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.

Seidenberg represents at CERN Design Factory

In the STEM world, there are few places that will make people gasp with awe. CERN is one of them, and during one special week in December, several Seidenberg staff and faculty were there.

CERN is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research. It’s also home to a Design Factory, which this year was the host of International Design Factory Week, an annual meeting of Design Factories around the globe to collaborate, bond, and have a good time with other members of the network.

Why were we there?

Pace University recently opened our very own entrant into the Design Factory Global Network (DGFN) – the NYC Design Factory. The purpose of these factories is to build a space within a community where members can research, collaborate, give and get feedback, and ultimately develop excellent ideas and products that solve problems. They do so using a methodology called Design Thinking, a non-traditional way of working that we hope to bring into the mainstream through NYC Design Factory and across the greater Seidenberg and Pace community.

But back to CERN. Delegates from Seidenberg included Dean Jonathan Hill, Professor Stacey Sarris, and Program Manager Olga Bogomolova. They flew out to Geneva, Switzerland, over the weekend preceding the Dec 12th kickoff.

Checking out CERN

So what did our envoys think? “CERN was the perfect backdrop for a collaborative Design Factory global event given that CERN is proof that anything is possible and that’s what Design Factory is about!” said Professor Stacey Sarris.

“CERN is this amazing, dynamic place with thousands of scientists – most of them physicists with some computer scientists sprinkled in – who are working on some of the largest physics problems in the world today. You can’t not be inspired spending a day there among the world’s top science minds,” Dean Jonathan Hill said.

Minds blown at the LHC and birthplace of the internet

Do you want to collaborate?

45 people from 15 countries attended the event. Olga explained the benefits of having an annual get together. “We all have strengths and areas of focus, so when we get together we can exchange ideas and best practices and brainstorm ways of working together. Because we are so different, we can leverage our differences to create a wholesome experience for our students.

There are 16 universities or institutions around the world that think similarly and practice design thinking, project based learning; we have a similar way of thinking and doing things. By getting to know each other, you learn that if you want to work with an institution in Australia, Korea, China, Columbia, and so on, I can just send someone from that country’s design factory a message and say ‘I have an idea, do you want to collaborate?’

Just knowing that even if you don’t know someone in the country there is an institution of people that think the same way as you… it breaks down barriers. The week is great because we get to meet each other as human beings, which helps us work together.”

Top secret

International Design Factory Week has several goals. The first one is to meet and get to know one another. People were spending 10-16 hours per day with each other, so that wasn’t difficult! The second goal was to come up with a project for everybody to work on together. “There’s so many of us, covering the whole world and different timezones. Coming up with a project to leverage the whole network sounds difficult, but we did it,” said Olga. “It’s top secret.”

Top secret? Yeah, right – we found your Mannequin Challenge video, DFGN! We know what you really got up to! Just kidding – but watch their amazing video below!

Seidenberg students head to Finland for 6th Product Development Project

During the fall semester, six students headed to Helsinki, Finland, for Pace’s 6th year of participation in Product Development Project (PDP). The Finnish destination was the Aalto Design Factory, located at Aalto University.

This was a special trip as it came shortly after Pace University opened our very own Design Factory, the NYC Design Factory located here at Seidenberg School.

ava-posnerOnce they had arrived at the Aalto Design Factory, it was time to get started. Attendees met teammates and participated in PD6 – product development in 6 hours. Everyone was then split into two teams: KONE, an established elevator company, and Seecode, a tech startup.

We chatted with students on each team. Representing KONE was Mansoor Baba Shaik (MS Information Systems). Ava Posner (BS Information Technology) was on the Seecode team. Ava was also busy snapchatting the trip for a Snapchap takeover of the Pace University account.

Each team not only consisfinland-3ted of diverse members but was filled with different levels of expertise based on each member’s background. This worked well because the teams were able to work more efficiently in order to make it a collaborative process.

For the first few days/nights, the team members spent most of their time bonding and getting to know one another. Besides working hard, the students were allowed to explore and experience what it was like to live in Finland. mansoor-baba-shaikOn the following days it was time to get down to work!

