Battle of the Bots at Pace University

If watching robots compete to complete tasks entices you, then you should’ve been at Pace University on February 10th. The 10th annual Hudson Valley NY FIRST Tech Challenge championship robotics tournament was held on Pace University’s Westchester campus. The day was full of challenges and innovation for middle and high school students from the Hudson Valley. Only one goal stayed in each of the students’ minds throughout the tournament: getting to the world championship.

The event, run by Dr. Richard Kline and Jill Olimpieri, hosted 27 high school-level teams. The competition brought together the region’s top qualifying teams and their robots to compete in a task-based challenge. Pace University has hosted the regional championship for several years.  Pace University, Pace University Athletics, and IBM sponsored the event.

According to the Hudson Valley NY FIRST Tech Challenge site, “Students in FTC design and build a robot using aluminum, polycarbonate, motors and servos, sensors, and a variety of other materials. They program and control it using Android Smartphones with Java or a Blocks-based graphical language.”

With exclusive scholarships open to competing students totaling more than $80 million, the stakes were high. The challenge to beat this year was “Rover Ruckus,” and teams battled to take the top spots.

According to Dr. Kline, “More than 40 current Pace students and about a dozen alumni, staff, and faculty participated in the event, comprising half of the 100 or so volunteers who banded together to run the competition under the guidance of volunteer coordinator and Seidenberg School staff member Jill Olimpieri. Students contributed in all areas of the competition, from setup and logistics to referees, judges, inspectors, and robot technical advisors.”

Pace students and faculty Sukun Li and Leanne Keeley volunteered as judges for the event. Students Jeana Cosenza, Kyle Hanson, Joel Thomas, and Zach Demeglio, among others, volunteered in various supporting roles. Dean Hill even made a special appearance to cheer on the teams and robots!

Fios 1 News covered the event, giving the young students the chance to feature their efforts on the local news. The coverage inspired and motivated the students to share their experiences and do their best.

At the end of the day, three teams came out on top and will move on to the world championship. Congratulations to Team 6567 – Roboraiders from Red Hook High School, Team 7486 – Suffern Robotics from Suffern Senior High School, and Team 8397 – Beta, from CCE Clinton County 4-H. We wish the best of luck to them at the world championship!

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The Pace Cyber Team Participates in CCDC

The Seidenberg School is proud to share that the Pace Cyber Team participated in the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (NECCDC) Qualifier on January 26. The team competed from the Goldstein Academic Center on the Westchester campus.

The team is made up of Seidenberg students—Daniel Barr, Andrew Ku, Ryan Kennedy, Benjamin Longobardi, Charlie Adams, Joel Thomas, Cole Patterson, Ryan Nuebel, Ryan Distelhurst, Danny Decarvalho, Mark Rolon, and Ronny Cervante. They worked hard to prepare for the competition and come as far as they did.

Michael O’Rourke, the System Administrator at AQR Capital Management, served as a team judge for Pace University. Dr. Li-Chiou Chen also supported the training of the team throughout the fall and spring semesters by allowing the students to utilize the Cybersecurity Education and Research Lab. The team would like to thank both Michael and Dr. Chen for their time and contributions to the group this academic year. The team would also like to thank their coach, Professor Andreea Cotoranu, who has been working with the team since 2012.

Andreea notes that “throughout the competition the students get real-life experience with hardening systems, handling attacks, and reporting incidents in a high-pressure environment. In training for the competition, the students work on their technical, communication and teamwork skills.”

Andreea continues: “cybersecurity is a team sport yet getting a team of talented, strong-willed students is not always easy. I am proud of what the team has accomplished this season; beyond expanding their technical expertise, the students worked really well together, not only in the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Qualifier but also in the Northeast CAE 

Hackathon where they placed 2nd out of eight teams.”

Joel Thomas, a graduate Computer Science student, first participated in CCDC during his freshman year. He has a lot to say about his experiences with the Seidenberg team.

