Seidenberg alumna Lynne Marino (MS-IS ’92) gives an incredible gift: life

Lynne Marino MS-IS 93)
Lynne Marino (MS in IS ’92)

Lynne Boyles Marino graduated from the Seidenberg School in the class of ’92 with her Master’s in Information Systems. Not only has Lynne’s career since then been amazing, but she recently gave a friend an incredible gift: a kidney.

Lynne’s career has spanned working in the telecommunications and finance services industries, including working at IBM and AT&T, but it’s clear what the most rewarding thing she’s ever done is – something that, when she speaks about it, there is resounding passion in her voice.

“What I hope to do,” says Lynne, “is to inspire somebody else to be a donor.”

Just last year, Lynne underwent surgery to remove her kidney so it could be transplanted into another person. The other person was a friend and previous employee that Lynne hadn’t seen in 20 years.

But Lynne wasn’t worried about donating something so significant to someone she hadn’t seen for a long time: “She had worked for me 20 years ago and was a fantastic employee. I knew from then that she was very diligent and always followed the rules; Whatever the doctors told her to do, she would do it. We recently had a reunion and she flew from Kentucky to White Plains visit me – she has a timer on her phone that tells her when to take her anti-rejection pills.  So it looks like nothing has changed.”

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Lynne with recipient Tamara in a pre-op meeting

When Lynne heard that her friend was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disorder that runs through her family, she knew she wanted to help. The recipient and her insurance provider covered all of the costs, so all Lynne had to do was undergo several tests, keep herself in good health, and prepare mentally for the procedure. Was she afraid? Surprisingly, no. “I felt like it was really going to be fine. Nothing was going to happen. They take really good care of the donor and put you on a wellness floor afterwards, so recovery is as painless as possible.”

Recovery is also short – just six weeks, and Lynne was back in the office after two! “I love my job!” she laughs. Like a lot of our alumni, Lynne works in finance, and even though she wasn’t able to lift anything over 10lbs during recovery, she was eager to return to work.

The recipient of Lynne’s kidney now has a clean bill of health, which is exactly what’s so wonderful about organ donation. When Lynne speaks about it, she is powerful, persuasive, and passionate. “It’s a big benefit for me to be able to say ‘Hey, this is the best gift I’ve ever given!’”

Donating a kidney is an incredible gift. At any given time, around 120,000 people are on the donor list waiting for a kidney and 15 people die every day while waiting.

Lynne with her surgeon after being cleared to go home
Lynne with her surgeon after being cleared to go home

There are many policies in place that exist to help out donors. For example, if you donate your kidney and one day in the future need a new kidney yourself, you go straight to the top of the list. Also, say a child had a disease that meant he would one day need a kidney, and his grandmother wanted to donate but it wasn’t yet needed (and when it was, she may not be around anymore), she could donate to a stranger and, when the time came for the child to need a transplant, he would be prioritized. There are some really incredible arrangements for just about any situation you can think of  – all to encourage people to donate now, knowing that they or their loved ones will be taken care of in the future.

Did Lynne suffer any lifestyle changes brought about from her donation? Given that she had to think about her response, the answer is “not really”. She has to stay hydrated (which is good for you), eat well (again, good for you), be conscious of taking any medication that could adversely affect her, and maaaybe hold off from that last glass of wine. Lynne says, “the average kidney donor lives longer than the average person, because they are quite healthy.”

This article may not convince you to hop onto the surgical table right now, but keep the possibility of donating a kidney to save someone’s life in your mind as you go through your everyday life. There are plenty of people who have donated a kidney to someone they don’t know alongside all of those who donate to loved ones.

In the meantime, there is so much you can do to help people suffering kidney disease and a whole host of other ailments.

