John Madias: Interview with a New Seidenberg Graduate

When students graduate from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, they may depart the proverbial nest but they certainly don’t leave our community. John Madias, who recently earned his Master’s in Computer Science, is one whose future we are particularly excited to follow. 

We asked John a few questions about his experience at Pace, his career so far, and what he plans for his future.


What program did you study at Pace and why did you pick that one?

The MS in Computer Science. I have been working at CM&F Group for the last four years, currently as the Director of Internal Systems/Development Specialist, and decided early on that I wanted to advance my skills and abilities in my current position. I currently work on the Operations Team for CM&F Group, an insurance company mainly offering malpractice insurance. Prior to these experiences, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and worked as the Director of Marketing at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Through my professional and educational journey to expand my knowledge in the field of marketing, I discovered the importance of basic coding knowledge and began to code on my own. I quickly found myself enjoying that very much and the rest is history.

Did anything surprise you during your degree? 

I really enjoyed learning about mobile app development. I was a little hesitant at first, given the stresses and complexities that come with mobile development work, but learning the very basics to the more advanced concepts became a really enjoyable experience. It’s a very fulfilling feeling to develop a mobile app to fruition, from the beginning stages of a project – literally drawing a sketch of your app with a pen and paper – to running the final user-friendly product.

John Madias, MS in Computer Science ’20

What are you most proud of in all of the things you have done over the last few years?

In the last few years, I am most proud of being able to manage all of my responsibilities successfully. Since the Fall 2017 semester when I started my Master’s degree, I have worked a full-time job, kept a healthy, daily workout routine and even started as a student at Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu in early 2019. I knew being able to keep a healthy work-school-life balance would be a challenge, but I am proud to say I was able to achieve all of my goals whole-heartedly.

Balance is important. Kudos for achieving that. Any other standout moments? 

Algorithms and Computing Theory was not an easy class, but it sure was entertaining. Despite having to grasp the complex theories and essential algorithms, Professor Thomas M. Schmidt made this class fun and interesting with his unique style of teaching. He referred to the class as the “Kingdom of Algorithmia” and, from time to time, would come to class dressed as a King. Certainly something I will never forget.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to future students?

One piece of advice I would give to future students is that if you really want something, you will find the time to do the work and get it done. There is no room for excuses. Just put the work in.

Finally, and importantly, what’s next for John Madias?

Hmm, what’s next? CM&F Group has become more than a job and like an extended family to me. I will continue to work there applying my new skills and abilities to better the firm’s business and make the process of applying for insurance better for our clients. I also have a lovely girlfriend of four years and am excited to see what the future holds for us.


Through his dedication, motivation, and discipline, John has demonstrated traits that we like to refer to as “the quintessential Seidenberg student” – someone who puts in the work, faces challenges head on, is scrappy and always ready to take advantage of the next opportunity.

Congratulations on making it through your master’s program, John! It’s a significant achievement and we are excited to hear about where it takes you.

Pace University professor Zhan Zhang awarded $175,000 NSF grant for wearable tech for emergency healthcare workers

In a time where bad news abounds, it’s essential to share the good – and the coronavirus can’t keep Seidenberg faculty down!

Information Technology  professor Zhan Zhang of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University was recently awarded a $175,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue research in wearable technologies for emergency healthcare workers.

“This is my long-standing research interest,” said Dr. Zhang, who has been doing research in the healthcare technology field since 2011. “Emergency care work is inherently important to society as it deals with life-threatening injuries and emergency situations. Improving the work efficiency of emergency care will lead to better patient outcomes and decreased medical errors.”

Dr. Zhang’s almost decade of work in the field has brought him to his current project: designing and developing novel technologies to support decision making and collaboration in highly dynamic medical environments where decisions must be made quickly and acted upon immediately, such as when paramedics have to keep someone’s heart beating while transporting them to a hospital.

Dr. Zhang’s prior research on emergency care teams enabled him to “identify an essential gap in real-time capture and integration of relevant patient data in the field by paramedics.”

Throughout the two-year term of the grant support, Dr. Zhang aims to develop wearable devices that can be used by paramedics to 1) collect real-time patient data in a hands-free manner, and 2) communicate with ER and trauma teams at the receiving hospital. For example, paramedics transporting a patient to a hospital can wear a smart glass device that transmits what they are seeing to colleagues awaiting the patient at the hospital, enabling them to act upon observations and instructions delivered by colleagues with relevant expertise. This would allow for more efficient and effective patient care until the paramedics could deliver the patient safely to the hospital.

