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President Obama Honors Analyst for His Other (Volunteer) Job

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President Obama Honors Analyst for His Other (Volunteer) Job


By Diamari Torres
Special to UM News

Helmers.Terry

Terry Helmers

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 30, 2015)—By day, Terry Helmers is a senior systems analyst for the University of Miami Information Technology (UMIT) department. But on weekends, he’s usually paddling or diving in Biscayne National Park, where his decades-long dedication to preserving and sharing South Florida’s unique ecosystems has earned him President Barack Obama’s President’s Volunteer Service Award.

As Obama told Helmers in the award letter, “Your volunteer service demonstrates the kind of commitment to your community that moves America a step closer to its great promise.”

Helmers, who has been a National Park Service (NPS) volunteer and diver since May 1987, has spent countless hours cleaning up national park shores and lands; replacing, maintaining, and installing buoys; removing invasive species—like the lionfish—from local waters; and photographing (and sometimes discovering) shipwrecks. Likened to South Florida’s own Lewis or Clark by The Miami Herald, he also leads canoe expeditions to remote wilderness areas where visitors can see the changing environment up close and learn more about protecting it.

Over the years, he has won various awards for his volunteer work, including the 1999 University of Miami Vice President’s Service Award, the 2006 NPS Regional Superintendent’s Volunteer of the Year Award, and the 2007 NPS George Hartzog Regional Volunteer Award.

As he humbly notes, “We stand ready to take on any park task that needs to be done.”

This year, his NPS colleagues nominated him for the nation’s premier volunteer award, which was established in 2003 to honor and thank citizens who dedicate their lives to service. Brian Carlstrom, the superintendent of Biscayne National Park, presented the White House award to Helmers at NPS’s annual volunteer picnic in April.

“It was a surprise to me,” said Helmers, who accepted the honor by telling a story “that reinforces why we work—paid or volunteer —for the park service.”

Among his most enjoyable tasks, he says, is working with NPS’s “enthusiastic, energetic, skilled, trained, and extremely intelligent” interns, many who are master’s or Ph.D. candidates from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Not surprisingly, he had a hand in establishing the intern program.

“Back when Biscayne National Park was younger, we discussed how to promote this relationship between a top marine school and a living laboratory in their backyard,” he said. “It took a number of years, but now it’s a very well-established program benefiting both UM and the park.”

To learn more about the National Park Service, visit: http://www.nps.gov/.

 

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UMIT Security Alert: Beware the Heartbleed Bug


 
Dear Colleagues,
 
As many of you are aware, a serious security vulnerability has been exposed that is affecting websites worldwide. This security problem, called the “Heartbleed Bug” (see http://heartbleed.com for technical details) is a way for hackers to potentially see information when you browse a secure website. It can create situations where hackers gain access to passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information.
 
UMIT is in the process of assessing our vulnerability throughout the institution. We have focused our attention on our most critical infrastructure. For example, we have confirmed that our central identity management systems are not vulnerable. We are working diligently with IT staff throughout the University as well as our vendors to detect and remediate the vulnerability. While we work to ensure the security of our systems, we have implemented additional protections to limit exposure. 
 
We are in close communication with our peer institutions and following the guidance of authoritative security experts such as the SANS Institute. We are considering what the best approach may be for future remediation activities. Our guidance at this time is to pay attention to the information you receive from financial institutions, retailers, and other organizations you do business with personally and be sure to follow the instructions they provide. As new information becomes available, we will keep you informed. 
 
If you are a system administrator or have additional questions regarding Heartbleed, please contact: ciso@miami.edu.
 
Regards,
Steve Cawley
Vice President for Information Technology and CIO
 

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UM Departments Honored at Miami Heat Game for United Way Success


UW-Heat Ceremony

Pictured from left to right are: UM mascot Sebastian the Ibis; Steve Cawley, vice president and chief information officer for UM Information Technology; Anthony Bonaventure, senior development officer for United Way of Miami-Dade; Nerissa Morris, UM vice president for Human Resoures and TeamUM United Way Campaign Chair; David Lubarsky, Emanuel M. Papper Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology; and Miami Heat mascot Burnie.

The University of Miami has been a proud supporter of the United Way of Miami-Dade for almost 40 years. Last year’s TeamUM United Way campaign raised more than $1 million, with two departments—Information Technology and Anesthesiology—being the highest-performing units during the annual fundraising drive, raising more than $57,900 and $55,900, respectively.

The two departments were recognized at halftime of the Miami Heat’s final preseason game on October 25 at American Airlines Arena. Accepting the honors for their respective units were Steve Cawley, vice president and chief information officer for UM Information Technology, and David Lubarsky, Emanuel M. Papper Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology.

The evening featured pregame activities for UM faculty and staff, who were awarded tickets to the game for making United Way pledges.

 

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