  1. Donate blood. According to the Red Cross, around 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the USA. Every 2 seconds, someone in the US needs blood.
  2. Become an organ donor. You can get it on your driver’s license – some states automatically set you as a donor but many don’t, so check and opt-in for donation. That means if something happens to you, your body can be used to save lives. You can also download a dedicated donor card.
  3. Discuss your wishes with your family members. Even if you’re listed as an organ donor, family might step in and say no. It’s important to have a discussion where you let them know that it is your wish to help others if something happens to you.

Daniel Botero brings fresh Moffee coffee to Pace

daniel-boteroWhat do we want? Fresh coffee! When do we want it? Now! How do we get it? By ordering it through Moffee, an awesome new startup created by our very own Daniel Botero (MS-CS ’17).

Dan has used his entrepreneurial vision and applied it to a thriving industry: bringing coffee to the masses just when they need it the most. Moffee is a coffee delivery service that accepts orders through its self-titled app and brings your order to your location on or around the Pace downtown campus.

“I didn’t just love [coffee] because of the caffeine. I loved drinking it and became used to it,” says Dan. Daniel came up with the idea for Moffee when he took a notice of major coffee houses and observed how people would wait in long lines just to get a cup of coffee.

When ordering your coffee, you have complete control over what you want. Pick the type of drink (espresso, latte, hot chocolate, tea, etc), the milk, and the sweetener, and Moffee will make it to order. Dan is running the service on weekdays between 9am-6pm, which is perfect for getting that much-needed caffeine fix before class or during study sessions in the library. Moffee is also inexpensive by usual standards – most drinks will run you between $3 and $5.

moffee-coffees

After ordering, you will receive details such as the name of the person bringing your coffee, their number, and you can even track them by GPS. Payment is complete when the delivery person scans your order QR on your phone, so you don’t pay until your coffee is in your hands. Worried it’ll get cold? It won’t – Dan uses specially constructed lids from Taiwan that ensure the drink stays nice and hot.

His experience in starting Moffee has taught Dan a lot about how to run a business, including many dos and don’ts. Some ideas and strategies went well, while others fell flat and needed to be disregarded altogether. “I was always asking myself what else I could do and what my next idea was,” says Daniel.

In the future, Daniel wants to have a space where the employees can relax and do homework while waiting for orders to come in. Jobs with Moffee are offered to Pace students only, and the coffee shop would be on campus. Interested in applying? Contact Daniel through the Moffee website.

If you would like to learn about Moffee and discover awesome promos, visit them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Have you tried Moffee Coffee yet? Comment below and let us know what you think!

Summer Internship Series: Melanie Greene

Summer is almost over, meaning it’s time to catch up with our students on where they interned over the break. First up is Melanie Greene (BS in Information Technology with a minor in marketing), who interned at broadcaster SiriusXM and was kind enough to share her experience with us.

Take it away, Melanie!


IMG_3646Over the summer I had the privilege of interning at SiriusXM within the Business Intelligence department of the company. I have been working with the IT Desk Support gaining exposure to the corporate world and the IT infrastructure of SiriusXM. I have a mentor who is the Site Supervisor. He has been training and teaching me along this journey. It is hard to fathom that it has been over two months since I started – time flies when you’re having fun!

Since I started back in June, I have gained a vast amount of knowledge and hands-on experience dealing with equipment and developing relationships. Establishing a good professional working relationship is essential to getting the job done, and hopefully opening the doors to professional development in the future.

IMG_4318Working in the field is completely different from reading a textbook – I value a hands-on approach to learning because there is nothing like diving into the field and participating in real world problems. Throughout my internship I have replaced and allocated equipment to my co-workers, moved employees from one location to another, replaced hardware in desktops, managed the inventory of hardware in Active Directory, reviewed the updates of machines in System Center Configuration Manager, and fulfilled tickets generated by employees on ServiceNow. Additionally I have updated the inventory of hardware in our Access database and created excel spreadsheets to keep track of newly acquired hardware. I also imaged machines with the SiriusXM build. My tasks changed every day depending on what my mentor asked me to do.

