builds high performance teams that make data driven decisions. 

NTT Data Services | Rapid Moves to the Cloud - Securing the New Normal

COVID-19 has accelerated the move to the cloud. Organizations have been propelled into a new paradigm. The cloud offers many advantages and some challenges in a work from anywhere environment. This session focuses on how to leverage the strength of the cloud whilst reducing risk and increasing governance.

Join this session to learn about:
- Tactical steps to understand how to lower operational cost
- Leverage conditional access and stop shadow IT
- Manage multiple clouds from a technical and cost perspective
- Bring governance into your cloud environment
- Build a security roadmap for controls
- Use Zero Trust to secure the work from home model

By:Sushila Nair Sushila Nair is on the board of the GWDC, the Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter of ISACA and plays an active role in supporting best practices and skills development within the cybersecurity community.

Sushila has worked as a Chief Information Security Officer for ten years and has twenty years’ experience in computing infrastructure, business and security. Sushila has consulted in many diverse areas including telecommunications, risk analysis, credit card fraud, and has served as a legal expert witness. She has worked with the insurance industry in Europe and America on methods of underwriting e-risk insurance based on ISO27001.

She has published numerous articles in the computing press on risk and security, and has spoken at Segurinfo, CACS, TechMentor, FinSec and many other global technical events on diverse subjects ranging from managing risk to designing security baselines.

By:Scott Vachal Scott Vachal applies his more than 30 years of financial, managerial, and cyber security/IT experience to assist mid-sized companies transition to the cloud environment. Mr. Vachal has consulted for a full range of companies, from Fortune 500, such as AT&T and Dun & Bradstreet, to mid-sized and small businesses. He currently is owner and client executive for Soter Cloud Solutions, which provides selection, migration, and management of cloud services for entities. Mr. Vachal is a regular presenter at professional conferences and moderator of panel discussions.
Microsoft | Artificial Intelligence Overview: An introduction to AI

Artificial intelligence is growing exponentially and becoming a key player in every sector where is implemented. This session will cover AI fundamental concepts, AI importance and application at present time and in the future. Also, a quick look into Microsoft products for AI development and integration, and finally, concerns around AI and ethical AI.

Gianna Mondragon (Ja-nina Mondhragon) is an Azure Developer Support Engineer at Microsoft. She has 14 years of experience in IT roles. And she works providing support and advisory to customers and coworkers. She is a mentor and readiness lead who helps peers grow their technical and soft skills. She has a background supporting Microsoft Products and leading Technical Teams in multinational organizations. She participates in inclusion groups such as Women at Microsoft and GLEAM. She is an enthusiastic, passionate person, who is also a sports fan, music lover, a little bit of a gamer, and a rock singer. She loves her dogs.

She is a Computer Science/Engineering graduate from the University of Costa Rica, and is a Microsoft certified Solutions Expert (MSCE), Kebner Tregoe Specialist (KT), a Microsoft Certified Trainer and an Azure Solutions Architect Expert.

12:45AM-1:30PM| Lunch + Presentation- 40 minutes 

AWS | Demystifying Tech Careers

People tend to think about software development when it comes to tech careers when there are many roles outside software development that are as important if not more so.  This session will review the tech careers that surround getting a product from idea to implementation, then implementation to mass adoption in the world.  We will cover how to pivot to these roles and the skills and traits that lend to success in these careers.

By: Yuriko, Horvath leads a team of Amazon Web Services Solutions Architects focused on universities and research.  Her team has helped large universities migrate research applications and data centers to the cloud.  Yuriko has worked as a web application developer for over 20 years and started her cloud journey back in 2009 helping innovate and modernize the news industry through AWS adoption. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in CS .
AWS | How to accelerate your Career in the Cloud Industry 

The technology is moving at such a rapid pace, where a professional career needs prescriptive guidance to be successful. In this talk, you will learn how to prepare and continue to strive with innovative technologies. We will discuss the methods to be utilized to be always raising the bar; and blend in the culture for growth and scale.

