Nexus Maximus: a Wrap-up of the 2018 Conference

In September 2018, students from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems presented innovative solutions to problems at Nexus Maximus. In order to showcase their hard work properly, we reached out to some of the students who attended the conference in order to hear about their experiences first-hand.

Nexus Maximus, created by Jefferson (Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University), is a conference which gives undergraduate and graduate students a platform to present innovative projects each year. The 2018 conference opened the minds of students to explore many topics, including improving health care access, designing healthy communities, developing new policies and business models to deliver sustainable value to the community, and building community diversity. According to Jefferson, students had the opportunity to “evaluate and seek innovation that supports the health and well-being of specific local community populations.”

Of the Computer Science, Information Systems, and Information

Technology students who attended the conference—Chinmay Joshi, Ronak Pansara, Ezana Ceman, Joseph Goggin, Kyle Hanson, Naglis Bukauskas, William Bender, Christopher Cherestal, and Laina Posner—two students got in touch with us to discuss their experiences. They outlined what they experienced and highlighted the best portions of the weekend-long experience.

Ezana Ceman, a junior undergraduate student majoring in Information Systems and a New York City Design Factory (NYCDF) Product Innovation Project (PiP) Member, spoke with me about the 2018 conference. She called the event a “fun and innovative experience” and described it as “a unique 3-day team challenge that allows you to step out of your comfort zone and use your talents to create an amazing concept.”

Some of the concepts worked on included strategies to battle food insecurity, homelessness, and much more. While the projects themselves shined a light on the groups’ innovative minds, Ezana explains that recognition wasn’t the highlight.

The best part of the conference is the community participation itself, according to Ezana: “you get to meet students from all around the world and work together to make society a better place.”

Nexus Maximus assists students by giving them the opportunity to learn how to develop and present projects, but the inspiration comes from the students themselves. The willingness to create innovative solutions to communities problems showcases the determination that these students have to create a better world.

Ronak Pansara, a graduate student who will complete his master’s degree in Information Systems in May 2019, also spoke about his experience at Nexus Maximus and the project that his team presented.

Ronak’s team helped people seeking help on NYC streets by giving them detailed and professional signs. He explained that his team’s “project “Signs of Trust” is all about helping homeless people in a unique manner.”

He says further, “This project was inspired by problems arising in many areas. [Their team found that] homeless people were either ignored or people would not trust them as they might not use [the] money for [a] good cause. So that’s why we came up with a unique solution for bridging the gap of honesty and trust.”

“My experience at Nexus Maximus was stupendous,” he states. “It not only helped me building my interpersonal skills, it also helped me in learning new things on how to work with people who were from different [countries].”

Ronak noted that the best part of his overall experience was “how [they] identified [their] individual strengths and weaknesses and how [they] utilized each other by working together in the project.”

“Though we didn’t win any awards, we did get one [non-governmental organization] (NGO) [which] supported our cause for homeless people,” Ronak states. The recognition in itself was a win for the team.

Another team, which included Chinmay Joshi and others, did get recognized with the “Maxime Innovation” award from the conference for maximum innovation. The team worked on a project, titled “Fresh Express”, that tackled how to better deal with food insecurity and waste within the Philadelphia area.

Overall, all of the students experienced growth and success at Nexus Maximus. Both Ronak and Ezana recommend this opportunity to other students. If you’re interested in attending in September 2019, grab some classmates and get to work on the next innovative idea!

Hey New York Times! Still looking for seats in a computer science class?

Look no further.

The New York Times published an article on January 24, 2019, stating that the toughest part about getting a degree in computer science was getting a seat in class.

According to journalist Natasha Singer, the degree program is so popular that demand far exceeds the capacity of many universities around the country to accommodate them.

Well, we at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University wanted to let you know that we have seats available for you! While it’s true that our “little” School has been growing steadily over the past five years, we have gone to lengths to ensure that there are classes at decent times, with great faculty, and in the hottest topics in tech, for our students to take.