What Dr. Zhang hopes to accomplish is threefold:

1) To establish an interdisciplinary area of socio-technical research that addresses real-world problems while also advancing the current state of computing technologies for enhancing human abilities to capture, integrate, and analyze critical data in a natural way.

2) To establish an excellent platform for an integrated education and outreach program. This aligns with several Seidenberg’s initiatives such as the upcoming Master’s in Human-Centered Design program (planned for Fall 2021). A diverse group of students, including underrepresented minorities and first-generation immigrants, will be involved in this research work so that they can gain first-hand experience in research, user-centered design, and software development.

3) To distribute research outcomes widely, through premium journals and conference publications to broaden the impact of this research.

“I feel extremely excited to work on this challenging yet understudied research problem that has significant scientific and societal impacts,” Dr. Zhang added.

We feel excited to support Dr. Zhang in his efforts, bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) further to the medical world. Congratulations to Dr. Zhang, and we are grateful to the National Science Foundation for its support in his compelling research.

Pace University professor Richard Kline 3D prints face shield frames for New York medical workers to protect against COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has brought with it numerous challenges, but there have also been many moments in which the human drive to help others during times of hardship has blossomed.

One such instance was the work of Richard Kline, a professor of computer science at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. As a techie, Dr. Kline wanted to see whether he could contribute to the crisis response in any way. After reading an article about makers – people who design, prototype, and build objects, often in makerspaces – banding together to create much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical workers, Dr. Kline saw an opportunity to help.

“I contacted the volunteer group at NYCMakesPPE.com and got into their Discord chat group,” explained Dr. Kline. “I was asked right away to print a prototype for a new face shield frame design they are working on.”

Dr. Kline demoing the 3d printed frame, wearing it on his head.
Dr. Kline demoing the 3d printed frame.

A small team of volunteers were already working to improve upon a public-domain face shield design from Swedish company 3DVerkstan to increase the amount of space in front of the wearer’s head and to allow the clear plastic shields to be attached more easily.

After sharing photos of the prototype and offering feedback, Dr. Kline continued to work with fellow volunteers.

Dr. Kline demoing the 3d printed frame with shield, wearing it on his head with the shield covering his face.
Dr. Kline demoing the full face shield.

“Since that first print, I’ve helped with several further iterations among discussions with half a dozen other people, many with expertise in design and manufacturing. I’ve also printed 60 copies of their ‘production’ frame design to contribute to the group’s supply.”

With the 60 frames packed up, Dr. Kline mailed them to the NYCMakesPPE  organizers. Once they arrive, other volunteers will attach clear plastic shields (which they are also making), sanitize them, and prepare them for distribution within NYC.

A picture of a 3d printer and printing materials.
The 3d printer and materials for printing frames.

“It’s gratifying to have found something concrete I can do to help out in a small way during these troubling times,” said Dr. Kline.

We are filled with #SeidenbergPride at Dr. Kline’s contributions of much-needed equipment for New York medical workers. As Pace University has campuses in both New York City and Westchester, New York is our home – so we are always looking for an opportunity where the Pace and Seidenberg community can make an impact.

The 8th Annual Celebration of Individuals with Disabilities in Film Movie Marathon is Postponed

EDIT: The FILM FEST is postponed indefinitely — WE WILL UPDATE ASAP

A DAY OF CELEBRATION AT PACE UNIVERSITY

Pace University is once again celebrating diversity with its eighth Annual Celebration of People with Disabilities in Films Film Festival. This year, the festivities have expanded into Disability is Diversity Day, which will take place on March 30, 2020.

As always, this event is free and open to all.

The festival offers the opportunity for guests to meet alumni, faculty, officials, and students of Pace University, as well as distinguished advocates for people with disabilities. This includes governmental legislators, municipal officials, delegates from the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, non-profit organizational officials and staff, and people with disabilities and their families.

EVENT DETAILS

Monday, March 30, 2020
Reception: 5:00pm
Program start: 6:00pm
Pace University
Bianco Room
3 Spruce Street
New York
RSVP: contact James Lawler at jlawler@pace.edu or (212) 346-1013

ABOUT THE FILM FEST

The program includes inspirational short films featuring people with disabilities. The characters are depicted personally and professionally, living with pride in their abilities. There will be a keynote speech and an interactive panel to discuss the films, as well as musical performances.

Most of the films in the program have been recognized at the international Sprout Film Festival, with whom Pace is partnered in 2020. The films are a mix of comedy, documentary, drama, narrative and poetry, and international screenings. The program will demonstrate the breadth of life experienced by people with disabilities.

