Seidenberg Peer Mentoring Program goes into its second year

The Seidenberg community was delighted to kick off the second year of our student mentoring program on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. When the program first began last year, we saw great success as senior students took incoming Seidenberg majors under their wings to help navigate the Seidenberg – and Pace University – experience.

Now in its second year, the program has seen a swell in new and returning students flocked back to meet one another and grow our Seidenberg family. The program aims to help new students settle into life at Pace, learn about how Seidenberg and the University operates, and meet new friends. For experienced students who are mentoring our n00bs, they learn how to provide guidance to new students and valuable skills that are extremely useful in the working world.

Director of Recruitment and Retention and Academic Advisor Stephanie Elson led the welcome presentation, which laid out the expectations of both mentors and mentees – including the requirement to take as many pictures as possible! #SeidenbergSelfie!

Our newest advisor on the NYC campus, Matt Brown, also welcomed the students. “Your relationship as mentees and mentors is about teamwork,” Matt said, emphasizing the community aspect of the program. “You all are part of a greater community, and individually you bring something great to this team.”

Matt also touched on one of our greatest assets here at Pace – “Pace is a global community with people from different backgrounds – be supportive, be non-judgmental.”

New students also got to meet community manager Olga Bogomolova, who welcomed them to the program and reminded them to take care of our space and each other.

The Seidenberg Peer Mentoring program is one of our points of pride. If you’ve been through our doors, you know that community is everything to Seidenberg, so we are delighted to see such a robust cohort of students entering and returning to the program this year.

We can’t wait to see how our mentors and mentees do! Welcome and welcome back to all of you!

DEF CON 25: Seidenberg edition

by Kait Bestenheider

On Wednesday, July 26, eight Seidenberg students from both NYC and Pleasantville campuses traveled across the country to attend one of the world’s largest hacking conventions, DEF CON, in Las Vegas. The conference offered talks, workshops, and industry connections, the quality of which cannot be matched elsewhere.

The group pictured below consisted of Adriana Aluia (BS Information Technology), Kaitlyn Bestenheider (MS Information Systems), Brandon DeLuca (BS Computer Science), Siobhan Kiernan (MS Computer Science), Andrew Ku (BS Information Systems), Benjamin Longobardi (BS Computer Science), Connor McGee (BS Computer Science), and Elizabeth Molloy (BS Information Systems and Cybersecurity).

From left to right: Ben Longobardi, Andrew Ku, Brandon DeLuca, Connor Magee, Elizabeth Molloy, Siobhan Kiernan, Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Adriana Aluia.

Each student had their own unique experiences. They were able to attend all of the following workshops in the four short days of the conference.

  • Applied Physical Attacks on Embedded Systems, Introductory Version
  • Subverting Privacy Exploitation Using HTTP
  • Building Application Security Automation with Python
  • Windows POST Exploitation
  • Penetration Testing in a Hostile Environment
  • UAC Bypasses in Win7/8/10

“DEF CON was really cool. The speakers, workshops, and talks we’re all super diverse,” says Andrew Ku, “I picked up things that I didn’t know I was going to pick up until I saw there was a village for it. But by far, interacting with other human beings was the highlight of my Def Con experience.”

Connor Magee agreed, stating, “Being able to pick the minds of some of the smartest people within the information security industry was a phenomenal experience!”

Two students were even able to present content that they had created at R00tz Asylum. R00tz is one of many villages featured at DEF CON, but unlike most other villages (see Crypto and Privacy Village, Lock Picking Village, Packet Hacking Village’s Wall of Sheep, and more), R00tz is dedicated to security aficionados age 6-16.

Kaitlyn Bestenheider and Elizabeth Molloy were asked by some of the organizers at Cryptography and Privacy Village if the material they created for Pace University’s GenCyber program could be used for their R00tz program. The girls were able to attend the “kids only” village to help present their material. Both girls cited it as the highlight of their DEF CON experience. Kaitlyn wrote about her experiences leading the workshop on her personal blog, Kait Tech – check it out!