In fact, one of the best things about the growth of the Seidenberg School, of our student body, and of the range of classes we offer – like our brand new Design Thinking and Innovation Class, our UX/IX classes, our cybersecurity courses, our algorithms and database courses, and much more – is that we are training more students than ever to enter an ever-growing workforce. Alongside the NYT’s article on a growing need for technology education are plenty of others about the increasing need for tech workers – for example, the November 14, 2018, article by Steve Lohr entitled “New York Is a Genuine Tech Hub (and That Was Before Amazon)” – and what does that mean? The more students we educate, the more we can address that need together.

Need a seat? Seidenberg students Kenton, Dhruv, and Krutika have got you covered!

So while many other universities across the USA may be at capacity, the Seidenberg School continues to welcome new students for our undergraduate degree programs in computer science and information systems, our master’s degree programs (with new programs in Data Science, Cybersecurity, and UX coming soon), and our prestigious PhD in Computer Science that continues to boost our research and innovation in cutting edge technology.

We welcome students from Manhattan to Mumbai, from Stamford to Senegal, from Tarrytown to Texas, and from California to Canada. Our students are smart, ambitious, scrappy, and entrepreneurial – and they will always have a place to call home at Pace University.

Want to learn more about our programs? Check out our program page here.

Ready to grab a seat in the entering class of Fall ’19? We’ll have one waiting for you – click here!

Send us your photos! Tag us on social media with your #saveaseat pic! Links below!

 

Tech Leadership Series: Daniel Barchi, SEM, SVP, CIO of Newyork-Presbyterian

The fall semester may be coming to an end but the Seidenberg Tech Leadership Series is showing no sign of slowing down! Events are already being scheduled for the spring, but for the tail end of the fall semester we had a fantastic guest: Daniel Barchi, SEM, SVP, and CIO of Newyork-Presbyterian.

Over the course of his career, Daniel has taken on the role of Chief Information Officer for numerous health care systems: Carilion Health System, Yale New Haven Health System, Yale School of Medicine, and currently New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Before taking on these high level positions, Barchi acted as a Naval Officer in the US Navy for six years. He was even awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his leadership.

Testament to Daniel’s career and expertise was a great turnout of students who came to the Seidenberg School’s NYC campus the day before finals week. Despite escalating stress levels, around a hundred students stopped by to learn from our guest.

As with previous events, Daniel spent around an hour talking tech and leadership in conversation with Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill. Dean Hill quizzed the CIO about various aspects of his work, including the importance of technology in the healthcare industry, strategy, telemedicine and remote healthcare, and more.

One of the interesting remarks Daniel had was about technology’s importance regarding running a business. He said that he believed that running Newyork-Presbyterian – and other industries – successfully was built from a blend of “80% people, 15% process, 5% technology.”

“That 5% technology is important,” Daniel added, telling a story of how just that morning there had been a tech blackout in one of the locations his department serves. Despite technology just being a small part of the entire ecosystem, if that 5% goes down, the whole system fails – which is why Daniel and his staff work hard to get everything back up and running as quickly as possible. The people and process enable responses like that to happen.

“Technology is like an iceberg,” Daniel continued. “There’s only a tiny bit of an iceberg poking up out of the surface . . . as a technologist I need to make sure that bottom part is working well, out of sight and out of mind.”

As users, we tend to just care about the parts we interact with. “Everybody is focused on that 5% that’s above the surface,” Daniel said. Maintaining the larger 95% is what allows users to interact with systems without worry.

Dean Hill then asked about Daniel’s technology strategy.

“My job as the CIO is not about talking about the bits and bytes . . . it’s the strategy side of it . . . where do we invest our dollars, our resources, and our people.”

Part of the strategy is also developing new tech advancements. Daniel spoke at length about the cool things Newyork-Presbyterian was doing for medical staff and patients alike, including telemedicine initiatives like having physicians interact with patients over video calls and asking questions that got them to self-diagnose and allow the doctor to give treatment without being there in person.

Through this technology, Daniel revealed that physicians had “diagnosed three instances of appendicitis this month alone.”

