Pace University, through the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, became one of the country’s few Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) with a new designation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
The designation, which was earned following a rigorous examination of our School’s academics and research, replaces our previous title of Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.
Dean Jonathan Hill and Dr Li-Chiou Chen, chair of the information assurance department, traveled to the 9th Annual National Cyber Summit in Huntsville, Alabama, to accept the designation. The conference is an annual gathering of industry, government, and academic institutions in the area of cybersecurity education.
Dr Hill and Dr Chen received the designation from Dr Leonard T. Reinsfelder, Commandant of the National Cryptologic School at the National Security Agency, and Mr Daniel Stein, the Acting Branch Cybersecurity Education and Awareness in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security.
Dr Chen directs the Seidenberg Cybersecurity Education and Research Lab alongside Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation Andreea Cotoranu. The lab aims to address the acute shortage of cybersecurity and information assurance professionals in industry by focusing on education, research, and partnerships with academic, industry, and government.
Throughout the entire month of April 2017, the Pace University Cyber Team competed in the National Cyber League’s first ever spring season competition. The National Cyber League (NCL) started in May 2011 as a platform to “provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments.”
The Pace Cyber Team definitely validated their knowledge! In this capture-the-flag style offensive and defensive security competition, each participant had to show proficiency and excellence in all nine of the following categories:
Enumeration and Exploitation
Network Traffic Analysis
Open Source Intelligence
Web Application Exploitation
Wireless Access Exploitation
Most team members placed individually in either the silver or the coveted gold brackets of the competition going up against the best of the best nationwide. Of the over 2000 competitors only the top 15% will compete in the gold bracket, while the following 35% will make it to silver. This season, 1,891 students/players and 269 faculty/ coaches from 291 two- and four-year schools in 43 U.S. states registered to play in the Preseason/Regular Season.
The Pace Cyber Team also went on to compete in the Silver Bracket of the post-season team competition where they ranked 11th overall in their bracket and placed 27th nationally out of 152 teams from over 108 college/universities in 35 states. The team scored 2,635 points and captured 121 of the challenge flags. For comparison purposes, the national average for this competition was only 1,655 points and just 83 flags.
Even more remarkable, the Pace Cyber Team ranked 1st in their bracket and 4th overall in Wireless Access Exploitation. In addition, the team placed 6th in the silver bracket and 14th overall in Network Traffic Analysis, and 8th in their bracket and 16th overall in Cryptography. Moreover, the team ranked among the top 25 teams in the silver bracket for every challenge category.
Team Captain Kaitlyn Bestenheider said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better team to compete with. We were all strong competitors and had a wide variety of skills. Everyone communicated fantastically, which made it easy for me to share information and delegate tasks to the person whose skills were best suited to the challenge at hand. Our team’s real strength was in its variety of experience and expertise levels. I look forwarded to training and competing again next semester.”
The team competing in the 2017 NCL post-season included:
Kaitlyn Bestenheider (MS/CS ’18), Adriana Aluia (BS/IT ’17), Cesar Castro (BS/IT ’18), Michael Gabriel (BS/IT ’19), Andrew Ku (BS/IS ’20), Norissa Lamaute (MS/CS’17), Benjamin Longobardi (BS/CS’19), and Gabriel Rivera (BS/IT’17).
Congratulations to all for a great performance this season!
The Pace Cyber Team would like to welcome anyone with an interest in cybersecurity to train and compete with us in the 2017 fall season. Contact Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation (email@example.com) with questions.
Want to read more? Check out Kaitlyn Bestenheider’s blog, Kait Tech, for further coverage of the event.
Thanks so much to team captain Kaitlyn for writing this student blog post!
“I was ecstatic to receive acceptance notice,” Sandra said. “This is an SAI-IEEE conference, and I’m going to be presenting my paper along with others in a session at this conference. Wow!! I haven’t done that before.”
Given that Sandra was the sole author of the paper, having it accepted for publication and presentation at the conference is a big deal.
“I’ve been on various panels discussing cyber security, women in the engineering/computer field, my view point as a college student – at various levels, and my background. But never to present my work,” Sandra said.
So why did Sandra choose a unique topic like cybersecurity from a user’s point of view?