By:Mo ZamanMohammad Zaman has been in the IT industry over 30 years, focusing on Cloud, Security, Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is currently leading the Solutions Architecture team at Amazon Web Services. In Bangladesh, he is the founder of CloudCamp Bangladesh, a non profit organization assisting technology students preparing for workforce readiness. Prior to his work at Amazon Web Services, he worked for Virtustream, a Dell business as Director of Solutions Architecture team, Verizon as the Sr. Manager of Solutions Architecture team, Logicworks as the Senior Director of Global Solutions, and SAVVIS as the Director of Solutions Consulting. He has written a number of articles and white papers related to cloud computing, security, business continuity, and disaster recovery. He also serves as a member of a number of Industry Advisory Boards.

Mohammad holds a BS in Business Administration and an MBA in Global Technology Management. He is also certified in several fields, including CISSP, ITIL, COBIT, FRAAP, MCSE, CCNA, and CCDA.

1:35PM-2:15PM | Session 3- 40 minutes 

Accenture | Cloud Computing Women’s Panel -Eliane, Malek, Mahwish, (Suehaila) - Shruti 

By:Elaine Turville is Managing Director for Accenture's Department of Agriculture Practice. Turville has worked with Accenture for over 24 years. As part of providing management and technology consulting to the Department of Agriculture, she feels Accenture makes a significant impact in the Agriculture sector, bringing the best commercial practices to help transform the way the world works and lives. 

Outside of her daily activities, she supports Accenture's local corporate citizenship program, which provides skills-based volunteering programs to small, local, community nonprofits. She was selected by Consulting magazine in 2010 with a Future Leader award, recognized as a top female leader in the technology industry by Women in Technology in 2014, and honored with a 40 under 40 award by Leadership Arlington, where she serves on the Board of Regents for the Leadership Center for Excellence.  In 2020, Elaine was selected as a Fed100 for her work at USDA on their department -wide analytics, contact center, and initiatives. She holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from the College of William and Mary, and works from Accenture's Washington, D.C. office.

Dr. Malek Ben Salem is a technology executive and the Americas Security R&D lead for Accenture. She works on building innovative AI and security technologies helping organizations reduce their risk and to proactively adhere to digital ethics principles in order to earn clients’ trust—going beyond a compliance-driven security approach. Her research covers AI and IoT security, Trustworthy AI, data protection, security analytics, and cloud and mobile security. Dr. Ben Salem holds a PhD and a MSc in Computer Science from Columbia University, New York, a Dipl.-Ing. in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Hanover, Germany, and a certificate in Technology Strategy from the MIT Sloan School of Business.

Mahwaish Hamlani has over 13 years of experience in leading and delivering large, complex technical and business programs for Accenture's commercial and federal clients. Her goal is to help our clients pivot to the New by implementing emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things (IoT), Fintech, robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In addition, she leads several Inclusion & Diversity initiatives within the firm and the recipient of the 2019 Washington DC Women in Technology Leadership Award.

Booz Allen Hamilton |  Securely Migrating Large Organizations to the Cloud: From Strategy to Production - Brianna Hogan

Brianna Hogan is a Cloud Security Engineer with extensive experience in developing and implementing secure cloud architectures, cloud-hosted Software and Platforms-as-a-service, technical requirements analysis and design, and data analysis/visualization. She possesses more than four years of professional experience in technical disciplines that range from developing automated security solutions in the cloud to nuclear physics research. She has recently supported civil, commercial, and defense clients that include: the Department of Treasury, the DoD, the Intelligence Community, and large, international financial organizations. Through these engagements, Ms. Hogan has successfully led technical implementations of secure cloud solutions using Amazon Web Services; Microsoft Azure; Google Cloud Platform; other DevSecOps tools such as CloudFormation, Jenkins, Git, Splunk Phantom; and orchestration through Software-as-a-Service platforms such as ServiceNow. Ms. Hogan graduated from the University of Virginia where she earned a B.S. in physics and a B.A. in French.

Brianna Lohman graduated from Lehigh University with a BS in Bioengineering and a Masters in Healthcare Systems Engineering. Upon graduation, she pursued a career at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she supported the website, where she engaged and ensured stakeholder communication in order to understand the global vision of the healthcare marketplace. During her time on she supported a full migration to the cloud from on-prem environments. Brianna is now supporting the website as a project manager. SWE member through freshman high school and college and hired through swe.