Did he think computers would replace the need for human doctors entirely? “We think that the physician or nurse PLUS the computer is better.” Although artificial intelligence is getting to the stage where using computers to diagnose and treat medical issues is becoming more and more possible, the nuance of the human mind is a crucial aspect to identifying and understanding the small distinctions that differentiate between similarly presenting issues.

AI is a field with plenty of potential, not just in terms of technologically and career-wise, but financially too. “Artificial intelligence right now is like the gold rush in California was in 1849,” Daniel said. The key was to position oneself in the best place to capitalize from the technology. “Who made the money in the gold rush? The people who sold the picks and shovels.”

“What should these students be doing to prepare themselves for a career in this area,” Dean Hill asked.

“I’m a fan of people moving in their careers,” Daniel said. “If you think about your professors here who might have had a career in business and moved on to come here – people who have had training in one area can use their skills to move into another area.”

At the Seidenberg School and at Pace University, we always encourage our students to diversify what they learn. Knowing more than one area, and learning how to apply skills from one field into another, is what helps get jobs across different areas. Daniel affirmed that this was key to working in the tech sector today.

One area that is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future is cybersecurity.

“I’m always concerned about information security,” Daniel said. “We have about 8.5 million patient records . . . we have to keep it safe. There are always people that are trying to hack into our networks. You know better than most audiences that while we’ve been talking here we’ve probably had three penetration attempts into our systems.”

Daniel revealed that on the past weekend he had been in a long phone call when a hacker had attempted to penetrate their system with a version of the Wannacry virus – seven attempts in all – but the team managed to take care of it.

One of the last things Dr. Hill asked Daniel about was also related to security, but along a different vein. “Is privacy possible?” Dean Hill asked, “Or is the way the internet was built so open that perfect security is a pipe dream?”

Daniel replied with insights that many Pace students and internet users should pay attention to. “People make choices about what they put online . . . if going on vacation and posting where I am and pictures of myself is one end of the spectrum . . . banking online . . . is another end of the spectrum too.”

As users, we choose what we put online, whether it’s vacation location tagging on social media (that indicates our homes are currently empty) or our personal information on banking websites, investment accounts, and more.

“We can all make choices to make ourselves safer,” Daniel remarked.

But the truth is that the more we engage with the internet the more we put ourselves at risk.

The conversation closed up with a few final thoughts from Daniel. He encouraged students to go into careers doing things they loved, but if they could find ways to apply those passions to other areas, they could potentially excel. “If you love coding . . . for those of you who want to use it as a platform to do other things, I would encourage you to push the boundaries.”

Sharing one of his favorite quotes, Daniel illustrated his point.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage

  • Anaïs Nin

We’d like to thank Daniel Barchi for his stellar appearance at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. The Seidenberg Tech Leadership series is one of our top event series that puts our students in front of exceptional leaders in the industry, and Daniel’s genial presence was perfect for bringing calm before the end of the semester.

 

Ivan Seidenberg visits Pace University to meet students and sign new book Verizon Untethered

This year marks 35 years of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems being an independent school at Pace University. Originally called the School of Computer Science and Information Systems, the school gained the Seidenberg name in 2005, when Ivan Seidenberg made a record-breaking donation to Pace University in support of his strong belief that all students should receive a tech education.

The Seidenberg School is celebrating its 35th year as an independent arm of Pace University.

It’s only natural that, now, whenever Mr. Seidenberg stops by his namesake school, there’s a hint of celebrity in the air. As a top executive for much of his career, Ivan already cuts an impressive figure. However, his 2005 gift to Pace University has been hugely significant for many of our students, enabling them to attend the Seidenberg School as part of the Seidenberg Scholars program – so there is also a sense of gratitude among the excited whispers that there’s a famous celeb at Pace.

So it was no surprise that on Thursday, November 8, 2018, the Seidenberg Lounge at 163 William Street was packed. Students, faculty, and staff turned up in force to meet and hear Ivan speak about his fascinating career, his leadership, and his advice for the next generation of technology executives.