“What drew me to the competition was the idea of being able to work hands-on with so many different technologies at once. I was really curious about the Information Security field and just what [it] entailed,” he says. “Throughout my years of working in CCDC, I can honestly say it was a great resource for taking my experience beyond the classroom. To not only be able to see what technologies companies are using but also gain hands-on experience.”

Students who gain this hands-on experience working on the Cyber Team gain useful skills to add to their resume and get great experience working on realistic cybersecurity challenges. The team is a great way to engage with the Seidenberg community.

“The team is always looking for new members to help the team grow and continue,” Joel states.

The Cyber Team is always recruiting more students! Are you interested in becoming part of the Cyber Team next season? Get in touch with Andreea Cotoranu!

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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!

Students develop real-world social innovation solutions with Design Factory Social IoT Workshop

On November 30, 2018, the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems held a daylong Social IoT Workshop on the New York City campus.

The workshop, which came with the slogan “innovation development in four hours,” held a contest in which participants worked to develop a fully thought-out product to pitch in just four hours.

The focus was on fixing problems with socially innovative approaches. Students were placed into groups. There were a total of five teams for the workshop. Groups were tasked with coming up with the stigmas and problems associated with five different categories: zero hunger, well-being and security, energy and well-being, mental health, and quality education.

While the design thinking process usually involves five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test, time and budget dictated that this session only used the steps from define to prototype.

Each session during the four-hour workshop lasted from 45-60 minutes. The first session started off with introductions, so each group got to get to know one another first. As a Design Factory event, participants in the workshop hailed from all around the world: alongside our own NYC Design Factory students, we had the company of many participants from Design Factory Korea (DFK), Aalto Design Factory in Finland, DF Javeriana Bogota in Columbia, and Fusion Point in Barcelona. With so many cultures and communication styles together, one thing became clear: working together would be key!

Most groups began the process with a natural instinct involving lots of sticky notes and brainstorming. When it came to deciding team names, one member quipped with humor, “that may be the hardest part.”

 

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Once the first session ended, groups presented their finalized idea to a panel of judges. Upon reviewing their ideas with the panels and receiving constructive criticism and praise, the groups had the opportunity to update their designs and plans in the next session.

The last sessions included making presentation plans and prototypes. Each group made either crafted or sketched out prototypes, presentations, and idea explanations for the panelists. Once their pitches and prototypes were finalized, the groups were ready to present to everyone!

The five groups presented radically innovative ideas for each social problem they were assigned. Among these ideas was Ami, a “lifelong smart companion that analyzes and interacts with its user as an emotional support friend.” Another included a heated blanket that monitors body temperature. After each presentation finished, the judges grouped together to determine the winners.

The panelists decided on two winners this workshop, instead of just one. Team “Guardians of Data,” who worked on creating an anonymous platform for patients and physicians, and the team that worked on a malnutrition detection machine were declared the overall winners. Congrats, teams!

After the workshop, I talked with Kinnari Jasoliya about her experience being on a winning team. Kinnari, an MS in Computer Science major, said: “It was a good experience, and we had a lot of brainstorming, which really kicked in for us to think of new ideas and also to collaborate with people from different countries as well. We get experience to work with diverse people. We went from start to end for a certain product, so it’s a really good experience to know how a product shapes from a basic idea to a full-grown product.”

Student Zachary Demeglio, a freshman Information Technology major on the Pleasantville campus, also explained what he enjoyed about the Social IoT workshop.

“It was a nice experience being able to work with people around the world that have different ideas, come from different parts, [and] have different experiences that they have had personally, compared to what I have been experiencing here,” said Zachary. “[When] collaborating these ideas, it is actually really cool to see what we can come up with together as a team. I would definitely recommend it for somebody else to do, and I’m going to do it next year as well.”

