NSF Billion Oyster Project video features Pace!

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a cool new video featuring the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) and Pace University! The Billion Oyster Project is a community of students, teachers, scientists, volunteers, businesses, and schools. Its goal? Getting down and dirty to conduct research and restore the New York Harbor back to its oyster-inhabited glory. With a $5 million grant from the NSF, the project leaders hope to inspire students, specifically middle school students, to help drive the restoration.

At Pace University, the Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science (CCERS) and BOP Fellowship trains teachers and educators how to engage students in environmental science and restoration ecology. In 2016, our annual STEM Collaboratory camp teamed up with BOP for an exciting two weeks of research, problem solving, and design thinking. We taught campers HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Google Charts to create a helpful solution.

The NSF video features our very own professor Lauren Birney, the director of Pace University’s STEM Collaboratory. “We’re creating this smart and connected community here in New York City, but then allowing that to grow into other communities,” Birney said. She hopes to build the Billion Oyster Project by continuing to target local middle schools in low-income neighborhoods where students are underrepresented in STEM fields.

Participants aren’t just making new friends, they’re also engaging in STEM activities while restoring the ecosystem in their own backyard! Hands on work teaches students how to measure oysters, test water samples, and other cool activities that keep them active and constantly contributing. The Billion Oyster Project’s website keeps track of teachers, students and volunteers’ work with an interactive map.

Learn more about the 2016 STEM Collaboratory NYC experience, or go further back and check out our Summer Scholars program’s awesome experience with the Billion Oyster Project in 2015!

Pace Women in Tech celebrates official club status in first meeting

The Pace Women in Tech club held its first meeting as an official Pace organization on Monday, February 6, 2017. Led by Seidenberg students Eiman Ahmed and Niamh Fitzsimon, the meeting was a brief introduction to the club and the plans for the upcoming semester.

Aimed to be a welcoming group where members can make new friends and build a peer network, Pace Women in Tech already has a lot planned for this year. Hackathons, internship workshops, and potential attendance to the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration conference in Orlando, Florida, were just some of the things on the table.

The group aims to meet every two weeks and new members are welcome to join them for discussions, workshops and the chance to meet guest speakers from the tech industry – all over free pizza, of course.

“We want to spread awareness for the underrepresented group of women in technology,” said Ava Posner (BS in IT ’18). “My goal is to bring Seidenberg students – especially women – together so they have a network of individuals they can share experiences with, ask questions, and make new friends.”

Pace Women in Tech has an active Facebook group that is recommended for members not only so they can stay up to date with meetings and events here at Seidenberg but for local hackathons and other events taking place outside Pace.

Robots fight it out for top spot in FTC competition

What better way to spend a wintry Sunday than watching robots battle it out for the top spot in the First Tech Challenge regional championship? On

February 5th, Seidenberg hosted the 8th annual challenge that saw teams from New York and nearby states descend upon our Pleasantville campus and compete for prizes.

Teams comprised of grades 7-12 students who, over a period of months, had to design, build, and program robots to complete specific types of challenges. They don’t go in unprepared, though. Dr. Richard Kline of the Seidenberg School and organizer of the event also arranges training workshops for students so they can learn. Robot building and programming is at “team workshops where high school students learn design and programming skills using Java and the Android Studio mobile app development system,” said Dr. Kline.

Each year, the contest is different, so even competitors who have taken part before had a unique challenge on their hands!

The excitement in the air was palpable in the moments before the first round of the tournament kicked off. “This is your Super Bowl,” Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill told the crowd in his opening remarks.

Dr. Kline thanked everybody for coming out to the championship, which we have also hosted in previous years. He went on to emphasize the main tenets of the First Tech Challenge (FTC) events: gracious professionalism and acting with kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.

Then it was time to start! Challenges in the competition focused on teams’ abilities to make quick decisions, as they received just 30 seconds to program their robots followed by two minutes where they could use controllers to move them around.

The game was called Velocity Vortex. Robots were tasked to scoop up wiffle balls and a larger yoga ball and throw them into hoops, kind of like basketball. While doing so, they could also claim beacons, which were lights that could be triggered to display their team color.

Each team played in 5 matches for the chance to win trophies, scholarships, internship opportunities and good old fashioned glory.

And the results?

Inspire Award – top overall team as determined by the judges

  • Winner: 4347 NanoGurus, home-based team from Morris Plains NJ
  • 2nd: 5484 Enderbots, home-based team from Corning, NY
  • 3rd: 7488 Nuts & Volts, Suffern High School, Suffern NY

Competition Winners – champions of the elimination tournament that ended the day – an “alliance” of three teams

  • Alliance Captain: 6081 i^2robotics, home-based team from Westport, CT
  • 1st Partner: 6347 Geared Up, home-based team from Rome, NY
  • 2nd Partner: 5484 Enderbots

Competition Runners-Up

  • Alliance Captain: 7486 Team Fusion, Suffern High School, Suffern NY
  • 1st Partner: 4347 NanoGurus
  • 2nd Partner: 12052 Ossining O-Bots, Ossining High School, Ossining NY

It was an exciting and memorable event, helped by the continued dedication of Dr. Kline and volunteers that helped the day run smoothly.