Ivan Seidenberg’s new book, Verizon Untethered: An Insider’s Story of Innovation and Disruption

Not only was Mr. Seidenberg on campus to share his wisdom with the community, but we had a crate of volumes of his new book, Verizon Untethered: An Insider’s Story of Innovation and Disruption ready to be signed and shared with our students.

Our guest sat down with Jonathan Hill, Dean of the Seidenberg School, for a fascinating conversation before an audience that was bursting at the seams. After the introductions, the pair cut swiftly to the chase with Dean Hill’s first question – what can our students do to succeed in the workplace?

Ivan’s response was refreshingly honest. “When you go out in this world and you’re high maintenance, people will get rid of you,” Mr. Seidenberg said. “If you’re not a good teammate – you’re gone. Be a good teammate, be collaborative, be nice to work with . . . together you can do great things.”

One point our visiting tech leaders often make is the importance of working well with others, and here was Ivan Seidenberg himself iterating the same idea. He continued with a caution about letting one’s ambitions get in the way of relationships: “Even if you have great ambition, your ambition should not dominate those around you,” he said. “Realize that people are watching you all the time.”

He summed everything up with a list of his top three tips:

  1. Know your stuff
  2. Don’t be a pain (you are always being watched)
  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks

“It’s okay to win, and it’s okay to fail,” he added, noting that he had always found that the harder the work was, the more engaged he got and the more engaged the people around him became.

Dean Jonathan Hill and Ivan Seidenberg kick off the discussion before a packed audience.

On leadership

“There’s a transition that folks do early in their career where they’re called upon to lead,” said Dean Hill. “In the book, you make the statement that leadership has less to do with the individual and more to do with the cultural norms . . . what should people do to cultivate leadership?”

Ivan replied: “I have one word that starts the whole process – accountability. When you’re personally accountable, you accept the responsibility of whatever you’re doing. It shows up in your language . . . accountability starts with your personal willingness to take control of the things you can control.”

He continued, listing two other crucial aspects of leadership: “Leadership is all about standards . . . those people who watch you . . . they watch how you do your work. Do you cut corners?” This was followed by the third facet, respect. “Leadership is also about respect – how you treat other people. Do you treat others as equal?”

And even when you’re in a position of power, what you think is right and correct doesn’t always mean it’s right and correct. To earn respect and trust, a good leader performs the job according to the needs of the people around them, rather than their own ideas. “It wasn’t what I thought was a good job, it was what the people around me thought was a good job.”

Leading by serving the needs of others may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s an effective technique.

Dealing with crises

“How do you deal with crises?” was Dean Hill’s next question.

“Never think it’s about you,” Ivan said. “You don’t face any challenges solo. Particularly in business, it’s got to be about partners. If you embrace that, you have the power of four eyes instead of two, four ears instead of two, two brains . . . and especially for you [students], you understand the power of scale.”

One of the keys in dealing with crises is coming at it head on: “It’s never a case of backing away from it, it’s about embracing it.”

MENTORSHIP

Dean Hill brought up the next topic: mentorship. “In the book, you mention a lot of people who mentored you . . . how did you forge these relationships?”

Ivan responded with a story. He explained about how, when he retired in 2011, lots of people told him he should write a book. After thinking about it and deciding he’d like to give it a try, he spent a lot of time talking to people who influenced his life and his career, and listening to their stories. Those stories became the chapters of his book. “It’s an example of how the power of more than one creates a story,” he remarked.

Ivan Seidenberg with Gary Laermer, Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations at Pace

He was then asked to define what a ‘win’ meant for him. “A win wasn’t necessarily more money, it was having a higher purpose,” he said, and continued with an example from his time at Verizon. Verizon wanted to provide unlimited bandwidth to its customers but was constrained by the capabilities at the time. The company still wanted to do something good for its customers, so they shifted perspective and came up with the goal of becoming the ‘best network’. Once they agreed on their higher purpose, they were able to start acting to make it happen.

#SEIDENBERGPRIDE

It was a good time for Dean Hill’s next question: what are you most proud of?