The KONE team visited KONE headquarters, where each member of the team had the chance to use the mobile operated elevator which is being tested on and which will become the first mobile operated elevator in the world.

The Seecode team also visited the umbrella company NOMO 3D headquarters.

Teams were assigned tasks to be completed during sprints of PD6, utilizing design thinking methodologies.

finland-2For Seecode, the team was to build a prototype that would be used to scan individual body images in order to help design custom made outfits for buyers throughout the world. The aim is to make online clothes shopping a less uncertain experience: who hasn’t bought their size online only to find it doesn’t fit?

Team KONE had to come up with a product allowing a self controlled drone to deliver packages to customers directly via the building’s elevator. The idea is that a delivery company could program a drone operate an elevator so it can deliver packages to the correct person directly. I shouldn’t come as a surprise that Amazon is involved in this project.

As PDP is a two-part project, students will return to Helsinki for part two in May, 2017. In the meantime, both teams, being spread apart throughout the world, must remain in constant contact to finish their projects before the final presentation.

finland-7“We are excited to be a part of this amazing project and willing to put our 100% effort to achieve the final outcome of the project and present it in the gala”, said Mansoor. “We thank Pace University for selecting us for the Product Development Project and we feel it’s a great honor representing Pace University in a global event.”

 

 

 

First batch of Seidenberg students take Cisco networking exam

Meet the students who will be building the networks that make the Internet of Things possible! The first graduates of Seidenberg’s Cisco Net Academy have just taken the CCNA 1 exam. These fantastic students will proceed to take CCNA 2 in the spring before sitting for Cisco’s CCENT exam, which is one of the quickest ways to get a job in IT networking.

Students underwent training in the new Applied Data and Networking Sciences Lab, which is located on the 10th floor at 161 William St. The lab was created by Associate Dean Dr. Jim Gabberty as a place where students can gain hands-on experience in cybersecurity, big data analytics, and Cisco networking.

Now that the lab has been open through summer and the fall semester, we’re seeing results: the first batch of students have passed the CCNA 1 exam and are well on their way to the CCENT!

Dr. Jim Gabberty, who brought the program to the Seidenberg School earlier this year, hopes even more students will participate and eventually earn their CCENT/CCNA/CCNS certifications from Cisco as a supplement to their academic studies here at Pace University.  “It’s really quite exciting to see these motivated individuals take charge of their future careers by leveraging our relationship with Cisco,” he said.

As a Cisco Networking Academy, the Seidenberg School offers access to high quality courses that provide technical training and helps students develop their professional skills. Through a series of video and practical training using Cisco Packet Tracer, students learn new theory and get the chance to cement it with hands-on practice – and unlike other institutions, we offer it for free.

“When I found out Pace was offering this course for free I was ecstatic,” said Connor Magee (BA in Computer Science ’19). Connor is mainly interested in cybersecurity, which he also studies in the Applied Data and Networking Sciences lab. He took the Cisco course to consolidate his cybersecurity knowledge. “Being able to understand how something is set up, built, and configured, helps me learn how to defend it.”

Students took the exam in the morning of Dec 19th
Students took the exam in the morning of Dec 19th; Dr. Gabberty is at the back

Simon Felce (MS in Telecommunications Systems and Networks ’18) has four years of industry experience. He took the course to better understand what other teams were doing in his job. “I worked as a wireless engineer . . . I had to work with the networking team who were very experienced with CCNA, so for me it was really good to start learning all the concepts of networking.”

“The opportunity to practice with real devices . . . the fact that it was free was awesome,” said David Acuna (MS in Telecommunications ’18). “Professor Gabberty was really patient, he was always available if we needed help. Now I feel like I know more about networking technologies.”

We are incredibly proud of the work put in by the students to get to this point – and extremely excited for the future where more Seidenberg students get to enjoy this incredible opportunity to grow their skills and increase their prospects.