We can’t wait to host the Social IoT workshop next year, either! Our huge thanks go to Design Factory Korea for working with us to make it happen, and for those of you interested in taking part in this unique experience in Fall 2019.

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The Fourteenth Annual Pace Pitch Contest

The Pace Pitch Contest was held on Thursday, April 19th, 2018, in the Bianco Room of Pace University, and we are proud to announce that our Seidenberg students achieved the first and the third places.

The contest started with a short opening speech by Prof. Bruce Bachenheimer, Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Lab. He explained basic pitching rules to all of the finalists and welcomed the judging panel for the contest.

Each of the nine finalist teams were provided with 3 minutes of time and 5 slides to present their pitch.

Finalists had to touch upon the following during their pitch:

  1. Business description – details of the venture and what it does
  2. Market analysis – characteristics of the market and description of its customers
  3. Product or service analysis – the specifics of the product or service
  4. Competition – identify current and potential competitors
  5. Marketing strategy – how sales will be achieved
  6. Operations – how the product or service will be produced and delivered
  7. Management – an assessment of the entrepreneur(s) and team
  8. Finances – an overview of the required resources and economics of the venture
  9. Investment proposal – the terms and conditions offered to investors
  10. Presentation – overall effectiveness of the actual presentation

The judging panel –

Danny Potocki, Founder, FINIS Ventures

Christine Roth, Economic Development Advisor

Jonathan M. Satovsky, Founder & CEO, Satovsky Asset Management, LLC

Sandy Wollman, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Westchester Angels

With this, started the 1st pitch of the night-

Quincy Doccy (BS in Computer Science), Weichao Hou (MS in Finance) and Avinash Mudduluru (MS in Computer Science) presented AngelEats – an online platform building a bridge between restaurants and non-profit organizations and giving food to people in need.

Followed by that was Arogyaa – a mobile application that maintains patients’ medical history, and which coordinates with different doctors and helps them collaborate with patients. Arogyaa was presented by Ankit Mohokar, Chinmay Deshpande and Shivani Gade all from (MS in Computer Science)

The next pitch in the list was Cuddlefish, presented by Sumeet Gujaran (MBA in Financial Management) and Jethro Widjaja (BBA in Finance). Cuddlefish is a blockchain based platform which aims to promote financial inclusion for all through microfinance funded by retail investors in developed countries.

Our next pitch is iCards, an app which seeks to revolutionize the game designed by the pitchers, fully integrating the best parts of the industry into a comprehensive, universal platform to trade, play, and collect cards. iCards was presented by Jen McCall (BS in Computer Science) and John Mulcahy (BS in Computer Science)

Now it was time for Redact– a legal organization that works with individuals who have been convicted of a crime to have their criminal records sealed. It was presented by Christopher Matcovich (full-time 3L)

RockBox was our next pitch presented by Zakiya Sims ( Bs in Computer Science) and Nathan Robinson, delivers handmade cocktails from all over the world to the customers’ doorstep. With monthly subscriptions, customers will be provided with the alcohol, bitters, mixers and fresh produce needed to create their own boozy beverage.

Next pitch Sylvian Hyde was presented by Jabari Chambers (MBA in Human Resources and Financial Management) and Sylvian Hyde. It’s an emerging luxury menswear brand founded and based in New York City. The company currently offers ready-to-wear men’s apparel as well as custom and bespoke design services.

WOTOPA is an online platform where campus students can buy, sell, donate, offer services and can build an inter-university network by exchanging ideas and collaborating via forums. It was presented by Haseeb Ur Rahman (Computer Science), Suman Saurabh (Computer Science) and Varad Raj Shere (Computer Science) and Dipika Sankhe.

And the last one, @Pace (Augmented Tour of Pace University)– a Business-to-Customer (B2C) software startup focusing on augmented reality (AR). The program allows users to explore Pace University via a mobile application. The pitchers were – Kenneth Okereke (Computer Science) and Stephanie Okereke (Computer Science)

After the end of our last pitch, now it was time for the judging panel to make their decisions.