“Beside my family?” Ivan quipped, smiling at his wife in the front row. “I think in business it’s very simple. When I retired, that was the first question I was asked. The most important contribution to me is that I look back at the company now and see that Verizon is stronger, more independent and more in control of its future. And that’s all I could ever ask for.”

Mr. Seidenberg went on to explain his belief that Verizon is in the position it’s in today because of the people. When he was CEO there, he made sure to manage and mentor the people who would maintain the quality of work that he believed in, even if they employ different styles. “That is the most important thing: to produce people who can achieve things their way.”

He also shared an anecdote offering an interesting perspective on 9/11. One of the less talked-about consequences of the events on that day included a huge hit to cellular service, which affected not only the stock market but individuals and emergency services who were desperately trying to get in touch with one another. Ivan, alongside his team at Verizon, set to reconnecting the country, working diligently to fix the service problems that were preventing people from finding out if their loved ones were okay and services like the fire service from communicating. “9/11 was one of our greatest services,” he told students, “not just for getting the stock market back up and running, but for getting the country back up and running.”

Looking to the future: it’s all about that 5G

“We’re entering the fourth industrial revolution,” said Dean Hill. “What excites you in technology right now?”

“In our industry, all roads lead to 5G. When you think of 5G from where you sit, it’s very cool – latency (the speed of the network) will soon be 50 times what it is today. 5G, coupled with sharper engineering, systems integration, and with IT capability across institutions, will completely change everything. Whatever component of this industry you’re interested in . . . connectivity, network, software systems, and applications – there’s no component holding back all the others. In the next 40 years, what will happen with all of this technology is that it’ll probably get even faster . . . the ability to make the world smaller and provide utility and good, it’s incomprehensible the kind of things that can be done.”

He added: “And I love where you are, you’re getting the kind of education that’ll put you right there.”

On that note, Dr. Hill asked: “what advice do you have for our students to maximize the opportunity of being in school now?”

“If I were the HR department and I was hiring people, I’d assume you’ll have a degree like everybody else. It’ll be a good degree coming out of Pace, but I’d want to know a few other things . . . I’d like the idea that you’ll have done a few collaboration projects for other people . . . I’d like to know that you fixed some programs for other people – having activity that isn’t part of your program.”

Having extracurricular work on one’s resume, especially that demonstrates hands-on experience, is never a bad thing. “Coming in with a resume of activity that fits what you do – it doesn’t have to be scientific, it can be that you like to work with others, you like to work with the scientific community . . . we love good grades, obviously, but we also like to know that you’re worthy of taking a risk on; someone’s got to invest in you.”

Finally, one should never underestimate the power of a smile, according to Ivan Seidenberg! “I love when you walk in the door and you smile . . . smiling is good, it can disarm people.”

There was a long line of students to meet Mr. Seidenberg and have their copies of his book autographed.

Over to you

As time was trickling away too quickly, the Dean turned to the audience for questions. Here are a few of them with Ivan’s responses.

Q: What do you do now that you’re retired?

A: Lots! I participate on boards, invest in companies – including startups. I like investing in helping people to succeed

Q: If you were a college graduate today, would you pursue the same career or something different?

A: I’m only going tell you this cos you shouldn’t do what I did . . . I ended up leaving day school and going to night school. I ended up in the army because of that. I ended up overseas, somewhere I didn’t want to be, because I dropped out of day school. Then I ended up working at the phone company because I dropped out of day school . . . obviously it worked out! But I realized that over that time that I had to fit in, that I couldn’t be an outcast. I had to realize that the sun and the moon and the starts didn’t revolve around me. Sound familiar? What I would not change is the lessons I learned and how I applied them. But whether they would lead me down the same career could be different.

Q: What big risks did you take?

A: I came home and told my wife “we’re moving to Washington!” . . .  that was the hardest sale I’ve ever had to make! The other one was when I chose to give up my job as CEO and become co-CEO. Most of the risks you take are personal. They’re not business risks.

Student Vicente Gomez meeting “the man responsible for my wifi and cable at home, and the school I go to.”