CCNA 1 through CCNA 4 will be offered free to Pace University students in the hopes of helping to fill the thousands of job openings in the industry.

Big Data Innovator Spotlight Series: Mike Adler, Principal at KPMG

The third and final of our Big Data Innovator Series took place on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, with guest speaker Mike Adler sharing his wisdom and experience with a collection of students, staff, and faculty.

As a Principal in KPMG’s Insurance Management Consulting practice, Mike has significant experience working with leading insurance and financial services companies to drive transformation leveraging digital, data, analytics, technology, and best operational practices.

He started in accounting after graduating from Pace in 1988. It wasn’t long before he began to feel he needed to get into a new area – technology. “Computer science at the time was starting to evolve,” he said.

mike-adler-3He spent many years working at IBM, including working on Watson. He described how the famous artificial intelligence computer works by explaining that you give it enough information that it can begin to make connections and learn by itself. “You bring in all this data and content; you start teaching Watson what’s important. You teach it the relationships between different pieces of information. Watson starts to learn from that. You teach Watson to be a kindergarten student and Watson learns to become an elementary student, a high school student, and a college student.”

While they were on the topic of data, Dean Hill took the opportunity to ask Mike to give his definition of what big data is. “Big data includes things like social media, all forms of unstructured data, video – anything that you can use that relates to content. The challenge is working out how to get through that mass of information, which is growing exponentially every year, and find the nuggets you can use to make decisions.”

The challenge is a great one. It is estimated that the volume of unstructured data doubles each year, making big data enterprise analytics – the ability to sort through, understand, learn from, and recommend paths of action to take based on that data – is becoming an increasingly sought after skill set.

One of the really cool things Mike spoke about was KPMG’s Innovation Lab located in SoHo. “You walk in and you feel like you’re walking into a WeWork. They use the space to do a lot of Design Thinking and facilitation with clients, but also to do research in technologies and the future.”

After opening the New York Design Factory just a few months ago at Seidenberg, we were delighted to hear that design thinking is being practiced in big companies like KPMG!

“I’m very confident that you are getting some great experiences here, particularly around the technologies and architectures and how to apply them,” Mike said about the Pace education. However, it’s just as important to learn soft skills alongside technical ones. “I’ve found out – sometimes the good way, sometimes the hard way – that soft skills are equally as important.”

Mike is a big proponent of what he called “taking appropriate risks.”

“Before, we were taught to find out what the client wants, what the user wants, and deliver it to them. Now, though, it can be better to take appropriate risks – to say ‘I know this is what you want, but how about this?’ Think about a clean slate approach, think about a vision for the future, and be prepared to take risks around that.”

mike-adler-1What gives him the most pride about his career? “The risks I took. Going from a corporate environment to a consulting environment. When I joined Watson, I had no idea how it was going to take off or what it was going to do, but I took a risk, told myself it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m very glad I did. I’m also very proud of the client relationships I’ve built. In my business, it’s all about the clients and your relationship with them. I wake up every day thinking about who my clients are, what I can bring to them that I haven’t, what my team can do, and what new clients I might get. All my career, I’ve been very focused on mentoring people. I want people to succeed (or fail) with the appropriate guidance. I encourage you to put most of your energy around your clients and the people that work with, for, or around you.”

He also discussed how when you join a new company, the people already established there can be wary about new technology, and that soft skills can help overcome that challenge. Knowing how to help people respond to changes or new ideas is incredibly useful in the technology world. For example, helping the general population learn about why Watson is so significant.

“How do we get Watson to relate to the masses?” Mike asked. “Watson now has its own cookbook!” The idea is that by creating something familiar in an unfamiliar way can open the doors between two separate mindsets. “Technology opens people’s minds.”

A huge thank you to Mike for coming to visit us and sharing such excellent wisdom and advice. Thanks also go out to Deth Sao for organizing this fantastic speaker series!

Previous speakers in the series were David Kelly (MS Information Systems ’94) and Jason Molfetas (BS Computer Science ’87).