“There is much written and researched, however the point of view is almost always from a company’s point of view and the user just has to accept it, no questions asked,” Sandra explained. “Cybersecurity affects everyone in every field across the board. I decided to look at this from a different point of view: that of the user. This paper is the beginnings of that broader topic.”
Sounds like a great paper – the idea of ‘user first’ is no stranger to user experience and human-computer interaction, and it’s certainly interesting to hear about one of our students considering the user’s viewpoint when it comes to cybersecurity, too. Enjoy the conference, Sandra, and we can’t wait to hear about it when you get back!
Another year, another incredible performance at the annual Pace Pitch Contest from Seidenberg students. We couldn’t be more proud of Rachel González, Andrew Ku, and Rohana Sosa for taking the top two spots in the contest.
The competition, now in its thirteenth year, challenges students to pitch their ideas with constraints based on the famous Elevator Pitch, the technique of giving a concise and compelling pitch in a very short period of time.
Finalists in the competition had three minutes to give their pitches, which they did on Thursday, April 20, 2017, in the Bianco Room at Pace University. During their presentations, they were judged on their ability to provide: a description of their idea; a market analysis; the specs of their product or service; identification of potential competitors; a marketing strategy; how they aim to produce and deliver their product or service; an assessment of their management; a finances overview; and an investment proposal.
Plenty of Seidenberg students and teams made it to the final round – here are the teams including some of our amazing entrepreneurs!
TouchDonation makes giving to charity simple and was created by Phuc Pham (BS in Information Technology with a minor in Quantitative Business Analysis), Syman Li (BBA in Hospitality) and Thanh Do (BBA in Finance).
Seidenberg students Andrew Ku (BS in Information Systems) and Rohana Sosa (BS in Computer Science with minor in Computing Information Technology) created VAICAM Pi. VAICAM Pi is bundled as an Android mobile app, a Google Cardboard virtual reality (VR) headset, and a Raspberry Pi 3, equipped with a 360 camera and artificial intelligence to function as an older person’s own artificially intelligent security camera.
Finally, VR Discover – an app built for both Android and iOS, utilizes virtual reality to stimulate cognitive function, provide entertainment, and relieve restlessness stemming from sundowning for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia – was built by computer science students Ricky Harris, Daniel Citardi, and Mackenzie Dolishny. This innovative app also made an appearance at the #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development bowl, where the team won a prize.
When it was time for the judges to make their decisions, students from Seidenberg snatched up first and second place!
Rachel González and Lubin student Danielle Ran took first place, bagging $1,000 to use toward developing their mindfulness app, Minute Mantra.
Andrew Ku and Rohana Sosa won the second prize of $500 for their artificial intelligence security app, VAICAM Pi.
Speaking about her experience, Rohana Sosa remarked that she and Andrew “both had a great experience and a lot of fun being participants in the Pitch Contest. This gave us the opportunity to showcase our talents and apply our programming skills to a business setting. Having this experience is a stepping stone to further our learning process and achieve our educational goals. The contest provided an enriching and stimulating experience to test our ideas and see how impactful the our mobile app concept is.”
There were certainly a wealth of impactful apps and ideas presented at the contest. You can see all of the finalists at the Entrepreneurship Lab website.
Once again, the #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl enabled hundreds of talented young high school and college students showcase their STEM skills in a competition to build apps to improve the lives of older people.
In partnership with Westchester County, this year’s iteration of the competition was its biggest yet, with over 440 students from 18 high schools and three universities taking part.
The mobile app bowl takes place over three monthly sessions, the first two consisting of intense training where students learn how to build mobile applications catered to aging populations. On the third day, which took place on Friday, April 28, at Pace University’s Pleasantville Campus, teams presented their apps and the winners were decided.
County Executive Robert P. Astorino presented the awards to the winners in a variety of categories, including awards for creativity, usability, and functionality. Winners of the YouTube Social Challenge earned trips to Google and YouTube studios in New York City, and prizes were also given for high school coach of the year and college coach of the year – the latter being won by our very own Jean Coppola.
On top of the category awards, the #WestchesterSmart award, a grand prize of $1,000 cash and swag from Panasonic was up for grabs.
“The #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl sends a strong statement to our students, as well as our communities and businesses, that Westchester is a place where smart things are happening,” said County Executive Rob Astorino.