Jyoti Wadhwa is an experienced digital and cyber mission leader managing the design and implementation of digital transformation and modernization programs for large enterprises.  She works directly with the C-suite, technologists and business unit heads on defining cloud strategies to meet mission objectives, ensuring industry-specific security and risk compliances, creating innovative DevSecOps architectures and enhancing project talent.  She has 17+ years of leadership experience in both commercial and government across many business sectors.  Jyoti has a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia and holds the CISSP, HCISSP certifications .  Jyoti is an active volunteer for women in technology initiatives.
AWS | Building a Data Lake on AWS

Data lake is becoming the preferred way to store and analyze large structured and/or unstructured datasets in one centralized repository.  Because data can be stored as-is, there is no need to convert it to a predefined schema. Through a centralized data catalog, customers can perform query, build dashboards and visualizations on the datasets and integrate other analytics platforms with the data lake. AWS provides the most secure, scalable, comprehensive, and cost-effective portfolio of services that enable customers to build their data lake in the cloud at any scale. In this short session, we will introduce to you the services involved in building a data lake on AWS. 

By: Dr. Jianjun Xu was an astrophysicist and a senior software development executive in EdTech before he joined AWS as a senior solutions architect working with several large US universities and colleges. He specializes in software development, big data, artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), and high-performance computing (HPC). Jianjun enjoys interacting with researchers, instructors, students and higher education administrators to discuss challenges, opportunities, and technology solutions in higher education.

Perspecta | Challenges and Solutions for AI at Scale

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have reached legendary buzzword status. This domain is rapidly growing and University students with expertise in big data, cloud computing, and AI are in high demand. Patrick Biltgen, Director of Analytics at Perspecta, reviews some common challenges with scaling AI to meet real-world problem constraints. Through a diverse set of examples, Dr. Biltgen will review the state-of-the-art in computer vision, anomaly detection, pattern matching, and other related disciplines and stimulate thoughtful discussion about new enabling technologies for self-driving vehicles, enabling human-machine teams, and discovering the unknown.

By Patrick Biltgen is the Analytics Offering Family Lead at Perspecta. He leads research and development efforts for machine learning, artificial intelligence, modeling, and Internet-of-Things (Iot) capabilities. Biltgen holds a bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He spent six years at BAE Systems where, as the senior mission engineer, he implemented a revolutionary method for data correlation and discovery of the unknown for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. As a researcher in the Georgia Tech Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), he developed an approach to simultaneously optimize aircraft technology and tactics using artificial intelligence. He served in a technical leadership role for data integration, predictive analytics, and distributed processing programs for multiple Government agencies. In 2016, Dr. Biltgen published Activity-Based Intelligence: Principles and Applications, the first unclassified textbook on this contemporary intelligence tradecraft. Biltgen is a recipient of the INSA Edwin Land Industry Award, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence, and the National Intelligence Integration Award.

2:20PM-3:00PM | Closing Ceremony | Future of Cloud Computing

Hitachi Ventara Federal | Cloud Computing – the Accelerator for a Data-driven world

Data-driven solutions are increasingly being applied in literally every industry and domain of expertise. The prime factor that is accelerating this adoption and agile implementation is the wide availability, ease of access to cloud computing within reasonable financial constraints. Infrastructure-, software- and platform- as an accessible convenience was not possible pre-cloud “as a service” (XaaS) days without having to go through multiple hoops and roadblocks involving IT strategy and Purchasing justification arguments losing valuable time and opportunity. Big Data and the associated complexity resulting from the varying data types (structured, unstructured and semi-structured) as well as the large computing resource and storage intensive needs of advanced analytics applications adds a different dimension to the pressing needs of a data focused solution architecture. Cloud-based services render the solution development process smoother as well as provide the much-needed support for increasingly scalable and resilient execution 24X7.

Pragyansmita Nayak is Chief Data Scientist at Hitachi Vantara Federal (HVF), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Vantara. She has over 20+ years of experience in software development and data science-related research and development. She holds a Ph.D. in Computational Sciences and Informatics from College of Science, George Mason University (GMU) and Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on the application of Machine Learning techniques such as Bayesian Networks for redshift estimation
2:50PM-3:00PM | Closing Statement Maya and Kammy 

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