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.

Pace University hits top ten in online IT degree rankings

Pace University’s online Master of Science in Information Technology hit top ten rankings in Online College Plan’s list of 30 Best Online Information Technology Masters. The 2019 results saw Pace University’s online IT degree reach 7th place among the 30 colleges selected.

The rankings were designed, according to the Online College Plan website, to “help you learn more about the best online masters programs in information technology available today. Online college is becoming more and more popular for professionals who have already joined the workforce in their field and want to continue their education. The benefits of earning a higher-level degree are clear when it comes to the average salary and ability to advance within your chosen career.”

The ranking methodology used to determine the top programs consisted of an even split between the program’s financial score, the academic support measures, and the academic quality.

According to the Online College Plan website, these break down as follows:

Program financial score (33.3%): the percentage of students whose financial need was met, the robustness of the financial aid department and offerings.

Academic Support Measures (33.3%): including student-to-faculty ratios, average graduation rates, and time-until graduation.

Academic Quality (33.3%): presence of high profile research opportunities and designations such as the NSA center of academic excellence designation for cybersecurity.

On top of that, the programs were scrutinized on their capability to fulfil the growing industry need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. As Pace University’s MS in IT specializes in cybersecurity, our students get the benefit of an education tailored to fill the growing number of jobs. In fact, the quality of the cybersecurity program at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems earned Pace University’s designation as an NSA and DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education – a prestigious title.

Out of a potential score of 300 based on the ranking methodology above, Pace University’s program scored 289.3 – pretty close to the top!

The online MS in IT has been offered at Pace University since 1999, making it one of the longest-standing online master’s programs worldwide. Many of the undergraduate and graduate courses at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems can be taken in person and online. Increasingly, Pace University has been moving to meet student demand by offering blended in person and online programs that suit the life and schedule of today’s working student.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Information Technology

See all technology degrees offered by Pace University

Building with Accessibility in Mind at Codeland 2019: a Seidenberg student’s story

Luisa Morales, a Computer Science graduate student, has a lengthy list of achievements from her academic career at the Seidenberg School of CSIS. The former Seidenberg student assistant, undergraduate economics student, and Engineering Fellow at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity curated a resume full of achievements that any student would be proud of.  This summer Luisa went above and beyond—she hosted a workshop at Codeland 2019 titled, Building with Accessibility in Mind.

Codeland, a conference created for new and growing developers, was held in New York City on July 22. Luisa joined a fantastic lineup of workshop mentors and speakers including Avi Flombaum, Co-founder and CIO of Flatiron School, and Jasmine Greenaway, Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. 

Luisa’s workshop called attendees to “come demystify web accessibility with me and get into the nitty-gritty of what it is, how you can test for accessibility on your own, and common best practices. We’ll build an accessible website in the process that you can boast about on GitHub. You’ll also gain practical experience you can utilize to make your current, and future, projects more accessible.”

She explains that her workshop took a very collaborative and hands-on approach with attendees working on demo sites. Everyone in attendance worked in pairs to learn a variety of skills: how to use a screen-reader and keyboard to test website accessibility as well as integrating common practices for improving the accessibility of their projects. 

Asked about specific techniques she teaches her students, Luisa says “this includes things like using semantic HTML, color contrast, font sizes, and ARIA, amongst other things.”

It’s a fair assessment to say that those who learned from Luisa’s workshop earned some crucial and exciting skills to utilize in the future. But where did the idea for the workshop come from?

“The inspiration behind the workshop is my belief in the importance of making the things we produce as developers accessible to as many people as possible and demystifying the idea that it’s too difficult to do or unnecessary,” she explains. “By making a website accessible, you make it better for everyone and increase your potential market share, so I’m not sure why some people think it’s not important. At the Mayor’s Office, it’s ingrained into the development process and a lot of what I’ve learned there is influencing this workshop. I hope that attendees [came] away feeling more comfortable building with accessibility in mind and that it informs their choices as developers, designers, [and] product managers going forward.”

Luisa would like to encourage students—whether they attended her workshop or not—to attend Codeland in the future. She explains that it’s a “very inclusive environment and it’s a great opportunity to meet other people on a similar career path and potentially even your future coworkers!”

Codeland offered an opportunity for Luisa to teach others what she’s passionate about. She had the chance to improve the skills of those in attendance and explains just what that felt like for her.

“I’m proud of how curious and empathetic the workshop attendees were. Building accessible experiences, and especially testing your work with a screen reader, can be overwhelming,” Luisa explained. “Everyone in the workshop was excited to learn how to improve the experiences they created for users online. They were also keen to experience the web as visually impaired users do” by using screen-readers or only keyboards.

While she is proud of her students, Luisa took the time to acknowledge the pride she takes in her own role at Codeland.

