Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship

Transforming IT ideas into ventures

Notice. As of August 2019, the Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship has merged with the Mason Innovation Exchange (MIX), and LITE's flagsgip program, the Pitch IT competition, has become the Patriot Pitch competion. As a result, this website is no longer maintained. For more information about current programs, visit the MIX's website.

Laboratory for I.T. Entrepreneurship
Ngyuen Engineering Building


The laboratory is co-directed by two AIT faculty members, Massimiliano Albanese and Mihai Boicu. Several entrepreneurs and other business experts have agreed to volunteer some of their time to offer advice and guidance to George Mason students, faculty, and staff in pursuing their business ideas.

Massimiliano Albanese, Ph.D.


Massimiliano Albanese  

Dr. Massimiliano Albanese is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Information Technology, and the Associate Director of the Center for Secure Information Systems (CSIS). Dr. Albanese holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Naples “Federico II”. He joined the University of Maryland in 2006 as a Faculty Research Assistant before joining George Mason University in 2011. At George Mason University, Dr. Albanese’s research interests have focused on Modeling and Recognition of Cyber Attack, Scalable Detection of Cyber Attacks, Network Hardening, and Moving Target Defense. When asked why he decided to estabilish LITE, he has no hesitations: “Research for me means finding innovative solutions with practical applications that can benefit our global society. Thus, I totally identify myself with George Mason innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that encourages, supports and rewards innovation at all levels and by all members of its community. I desired to give my contribution in supporting the creation and development of innovative IT ventures. The Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship will be crucial in achieving this goal.”

Mihai Boicu, Ph.D.


Mihai Boicu  

Dr. Mihai Boicu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Information Technology (AIT), and Associate Director of the Learning Agents Center (LAC). Dr. Boicu holds a Ph.D. degree in Information Technology from George Mason University. His research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Database Technologies, Evidence-Based Reasoning, Personalized Learning and Software Engineering. He was the main architect for over ten complex prototype systems, some of which have been transitioned to the government. When asked why he decided to establish LITE, he made a personal confession: “I was thinking: How can we attract the best students to the programs in our department? What if, we are not only preparing them to get the best IT jobs but we are preparing them to create the best IT jobs, in their own companies? AIT is a great department with excellent programs, so, there are many ingredients already here. By creating opportunities, encouraging emerging ideas, offering supporting resources and more importantly personal guidance, LITE just adds the needed spices.” 

Vittoria Aiello, MBA


Vittoria Aiello  

Vittoria Aiello holds a Master in Business Administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. She also holds a M.S. Degree in Business Economics from the University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy, which she earned before moving to the United States. Her professional background includes extensive experience as a consultant for several institutions and government agencies. Her areas of expertise include the assessment of organizations’ growth and development areas, identification of strategies and channels to ensure steady funding sources, identification of strategies to promote the creation and development of local firms, identification of strategies to promote the growth and the internationalization of local firms. When asked why she decided to contribute to the Laboratory for IT Entrepreneurship, she answered: “I have always enjoyed helping businesses with a dynamic and innovative vocation achieve their full potential. Successful businesses are the engine of a healthy economy. LITE is an excellent resource to empower enterprising individuals to successfully implement their innovative ideas in IT.”

Kamaljeet Sanghera, Ph.D.

Outreach Coordinator

Kamaljeet Sanghera  

Dr. Kamaljeet Sanghera is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Information Technology (AIT) and the Executive Director of STEM Outreach, Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University. Dr. Sanghera serves as the Aspirations project Co-Lead in the Executive Committee of National Center of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). She received the NCWIT Extension Services to implement systemic change to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of women in technology and engineering undergraduate programs. Dr. Sanghera is also an active member of Students and Technology in Academia, Research and Service (STARS) program. The STARS program has enabled her department to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to peer mentor and peer advise. Dr. Sanghera is focused on developing opportunities for K-12 teachers’ professional development, offering engineering and technology related camps for K-12 students while creating a community of practice for like-minded people who wish to participate in and contribute to STEM initiatives. When asked why she decided to join LITE, she answered: “I am privileged to be part of LITE as it is the only program that opens doors for students who want to turn their ideas into reality and bring their products in hands of end users.”

Skip West

Advisor & Instructor

Skip West  

Skip West is the President of MAXSA Innovations LLC, a successful and fast growing business started in 2003. Before founding MAXSA Innovations, Mr. West cofounded and successfully led another company, DesignTech International, which he grew at an average annual compounded growth rate of more than 50 percent without the use of outside capital. Mr. West holds a Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College and a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University and currently serves as an adjunct professor at George Mason University in both the Engineering and Business School. Active with industry associations, West serves as the chair of the Automotive and Small Business Board for the Consumer Electronics Association, serves on the board of the National Science and Technology Education Partnership and is currently a member of the Government Affairs Committee of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. When asked why he decided to join LITE in spite of all his demanding commitments, he admitted: “Starting and running successful businesses is my true passion. But I would never be fully successful if I did not help others reach their entrepreneurial ambitions. True success is not just measured by how much someone can accomplish but also by how much someone is able to make others achieve. This is the reason for my active role in education. Being part of the LITE team gives me the opportunity to support an even greater audience of potential, ambitious entrepreneurs.”