Following the Q&A session, the event moved to the renovated collaboration space where a table had been set up for the book signing. Students lined all the way down the hallway for their chance to meet and shake hands with the Seidenberg School’s benefactor. A small celebration took place as the Seidenberg community thanked Mr. Seidenberg for the visit and for his honesty and depth during the discussion. Pace University President Marvin Krislov and Provost Vanya Quiñones also stopped by to greet our guest, and we were happy to see quite a few alumni return to their old stomping grounds for the occasion.

Ivan Seidenberg’s book, Verizon Untethered: An Insider’s Story of Innovation and Disruption, is well worth the read for any aspiring leader who wants to learn from one of the best.

We’d like to thank Mr. Seidenberg and his wife Phyllis for their time and generosity throughout this event. Students gave the most positive reviews and we hope to have you back in 2019!

Team Seidenberg – the students and staff who make it happen!

Diwali Celebration at Seidenberg School!

“Doubt is like darkness, trust is like light. There is no way to destroy light by throwing darkness into it. So come together and enjoy the festival of lights!”

On Tuesday, November 6, Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems celebrated Diwali.

The festival of Diwali originates from India, where it is commonly called the “Festival of Lights”. On the day of Diwali every house is decorated with lots of lights and lanterns. “Laxmi,” the goddess of strength, prosperity, love and wealth, is worshiped on Diwali. People wear traditional Indian clothes and enjoy Diwali night with delicious food and beautiful fireworks.

The Seidenberg Diwali celebration was held at the Seidenberg Lounge, located at 163 William Street. The entrance was decorated with a colorful Rangoli—an art form originating from India, in which patterns are created on the floor or ground using colored sand or flower petals. Rangoli is thought to bring good luck.

Students, faculty, and staff attended the event wearing traditional Indian attire. Even the Dean of the Seidenberg School, Dr. Jonathan Hill, as well as Director of Development Deth Sao wore colorful Indian clothes they had purchased on trips to India to meet with prospective Seidenberg students.

The event started with lantern decorations. Everyone was provided with lanterns, diyas (candles decorated in Indian style), and all the decoration materials. Dean Hill, staff members Katie Todd, Deth Sao, Stephanie Elson, and Melanie Madera sat down with a crowd of students to color in, add glitter to, and otherwise decorate their lanterns.

Every design was inventive and unique, enabling our students to show off their creative flair. All of these lanterns and diyas were displayed at the Seidenberg lounge.

After all the decorations were done, it was time for the diya lighting ceremony. It’s an Indian tradition that the first diya must be lit by the head of the family. Dr. Hill did the honors of lighting the first diya in front of goddess, Laxmi, and wished everyone a very happy and prosperous Diwali.

With the ritual done, it was time for food! On this auspicious occasion of Diwali, everyone enjoyed delicious authentic Indian food with lots of chit chatting.

Everyone there shared thoughts about significance of Diwali and exchanged ideas about how Diwali is celebrated in India. It was a good time for all, especially when everyone got to explore lots of ideas regarding this festival.

Our annual Diwali celebration is always one of our favorites – we are glad that everyone had an amazing time and we look forward to celebrating again next year!

Join us at the Seidenberg annual Holiday parties!

Ready for winter vacation? Celebrate the last few days of the semester with the Seidenberg community at one (or both!) of our holiday parties! Whether you’re finished with finals or still experiencing the struggle, take some time for self-care and spend a couple of hours with friends, food, and festivities.

New York City campus

Wednesday, Dec. 19

4:30-6:00pm

Seidenberg Lounge, 163 William St, 2nd floor

Register for the NYC celebration here

Pleasantville campus

Thursday, Dec. 20

1:00-3:00pm

Seidenberg Lounge, Goldstein Academic Center

Exclusively at the PLV party, we will be having a White Elephant gift exchange. If you want to participate, bring a wrapped gift of no more than $15 value and enjoy the carnage.

Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends and spend some stress-free time with your Seidenberg family.

We’re wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a great winter break. See you all in the new year!

Follow us on social media for updates!