“I’m also really proud of myself for putting together the workshop and presenting it at the conference,” she states. “It was very scary to do, but definitely worth the effort and jitters. Would do it again!”

We’re very proud of Luisa here at Seidenberg as well. Students like her who go out of their way to assist other developers to improve their skills are fantastic examples of our community. 

To make things even better, Luisa made sure that her workshop is available online for free! Anyone can access the workshop on GitHub and go through it themselves. She also makes herself available on Twitter for anyone who has questions about her workshop or web accessibility.

Curious about web accessibility? Luisa included some helpful resources for students to check out to learn more. Take a look:

  1. “YES, your site can (and should) be accessible too. Lessons learned in building FT.com” – by Laura Carvajal (https://vimeo.com/215169705)
  2. Tech Done Right Podcast Ep: “Accessibility With Luisa Morales” (https://www.techdoneright.io/49)
  3. Web Fundamentals: Accessibility by Google (https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/accessibility)
  4. What & Why Of Usability by usability.gov (https://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/index.html)

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These Seidenberg graduate students are serving tennis with a new global ranking system

Three former graduate students and current alumni from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems intrigued Floridian officials with a paper they wrote and presented in Miami in July 2018.

The alumni in the Software Development and Engineering program, Dionysios Kakaroubas, Jesseka Farago, and Stephen Webber, wrote a research paper on the topic of tennis scoring and ranking. Dionysios started the project because of his fascination with the sport.

Dionysios Kakaroubas is standing in front of a railing while holding a bag in his hands. The background is a field with a city view behind a river.
Dionysios Kakaroubas

“I’ve been a tennis fan since I was a little kid, so I know how the system works right now and how the current ranking system is. I know that many fans and players complain about it, so I knew that there were flaws with it. I wanted to develop a new formula so I could make a new version of it to eliminate these flaws,” Dionysios explains. “If you have more losses, [with our system] you cannot be higher up in the rankings. This is happening right now and all of the fans are complaining about it.”

The team developed a new system to improve the way tennis rankings are generated. Instead of using one attribute to determine only rank and scoring, they tested their theory that using the following three attributes would make a better system: abstention, number of tournaments played, and “bonus points for multiple wins in high-level tournaments.”

“We also developed a scenario generator,” Dionysios says. “It is a piece of software that predicts the different outcomes of different rounds of a tournament.”

They presented their software and a paper titled, The Enhancement of the Tennis Ranking System: A Software Solution, in July 2018 at the International Conference of Sports and Society in Miami.

The presentation gained the attention of Mathew Ratner, Associate Director of Sports Tourism at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Kakaroubas is currently communicating with Ratner about how to integrate the Pace group’s new ideas into Florida’s tennis ranking system.

After presenting their paper in Miami, the group decided to reach out to a conference in Kyoto, Japan. They were accepted to attend and present at the conference in November of 2018!

The photo itself is a selfie of three people in a car.

In Kyoto, the team presented the latest draft of their research paper titled, An Elaborated Software Solution: The Tennis Ranking System, at the 20th International Conference on Sport Science and Social Science in Sport.

 

“The Kyoto experience was one of a kind. We had the opportunity to meet people who are involved in organizing the Olympics’ tennis Championships for Tokyo 2020,” Dionysios exclaims. “We also discussed Japan having its own national tennis league with a separate ranking system than the World Tour one. That was great feedback for us and our publication. There is a recognition that our work could potentially have a worldwide impact and can be placed in any country, culture, and part of the world.”

The latest version of the paper adds in two more attributes for scoring and ranking: consecutive wins and consecutive losses. The team also accounts for the surface that the game is played on with three different options: clay, grass, or a hard surface. With a total of five attributes contributing to the final score and taking the playing surface into account, the team’s system is stronger than the existing tennis ranking system.

As for the future, Dionysios says that he and the rest of the team are “planning to develop this project. Not just in the paper, but to bring it to real life in a real-life project.”

The team is still in touch with contacts from both Florida and Japan. According to Dionysios, they’re looking to start a new state league within the next year in Miami.

“I am really satisfied and happy with what we have achieved so far. Our paper got and [is] still getting a lot of attention and a promising future seems to be ahead! My idea, our work ethic and efforts seem to pay off!”

As they continue to develop the software, the team will work to make the tennis ranking system better for current and future players. Keep your eyes on their names, because they’re serving the sport with a game-changing product.

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Upcoming Hackathons and Conferences to attend Summer and Fall of 2019

When you ask any technologist, scientist, or industry professional about how they kickstarted their career, they’ll almost always say this: networking. Creating a network of industry professionals, professors, and colleagues can give you better access to prestigious job/internship openings and much more. One easy (and fun) way to grow your network is through attending Hackathons and conferences!

