Student blog – Hacktivism: Justice or Anarchy?


This opinion piece was written by student Alexander Agbulos.

Hacktivism is the concept of “hacking” into a computer system in order to convey a social justice message or commence a movement. Hacktivist groups, such as Anonymous or Lulzsec are infamous for these cyberattacks – they have even been deemed “the new guardians of our civil liberties” (as well as “the internet hate machine”) – because of their exposure of government secrets and lies.  But should these vigilantes be praised or vilified? Many approve of their methods, donning Guy Fawkes masks and joining the cult, while others deem it narcissistic.

For instance, a heated debate continues today over the actions of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. By leaking confidential USA government surveillance programs, Snowden risked his life, but is considered a traitor since he broke the law in doing so. However, “the law” can be justified with 2 sides of the same coin i.e. slavery. Slavery was an unjust moment in history but was legal for a long time until it was abolished. However, it should never have existed in the first place since the Declaration of Independence explicitly claimed that “all men are created equal”. In other words, just because it is the law, does not mean it is legal – the safest hands are still our own.

Maybe hacktivists such as Snowden or Anonymous are over emotional, but their actions impact the community in a diverse way. Sometimes, action requires to step outside of the law in order to have it conveyed for the greater good. Since not everyone is able to project their ideals through a government connection, civil action becomes necessary. Although it seems like anarchy, hacktivists can be seen as the hero over an anarchist because they open the door for legal action. Perhaps they really are “the new guardians of our civil liberties.”

Thanks for contributing to the Seidenberg School blog, Alexander!

Get free tutoring in the NYC 3rd floor Mac Lab

Did you know there is free student-led tutoring every day at Seidenberg? The Tutoring Center has been relocated to the 3rd Floor Mac Lab in Room 336 at 163 William St.

mac-lab-2If you need any help with homework or simply want an extra opportunity to learn cool stuff, you can drop by Monday-Friday from 11am to 5pm.

On Mondays and Fridays, there are outside classes held in the Lab between 1pm-5pm. During this time, students can STILL come to the Mac Lab, but just go into the back room labeled “Meeting Room” – the tutors will be in there.

The Tutoring Center has three tutors: Shantanu Kulkarni, Niranjan Wad and Abhishek Vichare. At any given time, there are always two tutors present.

This center is a place where students can come to do their homework, but most importantly to learn. Tutors are more than happy to set up a regular appointment and see you often to help you learn more about computer science, information systems, and more.

While tutoring is typically on a walk-in schedule, if you wish to visit as a group it’s best to make an appointment. Using the schedule (pictured below, but you can also go see it at the Tutoring Center itself), check which tutor is working that time and schedule an appointment with them. Also, please provide your question in your email so the tutor can be prepared to help.

This is a fantastic service with some of our brightest students ready to help – make the most of it!





Gianna Sorrentino (BS in CS ’19) talks classes at Seidenberg

gianna-sorrentinoGianna Sorrentino is double majoring in an awesome combination: Computer Science and Criminal Justice. With a graduation date of 2019, we can’t wait to see what she gets up to over the next few years!

We asked Gianna to tell us about the classes she’s taking this semester. She’s in CS 271: Fundamentals of Unix, taught by Professor Paul Benjamin and CS 242: Data Structures and Algorithms, taught by Dr. Miguel Mosteiro.

unix-1In CS 271, the focus is on the fundamentals of Unix. This multitasking and multi-user operating system offers a simple set of tools that perform a limited, well-defined function with a file system that is used as the main source of communication. Depending on what task you are trying to complete, Unix can be used to get it done! One of their class projects was to work on basic commands. Gianna was able to make a print out calender (pictured) for any month of the year by typing in “cal” followed by a month and/or year.

She also got the program to perform cool tasks using a simple command of the word ‘echo’ followed by different combinations of words.

“By typing in ‘echo’ followed by different phrases in brackets separated by commas, it can print out all of the combinations of words,” Gianna said.


In CS 242, the main focus is understanding running time scenarios and the most efficient ways to run a program. The goal is to find a way to complete the task both in the least amount of time and to do so correctly. In her freshman year at Pace, Gianna learned how to code. In this class, she is learning to use code more effectively.

Professor Mostiero assigned his students a snippet of code and gave them the task of understanding it and then running it. Each user was made to input a list and then that specific program gives them a running time, in nanoseconds, of how long it took to search the list. Pretty cool!

