University of Maryland

Katie Summers, Mark Nordby and Mitchell Peterson are three members of UT’s team competing in an urban design competition (Yishuen Lo and Tarek Salloum are not pictured). The interdisciplinary graduate student team was recently named a finalist alongside Georgia Tech, the University of Maryland and Harvard.

Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

Students from UT have been named as finalists in an urban design competition alongside groups from Georgia Tech, the University of Maryland and Harvard.

The Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition tasks graduate student teams with creating a design proposal that promotes healthy living for a designated city, with Nashville, Tenn., as this year’s location. The contest requires interdisciplinary cooperation between varied majors to assist with the financial aspect of land development.

UT’s team, led by landscape architecture graduate student Katie Summers, includes architecture graduate student Yishuen Lo, business administration graduate student Tarek Salloum, architecture graduate student Mitchell Peterson and architecture graduate student Mark Christopher Nordby. The faculty advisor for the group is architecture professor Simon Atkinson.

Summers said the collaboration between architecture and business helped to diversify the team’s final product.

“We pulled our individual strengths together. We all had a hand in each pieces’ development,” Summers said. “I think that’s what makes our team so strong, our ability to build upon one another.”

Salloum, a business graduate student, said becoming a finalist came as a surprise to him.

“Whenever I received the email from [Summers], I could not believe it at first,” Salloum said. “It was surreal for me. The first picture that came to mind was our first meeting back in November at Caffe Medici. Here we are, after four months, and a dream is coming true. We are definitely closer now.”

According to Lo, the team’s development plan, Greenheart Village, focuses on establishing a new model of urban living and rebranding Nashville as an active, healthy and engaged community.

“The design utilizes adaptive infrastructure, such as buildings, landscape and streets, to respond to ecological, social and economic changes,” Lo said. “Land use and programs inside buildings would change depending on market demands. So, instead of presenting buildings as static products, the design recognizes that buildings could adapt and change over time.”

The graduate student teams from all four universities will make their final presentations April 3. Summers said the team’s success could mean larger recognition for UT’s architecture program.

“I think we have a strong proposal that we can build off of for the final presentation in April,” Summers said. “We have a lot of work ahead, but I think it will pay off with a win — not only for ourselves but for the University.”

After a breach of more than 300,000 personal records — including students’ social security numbers — at the University of Maryland, College Park, UT information security officials said while the University has a strong security program, any system can be hacked.

Cam Beasley, chief information security officer at Information Technology Services, said UT’s cyber-security system can keep students’ information secure. 

“We maintain a comprehensive information security program and a number of layers of security controls in place [such as] annual campus-wide IT risk assessment, security monitoring, security awareness training,” Beasley said. “There is also a great rigor assigned to any third party that the University might decide to pursue.”

The University has not been without security breaches in recent years. In 2006, confidential information of more than 197,000 past, current and prospective students were compromised through a computer in the McCombs School of Business. The records included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Beasley said University security systems are just as susceptible to hacker attacks as other institutions.  

“If an attacker is extremely dedicated and focused on breaching a system, they will not stop until they have exhausted all logical, physical and social attack vectors,” Beasley said. “These targeted attacks can be extremely challenging for any organization to defend against.”

Shane Williams, senior information technology manager, said these cyber-attacks are often inevitable, even with the security universities provide.

“The current trend following these kinds of incidents is to bemoan that institutions aren’t doing enough to protect our personal information,” William said. “In some cases, this is a totally valid criticism. Other times, though, an institution has made every reasonable effort to protect their systems and their data, and a determined attacker still manages to gain access.”

Williams said it’s important to distinguish between the university systems that are trying their best to protect students’ records and those that are not doing enough.

“As an increasingly electronic society, it’s critical that we make distinctions between these two ends of the spectrum in information security in order to put pressure on those institutions that really aren’t bothering to protect us, while providing appropriate assistance to those that did everything right and still fell victim in spite of their efforts,” Williams said.

Computer science sophomore Nikita Zamwar said she believes most students are diligent about keeping their personal information secure.

“Even though a lot of students are really strict and careful about protecting their personal information, it kind of defeats the point when the university doesn’t do their job,” Zamwar said. “If there was a breach here I’d probably freak out, and I’d probably get really mad at UT.”

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley surveys the field before a game against Missouri at Neyland Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 10 in Knoxville, Tenn. Dooley was fired this week.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Week 12 in college football was the craziest one yet, opening the door to a handful of teams having their own elaborate scenario to reach the BCS title game. The past two weekends have seen the No. 1 team go down consecutively and with Notre Dame visiting USC on Saturday, will the Fighting Irish be next? Let’s take a look at some of the notes around the country heading into the weekend.

• Rutgers and the University of Maryland will join the Big Ten Conference as soon as the 2014 season. The universities will be the 13th and 14th members of the conference, which will most likely prompt a name change. Maryland’s current conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, has instilled a $50 million exit fee, but Terrapins higher-ups believe they will be able to negotiate the cost.

• USC quarterback Matt Barkley will not play against Notre Dame this weekend after injuring his shoulder versus UCLA last Saturday. With a win, the Fighting Irish would secure a spot in the BCS title game. However, a Trojan win would surely send the rankings into one of the biggest shuffles in BCS history. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will start in Barkley’s place.

• Tennessee has fired head coach Derek Dooley after three seasons. The Volunteers are winless in the SEC this season and went an unremarkable 15-21 in Dooley’s tenure in Knoxville. Tennessee will finish below .500 for the third consecutive season, which marks the first time the feat has occurred since 1909-1911.

• Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel will return to the field versus Florida State, but as to whether he will start is still unknown. Driskel sprained his ankle against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 10. The sophomore has passed for 1,324 yards and ten touchdowns on the season.

• Miami will impose a postseason bowl-ban on itself for the second consecutive season, following an ongoing investigation as to whether players received improper benefits from a booster. The Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3) had an opportunity to play their way into the ACC Championship game and a possible BCS berth.

• Kansas State and Texas A&M quarterbacks Collin Klein and Johnny Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o are the three finalists for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the nation’s top player. The award is typically a strong predictor of the Heisman Trophy.

• Minnesota wideout A.J. Barker left the program after accusing head coach Jerry Kill and the training staff of abusive behavior. Barker claimed Kill accosted him in front of the team, questioning his ankle injury. Barker went on to say that the head coach questioned his family background. Kill has since denied the allegations. Barker was the Golden Gophers’ leading receiver, catching 30 passes for 577 yards and seven touchdowns. The junior will look to transfer for his final year of eligibility.

• College football’s winningest coach in history, St. John’s John Gagliardi, will retire at the end of the season. Gagliardi compiled 489 wins, including 465 and four national championships at the Division III University in Collegeville, Minn. Gagliardi’s career spanned over six decades. Gagliardi was the first active head coach inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.