Big Data Innovator Spotlight Series: Jason Molfetas, CIO of Amtrak

Continuing our events during Big Data Month came the second installment in our Big Data Innovator Spotlight series. Jason Molfetas, the CIO of Amtrak, came to talk shop with Seidenberg on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016.

Jason earned his BS in Computer Science in 1987 at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus. He spoke about going on some of our international trips – something we still do several times a year when we send students to places like Finland and Austria!

After 28 years in industry gaining expertise in marketing, sales, and technology, Jason was pleased to return to the Seidenberg School to share his wisdom, particularly when it comes to leadership and adding value to your position.

Dean Jonathan Hill kicked off the session by gesturing to the many students present and asking Jason how he got from that chair (the ones the students were sitting in) to this one (the one in front of the audience).

jason-molfetas-1

“It starts where you are right now,” Jason replied. “You have to remember that, like many things you’re doing, the reason you chose to come to Pace wasn’t just on a whim. You probably did a lot of analysis; you did research – that’s what we do in the work world.”

He spoke about his time at Pace and the benefits he gained from it. “Pace was phenomenal for getting me an internship where I could get the skills I needed to go out and get work in the real world.”

Another of Jason’s key points was about gaining experience and developing your skills. For first jobs, he recommended going for positions that offered great experience rather than focusing on great pay. “It’s not about the pay – for now, the future, it’s not about a financial income but for the experience.”

Dean Jonathan Hill asked: “What do students need to do to be mentally and technically prepared to get their first job?”

“You need to put down a plan,” Jason said. “What is it you desire? In the beginning, we don’t want to fail, and when you’re new in the work world . . . failure is part of it, but a big part of what we learn from it is integrity and honesty. When you fail, there’s a way to turn it into a success. You learn things, and what you learn is enormously valuable – so it can be a win.”

jason-molfetas-2

Jason then went on to explain his leadership style – “it’s still developing; it never stops” – and shared his 8 steps for success. Here they are!

Jason Molfeta’s 8 Steps for Success

  1. Set a vision and a culture

Customers come first. Aim to exceed their expectations. Think results – proactively deliver rather than asking what your boss wants; show that you have identified what is important by telling them what you want to do then ask if anything is missing.

  1. Add value

Sitting at the table is nice, but if you’re not going to say anything to add value why are you there? Do your homework before going to meetings to ensure you have something to contribute.

  1. Vision, strategy, execution, and metrics

You need to be organized in order to deliver and track results.

  1. Deliver measured results

Metrics help to prove that you are doing your job, whether for operational excellent, revenue management, or improving customer experience.

  1. Drive the digital agenda

Big data is going to be huge in the future and understanding how it works and what you can do with it is key.

  1. Deliver autonomous analytics to your mobile customers

Using cognitive analytics can solve problems before your customer even knows there are any. For example, with Amtrak, if it looks like a reservation is going to be cancelled, the process to book a new one on the customer’s behalf is all automated. The first indicator the customer receives about the issue is their updated booking.

  1. You must create innovative products with simplicity

Steve Jobs and some friends went to a farm and saw a calf being born. They were amazed by how the calf pushed itself up and stepped to its mother for its first drink of milk. Humans teach their kids, but the calf did it all intuitively. Steve Jobs he said he wanted to create products that were intuitive, and nobody has to be trained to use an iPhone.

  1. Talent working together

Michael Schumacher won the F1 championship many times. He said it was won not by him, but how he had the best car, the best tech, and the best team. His team worked seamlessly together to ensure his success.

What an amazing list! Seidenberg students – and Pace students as a whole – would do well to keep this one for future reference!

Jason’s final takeaway was about the path to being CEO. “The future CEO comes from an IT path,” he said. “You have to be ready for it; you have to want it.”

So for all our students who are aiming high – you’re on the right track!

A massive thank you to Jason Molfetas for sharing his incredible wisdom and to Deth Sao for organizing the event! Next up is Mike Adler from KPMG to close out the Big Data Innovator Spotlight series!

Read about the first event in the Big Data series, with guest speaker David Kelly.