Here are the results:

  • AngelEats – Quincy Doccy, Weichao Hou, and Avinash Mudduluru was awarded 1st prize of $1000
  • Sylvian Hyde – Jabari Chambers and Sylvian Hyde achieved 2nd position with a cash prize of $500
  • iCards – Jen McCall and John Mulcahy received 3rd place and prize of $250

 With so many amazing pitches, the 14th annual Pace pitch contest was a huge success. And now we are eagerly waiting for the 15th annual Pace pitch contest next year!

Seidenberg also swept the stage at the 13th Pace Pitch Contest – read all about it here!

Seidenberg Students Finalists at the Fourteenth Annual Pace Pitch Contest

The fourteenth annual Pace Pitch Contest is underway and we are proud to announce that the finalist teams are packed with talented Seidenberg students! Run by the Entrepreneurship Lab at Lubin School of Business, the Pace Pitch Contest challenges teams of students not just from Pace but from other universities around the tri-state area (including Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Princeton and Stanford) to not just come up with a cool new business idea but to pitch it successfully to a panel of judges. This competition is not for the faint of heart!

The Pitch Contest is based on the Elevator Pitch concept, popular in the venture capital community. It is an extremely concise presentation of an entrepreneur’s idea, business model, marketing strategy, competitive analysis, and financial plan, which is delivered to potential investors. The premise is that it could be made in a few minutes, should the entrepreneur spot a potential investor on an elevator and have the opportunity to pitch their idea during the brief ride.

The final round will be held TONIGHT, Thursday, April 19, 2018, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm in the Bianco Room, One Pace Plaza of Pace University.

Last year, Seidenberg superstars Rachel Gonzalez (MS in Information Systems), Andrew Ku (BS in Computer Science), and Rohana Sosa (BS in Computer Science with minor in Computing Information Technology) took the top spots by pitching their ideas for meditation and artificial intelligence-infused security. Read more about it in the 13th Pace Pitch Contest blog post!

There are a lot of areas teams will be evaluated on during their pitches.

New Business Concepts will be evaluated on the following judging criteria

Business Description: Details of the venture and what it does.

  1. Market Analysis: Characteristics of the market and description of its customers.
  2. Product or Service Analysis: The specifics of the product or service.
  3. Competition: Identify current and potential competitors.
  4. Marketing Strategy: How sales will be achieved.
  5. Operations: How the product or service will be produced and delivered.
  6. Management: An assessment of the entrepreneur(s) and team.
  7. Finances: An overview of the required resources and economics of the venture.
  8. Investment Proposal: The terms and conditions offered to investors.
  9. Presentation: Overall effectiveness of the actual presentation.

Social Ventures will be evaluated on the following judging criteria.

  1. Assessing the Need: An analysis of the social issue and its affected population.
  2. Well-defined Target: Characteristics of the market and targeted population.
  3. Management: An assessment of the entrepreneur(s) and team.
  4. Creativity: A demonstration that the proposed solution displays a unique approach.
  5. Feasibility: A demonstration that the venture can be successfully implemented.
  6. Planning: A clear and well-defined strategy to achieve objectives and goals.
  7. Operations: How the product or service will be physically produced and distributed.
  8. Sustainability: Long-term prospects for viability and success.
  9. Social Impact: The value that the new venture will bring to society.
  10. Presentation: Overall effectiveness of the actual presentation.

Participants must work on both New Business Concepts as well as Social Ventures to make their venture a success in the final round.

Professor Bruce Bachenheimer, Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Lab, oversees the contest.

The judging panel includes:

  • Danny Potocki, Founder, FINIS Ventures
  • Christine Roth, Economic Development Advisor
  • Jonathan M. Satovsky, Founder & CEO, Satovsky Asset Management, LLC.
  • Sandy Wollman, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Westchester Angels

In total, we have 9 Finalist teams for the contest with around 2 – 3 participants in each team.