Attending these events can be the best way for students, faculty, and staff of all ages to create a network in the technology industry. Listed below are some upcoming conferences and hackathons that could be the ticket to jumpstarting your own professional career in the world of tech.

 

HACKATHONS:

The Environmental Hackathon by AngelHack is from July 12 through July 13, located in Brooklyn, NY. You can purchase your $10 ticket on Eventbrite in order to compete in the event’s challenge for a grand prize total of $5,000. What do you have to do? Students who enter must “develop a visual machine learning model that deliver accurate alerts for a range of environmental conditions,” according to the ticket listing.

The ConsenSys NYC Hackathon by ConsenSys is a free Hackathon from July 20 through July 21. The event, which is held in Brooklyn, NY, gives the grand prize winner of the challenge $1,500 and allows them to be fast-tracked into consideration for project funding. The challenge criteria subjects are listed on their site: infrastructure L1 and L2, education and technical knowledge, social impact, security, and usability of dev tooling. Snag your free ticket here.

The Voicehacks Hackathon in Newark, NJ, is a free one-day Hackathon on July 22. The challenge is as follows: “this will be a one-day sprint-style hackathon intended to allow developers, designers, product managers, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts up to innovate development in a fast-paced and fun atmosphere where attendees can bring their own ideas to life.” You can get your ticket here.

The Mount Sinai Health Hackathon is held on October 11 through October 13 in New York, NY. According to the site, “it will be an exciting 48-hour trans-disciplinary competition focused on creating novel technology solutions for problems in healthcare. This year’s theme is Artificial Intelligence – Expanding the Limits of Human Performance.” You can check out the event details here.

 

CONFERENCES:

The ICSD 2019 conference is totally free! Join in on the perfect networking opportunity from September 24 to September 25. According to the website, “the aim of the conference is to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions that can support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” You can get your free ticket for the conference on Eventbrite.

The Silicon Harlem Next-Gen Conference has a much higher price at $75 per ticket, but the Harlem-based event sounds like a blast. On October 17,  “the 6th Annual Silicon Harlem Conference will dive into the rapidly coming new infrastructure driven by 5G technology,” according to their site details.

 

If you attend any of these conferences or hackathons, be sure to let us know how they went! We’d love to hear about your experience and possibly share your story.

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Seidenberg Student Receives an Award at Eastern Colleges Science Conference

Seventeen students from the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems traveled to the Eastern Colleges Science Conference on April 6th. It was a wonderful chance for students to experience from start to finish, the process of preparing for and presenting at an esteemed conference. The experience was made possible by the Kenan Student-Faculty Conference Grant.

Out of the 17 capstone students and graduating seniors whose research was accepted, 12 students presented posters and 5 gave platform presentations (15-minute oral presentations with a question and answer session afterward). While the presentations were the highlight of the conference, all the students were able to network and learn from students of surrounding institutions.

Seidenberg Computer Science Professor, Pauline Mosley, explained that this experience was intended to prepare students for future conferences. The students who attended learned “how to interact, network, and make collaborations.”

Pauline also mentioned the importance of conference participation: “the art of presenting one’s research provides student[s] with another dimension of learning that [can] only be achieved by conference participation.”

While all the students gained exposure that will benefit their careers and education, Pauline wanted to note one presenter who stood out from the rest: Quincy Doccy.

 Quincy, a graduate who received his BS in Computer Science this past May, presented his platform presentation “See Through Your Meal” at the conference. He competed against Ithaca College students and won in the category of Psychology and Health. Quincy received the Award for Best Platform Presentation.

Pauline explained just why Quincy’s presentation was award-worthy: “Some students read off the PowerPoint slides, but Quincy – walked around the room, told jokes, gave history, and discussed his project calmly and it was great!  His project entailed analyzing the data for restaurant reviews and his reason for doing this project was that he got food poison[ing] after eating at one of the restaurants.”

“My presentation, ‘See Through Your Meal’ was on the NYC restaurants letter grade system,” he explained. “The objective of the project was to analyze the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) health inspections results datasets to identify the deficiencies and limitations of the current restaurant letter grading system and determine its effectiveness. I also implemented an application prototype that’d help restaurant goers to make informed decisions when choosing to dine at their next restaurant.”

Quincy noted that this presentation was the final step in completing his capstone course. He believes this step in his education was crucial, and he enjoyed the conference.

“It was an awesome experience to listen to other college students present their research from diverse fields and receive positive feedback on my presentation,” Quincy explained. “I also enjoyed networking with faculty members and other students.”

When asked how it felt to win an award for something he worked so hard on, Quincy explained that “it was great to know that all the hard work and effort I put into my research was acknowledged and recognized by the judges.”

Quincy did an excellent job of representing Seidenberg and the Pace University community. We’re proud of all that he and the other students accomplished at this conference.

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