But who was supervising Lizzie and Kait?

Brandon DeLuca summed up the overall experience well. “DEF CON, above all learning activities and interaction, was a motivating experience; you really learn a lot about unexplored topics in the area of study. Understanding just how skilled others are in their respective fields makes you want to push yourself even harder to learn and become the best.”

“It was kind of cool seeing the culture behind the stuff I’ve been learning about in school,” said Ben Longbardi.

To learn more about each of the students’ experiences, join us at the (WIT@Pace) meeting on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017, for their “DEFCON Redux” event. Register for the WIT event here!


Thanks to Kaitlyn Bestenheider for covering DEF CON! We will have another student blog from Kait about her experience in the R00tz workshop soon!

Celebrating our new PhD graduate, Dr Md Liakat Ali

The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ PhD in Computer Science program has been seeing a lot of success recently! Although still a young program, we are starting to see our talented PhD students who enrolled near the very beginning achieving their goals. We are very proud to announce the successful dissertation defenses by new PhD Dr. Md Liakat Ali!

“The last three years of my life at Pace University have taught me so many things,” said Dr. Ali. “On the very first day at Pace, I got an email from Dr. Charles C. Tappert for Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning class. At the end of email, there was a quote: ‘If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research.’ – Einstein. Dr. Tappert, my supervisor, a wonderful professor and an expertise in biometric areas . . . inspired me in so many ways to complete my PhD.”

Dr. Ali’s dissertation, “A Hybrid Generative/Discriminative Approach to Machine Learning Problems with Application to Keystroke Biometrics,” involved the design and implementation of a novel method for tackling machine learning problems that worked to increase security using keystoke biometrics. The way we interact with our devices gives clues to who we are: how we swipe screens, the pressure we exert, the speed with which we type; all of this can be used as identifying factors that can be used to further secure our devices and digital accounts.

Currently, Dr. Ali is a Computer Science professor at Caldwell University, NJ, and is committed to continuing to pass on his knowledge in the classroom. “[M]y goals are to teach IT courses with most advanced theory and practical application, making students’ enthusiastic for advancement in technology and increasing their opportunity. I would like to continue teaching and research in Computer Science.”

Dr. Charles Tappert, Dr. Md Liakat Ali, Dr. Lixin Tao, and Dr. Li-Chiou Chen

He has published more than 20 international conference and journal papers, including at IEEE conferences on Smart Cloud, Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing, and Big Data Security on Cloud.

Fellow PhD student Avery Leider attended Ali’s defense. “What was awesome about Liakat Ali’s PhD Dissertation is that he continued research that was done earlier by the first PhD of the Computer Science PhD program at Pace University, John Vincent “Vinnie” Monaco, who did groundbreaking work in user authentication using the biometrics of how a person types on the keyboard. Vinnie now works as a Computer Scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Ali used that research, and went farther than Vinnie did, making this closer to being able to be used every day. Ali and Vinnie were both students of Dr. Tappert, who advised them on their PhD dissertations because that is work that he has been interested in for years. Maybe Pace University will become famous for keystroke biometrics!”

Pace GenCyber brings cybersecurity to high school classrooms for the third year

Pace University’s GenCyber teacher workshop has completed its third year! The NSA and NSF-funded program, organized and run by the Seidenberg School, took place from July 13-21 and involved a wonderful cohort of high school teachers from across the nation attending lectures, discussions, lab exercises and activities pertaining to topics in cybersecurity.

Twenty-three high school teachers attended the Pace University Pleasantville campus to learn fundamental cybersecurity concepts and to study new resources and methods to facilitate integration of cybersecurity material into their class curricula or after-school activities.

Workshop participants were introduced to cybersecurity first principles, cryptography, web security, access control, biometrics, and cybersecurity analytics. The curriculum, designed and delivered by Seidenberg faculty and staff, was based on a combination of interpersonal, intrapersonal and kinesthetic learning activities that aimed to ensure participants got the most from their time at Pace University.