The Eighth Annual Celebration of People with Disabilities in Films Film Festival: Disability is Diversity Day at Pace University will be an evening of festivities, fun, and learning with refreshments for all. The program will emphasize the rights of people with disabilities in a society which often marginalizes them.

The Film Festival will be held on Monday, March 30, 2020, from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM, in the Angelo Bianco Room, G Level, 3 Spruce Street, Pace University. The event will include displays and exhibits, a networking reception, and refreshments beginning at 5:00 PM.

The program is free for all.

To RSVP, contact Jim Lawler at jlawler@pace.edu or (212) 346-1013.

Meet the Seidenberg School Department Chairs

The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University contains two departments, the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Information Technology.

We are pleased to announce that, following in the impressive footsteps of our previous department chairs, Dr. Li-Chiou Chen and Dr. Christelle Scharff, new department chairs have recently been appointed to the roles.

Computer Science Department

Anthony Joseph, PhD
Co-Chair

Dr. Anthony Joseph, Professor of Computer Science at Pace University, holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Electrical Engineering with specialization in digital signal processing and has worked in both industry and academia for over 35 years. He has supervised many projects and master’s theses. He has taught in the public primary school system in the Caribbean and the secondary and post-secondary educational systems in the USA. Dr. Joseph has provided numerous presentations to educators and public and private sector employees on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and careers in such fields as engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity in the context of the national and global economy. He is active in the high school sphere and is a longstanding advisory board member on two NYC public high schools’ New York State approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Moreover, he counsels and advises high-ranking officials in both the public and private sectors. His research interests include digital signal processing, neural networks and deep learning, modeling and forecasting, data compression, cybersecurity and digital forensics, teamwork, innovation and entrepreneurship, and teaching and learning.

Dr. Joseph’s motto:

Teaching is more than mastering content and learning is more than reading and doing; they both require commitment and metacognition. Let’s meet students where they are and groom them into what they hope to become.

Lixin Tao, PhD
Co-Chair

Lixin Tao with students

Dr. Lixin Tao is a tenured professor and Co-Chair of the Computer Science Department of Pace University in New York. He received his PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, and conducted computer science research and teaching with Concordia University in Montreal for 13 years before he joined Pace University in 2001. His research interest includes cloud computing, internet and web computing, intelligent systems, software engineering, cybersecurity, parallel and distributed computing, and combinatorial optimization. He has published over 300 original papers in refereed international journals and conference proceedings. He is an IEEE senior member, and national ABET evaluator for computer science programs.

Quote from Dr. Tao:

We aim at bringing out the best from our students’ passion and initiatives in studying advanced computing technologies, and awarding them with the best career opportunities.

Information Technology Department

Namchul Shin

Namchul Shin, PhD
Chair

Namchul Shin is Professor of Information Systems and Department Chair in the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace University. He received his Ph.D. in Management (specialization in MIS) from the University of California at Irvine. His current research interests focus on the areas of innovation, IT value, organizational impacts of IT, and open data. His work has been published in journals such as Decision Support Systems, Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, European Journal of Information Systems, Industry and Innovation, International Journal of Information Management, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, Nature, and Science, among other journals. He is associate editor of the Journal of Electronic Commerce Research and a member of the editorial board of Business Process Management Journal. He has served the Office of the Provost as a faculty fellow from 2012 to 2014 and is a faculty fellow at the Wilson Center at Pace University.

Quote from Dr. Shin:

We are living in a time period termed the fourth industrial revolution (so-called Industry 4.0), which is characterized by emerging technologies, such as AI, IoT, the Cloud, Blockchain, and advanced data analytics. These technologies enable digital innovation and transformation, that may help address the economic and social challenges emerging today. IT Department of Seidenberg School supports students by helping them learn the fundamentals of IS/IT, with the balance of learning theories and having hands-on experience, to apply theories to practice. We support students to build up knowledge and capabilities to innovate using emerging technologies to create value for the society. We are student-centered and open for helping students learn.

Please join us in welcoming our new Department Chairs! We are excited to see where their leadership takes the Seidenberg School over the coming semesters.

Healthcare industry talks cybersecurity at third annual Pace University conference

The third annual cybersecurity conference took place at Pace University’s Westchester campus on Thursday, October 3, 2019. The conference included a set of panelists and speakers from many top East Coast organizations and a guest appearance from a canine cybercrime specialist.

This year’s focus was the Economics of Cybersecurity in Healthcare: Understanding the Costs of Cyber Exposure to Protect Enterprises and Patients.