Thanks to Gianna for taking the time to talk about her classes with us. Keep up the great work!

Computer Science students showcase mobile apps

On Tuesday, September 20th 2016, Pace graduate Computer Science students showcased their projects from the computer science classes they had been taking. Dr. Christelle Scharff, the Chair of Computer Science in New York, curated the projects from different courses. The presentations were attended by fellow students in the Seidenberg and the Pace community, and were a way for students to share what they had learned and accomplished, and encourage other students to build fantastic projects when they take the classes for themselves.

Undertaking projects in classes useful for getting the hands-on experience of building something, but it’s also great for job interviews. “It is important for students to use courses they take to build innovative projects; they can use these projects for their portfolios,” Dr. Scharff said.

The showcase was an excellent demonstration of some of the projects students realized in their classes. Here’s some of what our students shared:

  1. william-dickersonCity Access

William Dickerson, who had taken CS 641 Mobile Web Content and Development with Professor Haik Sahakian, used Ionic and D3 to develop an app that helped people become better informed of how accessible New York City is from the user’s location.

“I want people to have a, ‘this is where I am, how accessible is my city?’ feel” William explained. “For example, like Google Maps, City Access will guide you to the nearest subway stations; however, it will also include nearby restaurants, parks or anything in your area you live in that you should know about.”

  1. multiplayer-maze-2Multiplayer Maze Game

In the SE 765 Distributed Software Development class taught by Dr. Tamer Avcilar, Ersin Akkaya used Java and socket technology to develop a multiplayer maze game. The program has several available mazes. The mazes contain coins that users need to connect without intersecting. Students could even play the game during the presentation.

  1. tony-chenStooper

Tony Chen and teammates Greg Goldberg and Jones Rawles, built an app that allows New Yorkers to get free things! Stooper shows listings and locations of places nearby that are giving away items that you can take without spending a penny.

The team split the tasks to ensure the app will be developed during the 3-week project. Tony created the login, contact, register and listing screens. Greg worked on the the splash screen, navigation drawer and the Google Maps integration. Jones Rawles was in charge of creating the donation page, where users can donate money to a charity. This app was the result of taking CS 639 Mobile Application Development with Dr. Scharff.

  1. bizlist-2BizList

In Professor Chernak’s capstone course, CS 691 Computer Science Project I, teammates Harshada Gothankar, Akash Khedekar, Akanksha Gupta, Alex Lieberman, Ayesha Imran and Bijen Khakkhar developed a web app that serves as a commercial real estate portal. “It’s a very unique project in that it relates to finding commercial spaces,” says the team.

Users pick a location they are interested in finding commercial real estate space in and, depending upon the type of business, the app will come up with potential locations within budget and provide with information about the type of environment the space is located in (e.g., parking space).

These capstone courses (Computer Science Project I & II) present students with opportunities to work on projects they are passionate about. It’s a great chance to come up with innovative ideas such as this one!

The CS graduate showcase is a recurring event, taking place at the beginning of each semester. If you are interested in learning more, talk to a professor about it or get in touch with Dr. Scharff.

Mobile app and web development is a big deal at the Seidenberg School, so it was fantastic to see so many students presenting their work in that area! Follow the Pace Mobile Lab on Facebook to learn more about what we get up to in tech.

Congratulations to all of the students for their creative work!

Jean Coppola receives Women in Tech award (again!)

On October 20th, the Westchester County Association (WCA) will be recognizing five women for their extraordinary efforts in STEM fields as part of their third annual “Women in Tech” awards. One of these women happens to be our very own, Professor Jean Coppola!

The WCA started this event in 2014 in order to recognize women for their remarkable contributions and achievements while working in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM).

Professor Coppola will be recognized as an award-winning educator, author and professor of gerontechnology at Pace University.

“We are delighted at this recognition of Dr. Jean Coppola’s work,” said Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill. “Through her research into healthcare IT in general and gerontechnology specifically, Jean has made great contributions to the discipline and, through this work, has made vital contributions to the Westchester County community. Her work has enabled hundreds of Pace University students to become engaged with their neighbors in life saving ways and we all benefit from this work.”

Coppola has won numerous national awards for her extensive research and work with the effects of technology on the quality of life for older adults, including attitudes towards aging and cognitive functioning.

We can’t wait for Professor Coppola to receive this award on October 20th. Want to see it happen? You can attend!

Congratulations Professor Coppola!