The grand prize was snatched up by KanjiStick, the team from the New School’s Parsons School of Design, who created an app aimed to assist older people overcome issues typically experienced when interacting with technology. The team focused on creating an app that assisted with hearing, vision, and dexterity problems, allowing users to enjoy a smoother experience.
Teams Run DMR and Programmers Box took second and third prize in the Mobile App Creativity category respectively.
Team QWERTY won second place in the Mobile App Usability category.
In the Mobile App Functionality category, teams Bice and Programmers Box achieved second and third place respectively.
Tours of Google and YouTube were won by Downtown Developers, and Vida is Real.
“Once again, we are blown away by the talent of the students who participate in the Westchester Smart Mobile App Development Bowl,” said Jonathan Hill, dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace. “Their work will improve the quality of life for older citizens throughout the area, helping them do everyday tasks and manage their lives better. This event grows every year and we hope to see even more student app developers next year.”
We would like to extend many thanks to our 2017 Partners and Sponsors, including Robert P. Astorino, Westchester County Executive; Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University; The Westchester County Office of Economic Development; Saberpoint; conEdison; Acordia Therapeutics; XL Catlin; The Bristal: Assisted Living; New York-Presbyterian; Virginia LeTourneau; Ursuline Foley; Liberty Lines Transit, Inc.; Sal’s Pizza and Pasta; and Nancy Goodman.
On behalf of the UXPA International Board and the 2017 Student Scholarship Committee, we would like to congratulate you on winning the 2017 UXPA Student Scholarship Award.
Your entry was selected as it stood out to the judging panel for its content and originality. You will be joining us in Toronto next month for the UXPA 2017 International Conference!
That was the email Tejas Chavan (MS in Information Systems) received informing him about the scholarship he’d just won to the UXPA 2017 International Conference. This wouldn’t be the first time Tejas has travelled to another country for a conference – in fact, the last time was less than a year ago – but it’s certainly going to be an event he will attend with career goals in mind.
“Since I will be graduating soon, and I will be looking for a full-time opportunity (obviously in UX), I have been attending lots of meetups, and conferences where I can showcase myself and make some good connections as well,” Tejas said. “With that context, I was recently shortlisted by UXDC committee for their UXDC2017 annual summit on April 14th to present my poster and to represent the Seidenberg School and Pace University as a student delegate.”
Tejas has spent his final semester working with Professor Stacey Sarris on an independent study project regarding research methods in human-computer interaction (HCI). It was while working on this project that Tejas met the president of UXPA DC, Ali Tobolsky. Tejas had been reaching out to UX industry experts to survey them for an assignment; Ali was one of them.
“Now the real story starts,” Tejas explained. “I connected her on LinkedIn and sent her my survey link asking if she can forward it to any relevant contacts. She sent me a number of links to groups where I could try my luck. So, I was submitting my survey in each group and I stumbled upon this post saying ‘UXPA International 2017 Student Scholarship.’ I thought since it came it to me from nowhere, I should give it a try. I submitted my application which consisted of a few questions and a letter of recommendation, which I got from Prof. Sarris. I had a very strict deadline to submit it within two days since I got to know about it pretty late.”
The submission went through in time, and Tejas received an email from Sara Mastro, the UXPA International Vice President, and Jack Holmes, the UXPA Student Scholarship Award Chair, telling him that he was a scholarship recipient.
“I cannot really believe that I am one of the two winning students from the world. I am feeling ecstatic for getting selected for this award and I would like to thank Prof. Stacey and all my other friends for being a solid support throughout this journey.”
The conference is taking place in Toronto this year, and Tejas will receive flights and transportation, four nights at a hotel, registration to the conference and a year’s membership to UXPA International.
Professor Stacey Sarris, who is an expert in user experience and user interface design, said: “I’m very proud of Tejas; he has thrown himself into User Centered Design, created opportunities for himself, and has taken advantage of everything that comes his way.” Stacey
“I’ve already started packing my bags!” Tejas added.
But wait! There’s more!
Not long after Tejas’ great news, the kind folks at Seidenberg decided they didn’t want him to be lonely, so we are sending his teammates with him to attend the conference and represent their project and the Seidenberg School in Toronto!