IMG_4344A lesson my mentor taught me when troubleshooting is to consider many reasons why something is not working. I could also see how this lesson applies to life. I feel that I have gained many new skills and strengthened many old ones. To work in this field or any industry, I have learned that it is essential to have stellar communication skills when asking the right questions, to manage customer relationships, and to troubleshoot relentlessly. These skills can be applied to a variety of jobs because they are invaluable.

I cannot fathom how fast the summer has gone. At SiriusXM I have had the opportunity to attend Snack and Learn Sessions where myself and the other interns would enjoy snacks and listen to an employee of the company discuss their journey on how they got where they are today. Towards the end of the internship there was an Intern Celebration Luncheon where we talked about our experiences and munched on delicious pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from our Intern Advisor which was extremely generous. I had a wonderful time attending the Snack and Learn Sessions, the Resume Workshop, and the Intern Celebration Luncheon.

IMG_4275One of my favorite parts of this internship has been meeting so many interesting employees from different walks of life and career backgrounds. I am fascinated speaking with my colleagues because I learn and grow as a technologist, a student, and a future woman in the workforce. It is intriguing to hear about everyone’s positions and the work that they do. I have met Java Developers, Web Designers, Application Developers, Marketing Managers, among many others – everyone’s job contributes to the success of the company. Everyone has been so kind to me and I cannot thank them enough for making me feel so comfortable and providing an environment for me to thrive and learn. It has been truly an unforgettable experience. I will most definitely be remaining in contact with everyone that I met and worked with. I hope the door remains open so that I could embark on more opportunities with SiriusXM.

I strongly thank all the professors I have had at Pace for challenging me and giving me the necessary foundation for thriving in the workforce and exposing me to endless opportunities.

Students Dhruv Gandhi and Tejas Chavan to enter UX World Championship

We couldn’t be more proud of two of our amazing students, Dhruvil Gandhi and Tejas Chavan, who are finalists in the UX World Championship taking place in October!

Dhruv Poster
Dhruv’s winning poster

The competition challenged students to develop interactive concepts for future shopping experiences in order to improve the way we shop. Each entrant had to design a poster depicting their ideas, a process which took a lot of hard work and careful consideration.

“It was totally unexpected,” says Dhruv, after receiving the news. “I believe it’s people you have around you that affects your work. Friends, mentors and critiques – I am grateful to everyone.” Dhruv particularly wanted to thank Virali Jhaveri, a recent Seidenberg grad, for her help with the project.

Dhruv, Stacey Sarris, and Tejas

Dhruv and Tejas worked over summer to put together their competition submissions alongside a team of fellow students and alumni, under the guidance of Seidenberg professor Stacey Sarris. Professor Sarris, who coached the students throughout the process, said: “Two students reaching the finals shows that applying hard work and User Experience principles works! I couldn’t be more proud of both Dhruv and Tejas and I can’t wait to how they do in Austria.”

Professor Sarris teaches IS 660S – Interface Design for Web Applications. The class introduces students to the theories of Human-Computer Interaction and Usability and presents methodologies for analyzing and designing user-centered interactive interfaces.

Tejas' poster
Tejas’ poster

Tejas had some inspirational words to share: “If you are really dedicated to something, and if you have a great mentor like Prof. Stacey, then there is the possibility that you will be lost on your way to AWESOMENESS!”

Speaking of awesomeness, here’s what being a finalist means for our two superstars:

  • A ticket to the World Usability Congress 2016
  • A flight to Graz / Austria
  • Accommodation for one week
  • An Experience Tour in Styria

At the UX finals, the students will receive two additional tasks and will have six hours to solve them. The jury, which will be composed of experts from sponsoring partners and WUC speakers, will choose the winner of the UX World Championship.

The winner will be awarded at the World Usability Congress, so stay tuned!

We’re so proud of our students! We’re also pretty proud of the fact that Pace University is the only university to have not one but two students enter the final – some might suggest that says something about our students (that they’re the best).