NYC Design Factory opens at Pace University

It’s finally here! The NYC Design Factory is the twelfth in the ever-growing network of Design Factories around the globe. On Friday, September 30, 2016, we launched our brand new factory with a huge number of guests who came to celebrate with us.

Pace Provost Uday Sukhatme attended the Design Factory launch

Among those in attendance were Pace University Provost, Dr. Uday Sukhatme, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, and very special guest Kalevi “Eetu” Ekman, the founder of the first Design Factory at Aalto University in Finland.

Jonathan Hill welcome
Dean Jonathan Hill gave his welcome remarks at the start of the event

Despite the event’s 8am kickoff, we had an amazing turnout. After spending some time enjoying breakfast pastries and getting to know one another, the program started with introductory remarks from Seidenberg School Dean, Dr. Jonathan Hill.

“I did not know it was possible to empower students like this,” Dr. Hill commented while describing his passion for Design Factory.

Dr. Hill then introduced Provost Sukhatme, who said a few words of congratulations. “I think this is the beginning of good things to come,” said Provost Sukhatme. “Pace students have innovation in their interdisciplinary work. The Design Factory concept falls right into the Pace Path.”

Olga Bogomolova and Eetu Ekman
Program Manager and “Fixer” Olga Bogomolova with Design Factory creator Eetu Ekman

Design Factory creator Eetu Ekman then took the stage and gave a keynote on the incredible ideas behind Design Factory and some of the amazing results that this unique way of product development has yielded. He welcomed the NYC Design Factory to the Design Factory Global Network family.

Deborah Glick
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Vanessa Herman from Pace Government Relations

Dean Hill then welcomed Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, who acknowledged that “Pace is a great university in the heart of a world class city. [Design Factory] is bringing people together from across the globe. It is changing the way people conceptualize designing products.”

The final big welcome was given by our good friend Viltsu Lyytikäinen from Aalto, and then it was party time! In true Design Factory fashion, the ribbon-cutting was done not with a ribbon nor a pair of scissors, but with a teamwork challenge that pit our guests against one another! Teams were challenged to fill large empty beanbag sacks (stitched together by our amazing student graphic artist Belle Krupcheck) with thousands of tiny ‘beans’ in order to create fully functional
beanbag chairs. Provost Sukhatme got in on the action, as did Dean Hill, Eetu Ekman, and Assemblywoman Glick. It was a great introduction how Design Factory eschews the norm mere moments after the launch.

Jonathan Hill and Stacey Sarris
Dean Jonathan Hill and UX expert Stacey Sarris celebrate the launch

Guests were then welcome to celebrate with party poppers and small glasses of a pink sparkling substance. Some made the most of the beanbag filling that had managed to get absolutely everywhere during the challenge and made for a snowy scene.

Following the launch was a two hour workshop called Identifying the Next Big Thing.

Design Factory workshop Identifying the Next Big Thing
Design Factory workshop Identifying the Next Big Thing

The workshop aimed to teach participants different methods of identifying opportunities. They can be opportunities for new R&D (research and development) projects, new research, theses, personal projects and much more. Participants learned new brainstorming methods, how to identify opportunities for projects, how to improve their communication skills, how to improve working under a time constraint, and – of course – they got to collaborate with our awesome Finnish guests from Aalto Design Factory!

Participants were divided into teams and had to quickly come up with a new product idea using the Design Thinking method. After the workshop, each team had to do a 30 second pitch (some of which was broadcast over Facebook live!)

Provost Sukhatme
NYC Design Factory: Provost approved

As always, plenty of pizza arrived in time for lunch and helped finish off a fantastic start to one of our biggest and best projects: New York Design Factory.

Thank you to all who came to the Seidenberg School here at Pace University today. We especially want to thank our partners in the Design Factory Global Network who helped us get to where we are today, as well as members of the Pace community and beyond who provided unending support.

A special thanks to our special guests who video linked in all the way from Aalto Design Factory in Finland – it was great having you here!

Our Finnish friends joined via video from Aalto Design Factory in Finland

Among other Design Factory Global Network guests were faculty and students from Nexus Design Factory, Philadelphia University, and our dear friends from Porto Design Factory, Porto Polytechnic Institute, Rector Rosario Gambôa and fire starter Rui Coutinho. We were so touched that so many of you traveled around the world to celebrate with us in person.

We hope you found the day enlightening and enjoyable, and we can’t wait to see you all again at the NYC Design Factory!