Dr. Kline said: “We are thrilled that so many Seidenberg students and alumni volunteer their time to assist these great robotics teams, not only at the championship, but at the five qualifying tournaments we have held.”

New York Times ranks Pace University high for return on investment

A recent study featured in the New York Times ranked Pace University as number two in the nation for the upward mobility of our students. The article, titled America’s Great Working-Class Colleges, featured a study that listed “colleges ranked by percent of students from the bottom fifth of the income distribution who end up in the top three-fifths.

Pace was also ranked in a report published in The Fiscal Times where it appeared in the top slot of colleges ranked by mobility rate. Despite being a smaller institution, Pace University came out first with a success rate of 55.6 percent of low income students eventually becoming outstanding earners.

Graduates of the Seidenberg School can potentially be among those high earners: the average starting salary for undergraduate degree holders is $72,413, and for graduate degree holders it is $83,050.

 

 

Melanie Greene and Dr. James Lawler present inclusion programs for students with disabilities

By Melanie Greene

It was an honor to attend  the Faculty Resource Network’s National Symposium in Atlanta in November. I co-presented with Dr. James Lawler on inclusion programs for students with disabilities in the Seidenberg School. I spoke about the class I took with Dr. Lawler (CIS 102w Web Design for a Not-for-Profit Organization), mentoring students in AHRC’s junior high school and high school programs (they had different levels of autism; one was more severe than the other), mentoring and tutoring Adil Sanai, tutoring his students last semester in his two CIS 102w courses, the two research projects we worked on together, and being a co-moderator for the Disability Film Festival. I got the chance to speak about all of my experiences that I have had working with people with disabilities.

I am uplifted and inspired by Dr. Lawler’s drive and commitment to give people with disabilities access to a college education. I support everything that he is doing.​ I get very emotional talking about all the adventures and learning experiences I have had with Dr. Lawler – they have been life changing opportunities that affect me deeply.

During the conference, we went to three different schools: Morehouse College (an all-male college where Dr. Martin Luther King went), Spelman College (all-female college), and Clark Atlanta University (co-ed).  All of the schools were beautiful, it was a privilege to visit them. I got choked up when we went to Morehouse College because Dr. King went there. I felt like I was walking through history. At the school they had a picture of President Obama delivering the Commencement speech in 2013 and I was in awe: both President Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King’s presences were there.

At the conference, I got the chance to meet other professors from schools  in NY, Atlanta, Hawaii, and others. I enjoyed listening to their research and learning about how we could use social media and technology platforms to teach millennials.

Dr. Lawler and I went to a delicious Italian restaurant one night and a Brazilian restaurant (it was my first time going to a Brazilian restaurant). We invited a professor from Spelman College that I met to join us for dinner, which was a lot of fun. One night our bus broke down which was an experience in itself. The bus was literally like the engine that could. When we broke down one professor started to play Bob Marley “Don’t Worry” and we all chimed in – it was priceless. The bus kept trying to get us all back to the hotel, but unfortunately it failed. We had to walk back to the hotel. On our final day we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. I was overwhelmed with emotion, I had the chills the whole time – history was brought to life. To walk where Dr. King walked, to stand in the area where he preached in Ebenezer Baptist Church, to see the pole in the firehouse where he played on as a child, and lastly to see his grave was indescribable.

My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to present with Dr. Lawler.  This certainly is a weekend that I will never forget. I thank Dr. Lawler and the Seidenberg School for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. I will always cherish the incredible memories from this trip.

Win cash, paid internships, tech, at the #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl

The third annual #WestchesterSMART Mobile App Development Bowl is almost ready to kick off at Pace University, but there’s still time to register for the chance to win cash prizes, paid internship, and plenty of awesome tech gear.

The Mobile App Development Bowl is run through a partnership with the Seidenberg School and Westchester County’s Office of Economic Development.

The free-to-enter event, which puts teams of college and high school students in competition to create the best mobile apps, will commence officially on February 3 with a pep rally and design and development workshops aimed to teach competitors how to build quality mobile apps.

As ever, teams must build MAAPs – Mobile Apps for Aging Populations. The prevalence of technology grows along with our population, and there is a great opportunity to use technology to improve the daily lives of people aged 65 or older.

Creating apps, hardware, and other bits of tech for aging populations is part of a field called gerontechnology, which is one of Seidenberg School’s research areas. The idea is to research ways in which technology can be used to improve the daily lives of older people, and many excellent solutions have been explored by students at the mobile app bowl in the past two years.

Despite being heavily underrepresented in the mobile app development field, the aging population is the fastest growing consumer group, meaning that a focus on older mobile users is key to keeping the app development industry vibrant and innovative.

It’s also an excellent opportunity for students from the Pace community and beyond to hone their skills, get some real world experience, and feel out potential career paths.

Over two sessions of workshops before judging on April 28, teams will work together to build an app that truly aims to do some good in the world.

Last year’s event included extensive news coverage and was attended by Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. The series was created by Seidenberg faculty member Jean Coppola and brought 250 students to Pace’s Pleasantville campus to compete in the 2016 challenge.

If you have an idea for a mobile app or want to take part in an exciting challenge that helps the community, register today. Registrations are open for both teams and individuals, who will be placed into teams before the kick off.

Check out our dedicated #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl page for further info.