After a networking breakfast, the Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Jonathan Hill, welcomed guests and spoke about the work being done at Pace University. “Pace University is doing a lot to address the [cyber] threat today,” he said.

President Marvin Krislov also gave remarks, noting that “healthcare is the largest sector in the Westchester economy,” – an economy which Pace University contributes nearly $360 million to, it was recently announced.

The conference got started with an opening conversation between Jennings Aske, the Senior VP and CISO at NewYork-Presbyterian, and Anthony Johnson, Managing Partner at Delve Risk. The topic of the conversation was a threat briefing on the healthcare landscape. Jennings and Anthony dove into a fascinating discussion on risk management, patient privacy, and leading cybersecurity initiatives.

After the discussion, the Dean of the College of Health Professions, Harriet Feldman, took to the podium to discuss the industry outlook. “The intersection of technology and healthcare could not be more important than it is now,” she said.

Following was a new addition to our conference program – an interactive cyberattack exercise. The exercise was run by Shawn Fohs, Managing Director of Forensics US Cyber Response & Privacy Leader, Ernst & Young; Kevin M. McGuire, the Commissioner at Westchester County Department of Social Services; Jonathan Bandel, Assistant VP for Strategic Service Lines at White Plains Hospital, Robert Largey, Co-Founder of East Post Road Ventures, LLC, the Innovation Accelerator Arm of White Plains Hospital, and Pace University’s very own Kit Lee-Demery, the Assistant Director for Emergency Management and Fire Safety.

The session consisted of a tabletop exercise that aimed to create an opportunities for conference attendees – stakeholders within the healthcare critical infrastructure sector – to enhance their understanding of key issues associated with a focused cyberattack, including coordination and information sharing amongst private entities and government agencies in response to such an attack. Participants got to come up with a response to a fake, albeit plausible, cyberattack based on current plans, policies, and procedures. It involved contact from the FBI, hacking from malicious agencies, increasing panic, media scandals, and stolen information – all the makings of a quality drama!

Once the exercise was finished, the first panel discussion of the day took place over lunch. The panel, titled Quantification of Risk Management of the Healthcare Enterprise, included guests Michael Corcione, Managing Director at Treliant Risk Advisors and Robert Zandoli, Global CISO and Chief Technology Officer at BUNGE LTD, both of whom are Pace alumni. Co-Founder and CEO of Sovy, John Popolizio completed the group alongside moderator and Seidenberg School faculty member, Li-Chiou Chen.

No cybersecurity conference at Pace is complete without an appearance from our four-legged friend, Harley the Cyber Dog. As in previous years, Westchester County Police Department’s Detective Brett Hochron and his K9 partner Harley gave a demonstration of Harley’s skills at sniffing out cybercrime. Trained to detect a particular chemical scent present in many tech devices, Harley is capable of discovering hidden USBs, SD cards, smartphones, and more – even if they are very carefully hidden. Detective Hochron explained that, as Harley only eats when she successfully finds a hidden device, she associates working with a worthy reward, making her quite possibly one of the happiest professionals in the cybersecurity industry.

Prior to the demonstration, Detective Hochron hid several devices around the conference room, including a micro USB taped to an electrical outlet and another one tucked under a pillow. Harley found them all within minutes.

Harley’s training has enabled her to assist police and the FBI’s cyber crime unit in convicting criminals. When police conduct physical searches, they may miss evidence that is hidden under floorboards, in electronic sockets, inside furniture, and other imaginative locations. Dogs like Harley are able to provide the backup that ensures no laptop is left unturned or undiscovered.

The final panel of the day looked to the past, present, and future. The panel was titled the Evolution of the Cybersecurity Program for the Healthcare Enterprise and featured Chris Hetner, Managing Director of Marsh Risk Consulting’s Cyber Risk Consulting; Steven Goriah, DHA, CHCIO, FACHE, VP of Information Technology/CIO, Chief Information Security Officer at Westchester Medical Health Network, Seidenberg professor and digital forensics expert Darren Hayes; and Jennings Aske, SVP and CISO at NewYork-Presbyterian. Seidenberg professor and Associate Dean, Jim Gabberty, moderated the discussion.

Following the panel, Dean Jonathan Hill gave his closing remarks and the conference was open for guests to network and meet with panelists.

We are grateful to our sponsor, Treliant, for the generous support in making this conference a success.

Thanks also go to Detective Brett Hochron of Westchester County Police Department for another fantastic presentation with Harley.