The GenCyber program is part of Seidenberg’s outreach efforts to infuse STEM and cybersecurity education into high school classrooms. As a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Pace strives to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for the challenges of the future. Through programs like GenCyber, Pace University supports teachers across the country in teaching the fundamentals to their students.

GenCyber participant Ron Conwell, who teaches Career and Technical Education at Clarkson Community School is Clarkston, MI, said: “Of the professional development experiences I have been to, this rises to the top just based on the amount of student engagement experiences that we were able to participate and engage in. We got to actually use [Raspberry] Pis, actually do the labs, and engage in the experiences ourselves rather than have to focus on just taking notes while other people talked.”

Ed McGinnis, who teaches Computer Science at St. George’s School in Newport, RI, agreed. “There were lots of resources and lots of info received. We were given links and tangible things to take home to use immediately in the classroom.”

Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation and program director said that “through Pace GenCyber we aim to educate high school teachers about cybersecurity. Curricula taught in high schools is particularly well suited for integration of cybersecurity, since cybersecurity problems can often be reduced to the fundamentals of mathematics and computer science.

“Through the Pace GenCyber curriculum, we not only teach cybersecurity, but we also showcase the connections between cybersecurity topics and the participants’ teaching disciplines, as well as provide the tools needed to infuse the material into the classroom. Pace GenCyber is more than just a summer workshop, it is a community of faculty, students, teachers, alumni, government and corporate leaders who contribute to shaping the future of cybersecurity.”

GenCyber is made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. The 2017 Pace University GenCyber program was designed and administered by Andreea Cotoranu (Program Director) and Dr. Li-Chiou Chen (Lead Instructor), with teaching support from Seidenberg School faculty Dr. Charles Tappert, Dr. Yegin Genc, and computer science high school teacher Jigar Jadav (Mamaroneck High School). Credit is also due to Barbara Woodworth and Jill Olimpieri, as well as Seidenberg students Tianyu Wang, Elizabeth Molloy, Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Steven Porras and Tristan Still. ​

Unveiling the Seidenberg School’s first ever cyberdefense course with the ACCA

Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, supported by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), will train finance professionals in cybersecurity and cyber defense in August this year.

The course – Foundations of Cyber Defense for Accounting – was announced after Pace University’s recent designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE). It will take place on Pace’s Lower Manhattan campus and is taught by Dr. James Gabberty, a seasoned Information and Communication Technology practitioner with more than 30 years’ experience in academia and industry.

Pace University worked to build the course’s contents in order to address the increasing cybersecurity crisis that affects every country. A 2016 ACCA report deemed cybercrime too dangerous and powerful to ignore; the Seidenberg School has for many years now trained new cybersecurity professionals to combat the growing threat.

The course will take place on August 4. Interested in attending? Register!

Read the full press release about Pace University’s new cyber defense for accounting course.

Learn about our master’s and doctoral programs at upcoming brunch and evening receptions

Thinking about a master’s or doctoral degree in technology? Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems offers a focused program of study in areas like computer science, information systems, software development, telecommunications and networks, enterprise analytics, and more.

We have a series of graduate information sessions coming up in August – register to learn about our master’s and doctoral programs!

Whether you’ve recently obtained your undergraduate degree or already have a master’s and are looking to take your education and expertise to the next level, the Seidenberg School can provide you with a rigorous program of courses, practical experience, research and the chance to present your work that will result in a meaningful degree – opening up a world of potential job opportunities, high salaries, and rewarding work.

Seidenberg graduates with a master’s degree go on to earn $83,050 on average within a year of graduation with companies like Google, Microsoft, Mastercard, JP Morgan Chase, Verizon, and more.

Our two doctoral degrees offer a robust program of coursework and dissertation research. The Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS) for Computing and IT professionals provides students the opportunity to pursue a doctorate part time while working full time in a program that extends their careers by an average of 13 years. The PhD in Computer Science cultivates advanced computing research scholars and professionals who will be competent in both industry and academia.

We are holding two events; one on each of Pace University’s campuses. Please register for your selected date to learn more about what a degree from Pace University can do for you.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Register