Seidenberg hosts cybersecurity programs for high school teachers and students

20160722_140351Recently, the Seidenberg School welcomed teachers and high school students from 10 states for free training as part of an NSA grant to promote K-12 cybersecurity education.

The programs invited participants to visit Pace University’s Pleasantville campus for a week of cybersecurity education training. 25 high school teachers attended the first session, and 30 high school students the second. Since there’s plenty to cover, this post is all about the GenCyber teachers’ workshop and you’ll just have to wait for the next post to hear about Camp Cyberbot!

“The GenCyber summer programs aim to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by preparing our educators and by getting young students interested in the cybersecurity area, which is one of strengths of the Seidenberg School at Pace University,” said Professor Li-Chiou Chen, the principal investigator of the project.

One of the attendees, Nathan VanDyke, a high school math and computer science teacher from Minnesota, said: “This is really a whole new world for us. Cybersecurity will be a major area of study and we need to prepare our students for this field.’’

20160722_141234VanDyke was one of 25 high school teachers from 10 states who were at Pace University from July 14-22 to attend a program at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. The school is the only one in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) to host the teachers’ cybercamp as a part of the national GenCyber program funded by the National Security Agency to promote cybersecurity education at the K-to-12 level.

Teachers were introduced to Raspberry Pi, a tiny, inexpensive computer that makes it easier to teach computing concepts, such as encryption and programming in the classroom. 

After the GenCyber workshop’s conclusion, participants were awarded with certificates of completion.

Next post, we’re talking about the second session, Camp Cyberbot, which saw high school students building underwater SeaPerch robots and testing them in the PLV campus pond!

An Interview with New Seidenberg Advisory Board Member and Pace Alumnus Matthew Knell, VP of Social Media and Platform Partnerships at About.com

Matt Knell headshotMatthew Knell is one of our favorite alumni for various reasons. A hardworking student who went on to an exciting career in social media and digital marketing, Matt is a thought leader in the industry, having spoken at conferences including SXSW Interactive, Social Media Week and SocialFresh, and having been featured by leading publications including Fast Company, CNBC, PR Week, TechCrunch, AllThingsD, and Advertising Age.  He also contributes regularly to publications and maintains a thriving site discussing digital media trends on Medium.

Even while leaping from success to success, Matt has never forgotten his experience at the Seidenberg School. He is always happy to attend events and lend his support – which is why we asked him to bring his expertise to the Seidenberg Advisory board (spoiler alert: he accepted).

We recently had a chance to sit down with Matt, shortly after his appointment to the board – giving us a unique chance to learn about Matt’s career, inspirations, and very particular selections for making a PB&J. Enjoy!

What motivates you to support the Seidenberg School in so many ways?

I was the first in my family to go to college, and Pace has a soft spot in my heart because of that. Scholarships and great instructors gave me a great way to get out of what could have been a very ordinary and average life. Not a bad life, but ordinary. When you have the opportunity to learn from great staff, people who really care, the community, you want to give back to that and help other people so they can have the same chances you did.

How would someone get to where you are now?

The way I’ve built my career is about being open to different things and trying things that are interesting. I was an Information Systems major, which gave me a fundamental understanding of how systems work. Learning how things are put together helps because you learn in time that everything in life has a system. Understanding the core frameworks of systems helps you figure them out. If you can understand how a system works, you can master it.

I’ve learned to be open to new ideas and, as much as possible, to be flexible in work environments. I  try to be the nicest person in the room. Relationships help you get far in life, and having a core group of people who you help and who help you is never a bad thing. I try to make the world a better place and to do the right thing by people. I don’t always get it right –  I don’t think anyone does. But, don’t let that make you afraid to make mistakes, because you’re going to. If your heart’s in the right place and your motives are pure and genuine – then you’re probably going to be alright.

For fun I took a personality test, and found out my personality type is “virtuoso”.  I think it describes me well.

Who has inspired you in life and why?