Here are the Innovative Ideas our students have come up with:

  1. AngelEats
  • They have come up an idea to combat food waste from restaurants and share the food to nonprofit organizations like orphanages and homeless shelters. Their focus is building a bridge between restaurants and nonprofit organization and giving the food to the people in need.
  • Team members from Pace – Quincy Doccy (BS in Computer Science), Weichao Hou (MS in Finance) and Avinash Mudduluru (MS in Computer Science)
  1. Arogyaa
  • Sanskrit origin meaning – Overall well-being, the health of mind, body, and spirit). It’s been observed that around 251,454 people die due to lack of information about background history and wrong treatment annually. So the application maintains the patients’ medical history, and which coordinates with different doctors and helps them to collaborate to cure patients.
  1. Cuddlefish
  • Cuddlefish is a blockchain based platform which aims to promote financial inclusion for all through microfinance funded by retail investors in developed countries.
  • Team members from Pace – Sumeet (MBA in Product Management) and Jethro (BBA in Financial Research)
  1. iCards
  • Capturing and keeping tangible mementos of your favorite interests has been around for years, from sports cards to niche entertainment references, trading cards have been collected and enjoyed by young and old individuals for years. The team developed iCards that seeks to revolutionize the game, fully integrating the best parts of the industry into a comprehensive, universal platform to trade, play, and collect cards.
  • Team members from Pace – Jen McCall (BS in Computer Science) and John Mulcahy (BS in Computer Science)
  1. Redact
  • Redact is a legal organization that works with individuals who have been convicted of a crime to have their criminal records sealed. Redact’s mission is to unshackle those New Yorkers from the stigma and disabilities that come after a criminal conviction will give a segment of society the chance to get back on their feet.
  • Team member from Pace – Christopher Matcovich (3L, Pace Law School)
  1. RockBox
  • RockBox delivers handmade cocktails from all over the world to the customers’ doorstep. With monthly subscriptions, customers will be provided with the alcohol, bitters, mixers and fresh produce needed to create their own boozy beverage. RockBox plans to target professional millennials who enjoy drinking alcohol and take pride in crafting their own cocktails from the comfort of their home.
  • Team member from Pace – Zakiya Sims (BS in Computer Science)
  1. Sylvian Hyde
  • Sylvian Hyde is an emerging luxury menswear brand founded and based in New York City. The company currently offers ready-to-wear men’s apparel as well as custom and bespoke design services. In the future, the brand plans to gradually expand the product offering to menswear accessories such as belts, bags, shoes, and later a women’s line. The Sylvian Hyde® brand aims to provide men with more options with modern, sophisticated aesthetics and functionality
  • Team member from Pace – Jabari Chambers ‘18 (MBA in Human Resources and Financial Management)
  1. WOTOPA
  • WOTOPA is a platform where campus students can buy, sell, donate, offer services and can build inter university network by exchanging ideas and collaborating via forums. WOTOPA aims to be one stop solution for buying, selling, promoting and collaborating under one roof with safe, secure and easy to use environment for Students.
  • Team members from Pace – Haseeb (MS in Computer Science), Suman (MS in Computer Science) and Varad (MS in Computer Science)
  1. @Pace (Augmented Tour of Pace University)
  • It is a Business-to-Customer (B2C) software startup focusing on augmented reality (AR). The software program allows users to explore Pace University via mobile application, without having to attend a scheduled tour, meaning that – it allows the user to interact and explore the facilities of Pace University, without having to be physically present.
  • Team members at Pace – Kenneth Okereke (MS in Computer Science) and Stephanie Okereke (BS in Computer Science)

Up for grabs is a 1st Prize of $1000 Cash, 2nd Prize of $500 Cash and the 3rd Prize of $250 Cash.

The Seidenberg School of CSIS wishes all participants the best of luck in the contest!