All people I know have inspired me a little bit at a time. This industry (digital media) allows people to be creative and it’s inspiring to see people problem solve when presented with new things that have never been seen before.  Each job I’ve had, I’ve been lucky enough to have a mentor to help me through things.  In terms of outside of work, I’d have to rank  Jim Henson as an absolute genius. What he built with the Muppets was genuinely amazing. I’ve always thought Kermit the Frog was very pragmatic and you see a lot of Jim in him.

Would you rather be liked or respected?

Probably respected. Treating people fair and equitably means you’re always going to do things that people don’t like. You can be kind and thoughtful in horrible moments of life, and people remember that, even if you’re doing a difficult thing.

Do you think you’d be in your position if you were a jerk?

No, definitely not. The CEO talked to a lot of people who know me and this is where being the nicest guy in the room really matters. I think good hires are a strong blend of character and talent. No one likes working with a jerk.

What do you think about when you’re driving alone in your car?

Typically what I’m gonna do next, make next, how can I make my job better – it’s forward thinking.  But you’re just as often likely to find i’m thinking about the next Mets game and where I can get a great sandwich.   

How do you make a PB&J?

Generic Wonder Bread (though I do love Trader Joe’s Texas Toast when I can get it), creamy not crunchy PB. It has to be grape or strawberry jelly, and if it’s grape, it has to be concord. Cut the crusts.

What would you do if you won $10 million in the lottery?

Besides buying a house and paying all the debts, give to animal relief organizations. They gave us all our pets; we’d like to give back. Invest in tech businesses – giving start-ups like Codapillar a chance to grow.

Matthew Knell sneakersBest gift you’ve received?

When I was a kid, I wanted a pair of Ken Griffey Jr sneakers so badly I got a job to save for them, but I didn’t end up getting them. A few years ago, they made a retro version and my wife got them for me. Getting them was a culmination of 12-year-old Matt’s delight and glee.

What were your experiences when the internet first started to roll out?

I was a junior in high school. I remember being one of the first to get on Staten Island’s internet provider. My first experience with the internet was Compuserve and I remember vividly playing text-based trivia games you’d play for $4 an hour. Email addresses were all numbers @compuserve.com

I remember AOL being the hot thing because it has pictures. Old AOL chatrooms, followed by IRC, which was the next wave of ‘how do you get on the internet?’ Then the web browser came along. When I was a junior in high school I taught myself HTML, then I started going to Pace. Having the experience of watching the internet grow was really cool.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you have to have?

Food, obviously! My wife, of course, somebody to talk to. Then probably my iPad because I can do so much, even if it doesn’t have connectivity.

You’re still on that desert island, but you now have all the items in this room: what would you build?

(In the room: a long conference table with 12 chairs. A TV, lots of snacks)

Does the island have internet access? A superentertainment system. Plus, I have Chips Ahoy!

You wouldn’t try to get of the island?

Not if I have everything I need!

Tell me about one of the items on your work desk

I have a bunch of things. A picture of my wife. A little plastic Wall-E toy, and a Wall-E and Eva, which reminds me of my wife and I. I have a LEGO business card holder – a reminder that you can always keep building on things, and if things aren’t working out you can always build them again. them. And, of course, a Pace t-shirt.

What’s the best advice you can give to technology students?

Talk to people – especially people who aren’t technology students. Get out and learn from people who are not technologists.  The number one personality type I hire is a technologist who can actually communicate. It’s wonderful to be smart and be able to build the most awesome things, but if you can’t communicate it to others, it’s just not going to happen. Go to conferences. Go to hackathons. Meet people – your 20s are for building a life.

This is New York: invent a pizza topping

Chopped up Nathan’s Fries. They get just gooshy enough that if you cook them they get soft, and they’d go great with the cheese.


Thank you, Matthew, for a wonderful conversation and we are looking forward to having you as a member of the Seidenberg School Advisory Board!

Read Matt’s Medium post about his Pace University experience.