Opportunities in Africa 2019: wrapping up the conference presented by the Seidenberg School and Wutiko

Seidenberg’s international connection continues to grow, the conference that occurred earlier this September is proof of that. On Friday, September 27th, Seidenberg hosted Opportunities in Africa at One Pace Plaza for professionals, students, faculty, and staff. 

The day kicked off with a breakfast and transitioned to the morning ceremony for opening remarks. Dean Hill, Marvin Krislov, Dr. Scharff, and many others expressed gratitude to both the Seidenberg School and Wutiko for bringing this event to Pace University. Upon the completion of the ceremony, gifts were presented to the VIP guests, photo opportunities were had, and connections were made. The rest of the afternoon consisted of panels focused on professionals from Senegal, Mauritius, and Nigeria. Between these events, participants had the opportunity to network and converse with business representatives. Overall, it was a wonderful day for connecting brilliant minds to talk about the future of business and tech.

This event was made possible thanks to the partnership between Wutiko, a professional platform known for connecting individuals to business opportunities in Africa, and the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. 

Kémo Touré, CEO of Wutiko, and Dr. Christelle Scharff, Professor of Computer Science at Pace University, brought this networking opportunity to Seidenberg after meeting at a conference and connecting over their passion for tech and community outreach.

Speakers at the event included C.D. Glin, President and CEO of USADF; Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation in Senegal; Papa Amadou Sarr, Minister of DER/Senegal, and many more. Important guests ranged from government officials, CEOs, and company founders who were featured at the event. 

Africa is known for its massive economy, which is why this event was so crucial for connecting professionals in NYC to those in Africa. According to Wutiko, Mauritius is the #1 country for doing business in Africa, Nigeria is the continent’s #1 economy, and Senegal is the #1 in hospitality in Africa. Imagine the professional opportunities in the area!

Christopher Cherestal, a Seidenberg senior about to obtain a BS in Information Systems later this year, attended the Opportunities in Africa event last year and was particularly impressed by how the event has grown.

“Seeing it go from such a small space to the Schimmel Center was quite the transformation,” he explains. “It was so cool to see that upgrade.”

We’re so happy we were able to partner with Wutiko for this event. Here’s to bringing it back in 2020! If you missed the conference, you can watch the live-stream provided by Seneweb online.

 

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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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Fran Berman talks self-driving cars and data stewardship with Women in Tech

Fran Berman visited the Seidenberg Lounge in NYC on April 9th to discuss self-driving cars, data stewardship, and her latest projects on the social and environmental impacts of IoT. She spent time with the student-led Pace Women in Tech club, then sat in conversation with Professor Cathy Dwyer.

Fran Berman is an Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University, and a Fellow of the Harvard Data Science Initiative.

Fran discussed her latest project which focuses on the social and environmental impacts of IoT. Her focus is on maximizing the benefits of IoT while minimizing risks. The most talked about point was the ethical structure of IoT.

Fran also took the time to explain data stewardship: “[data stewardship] is about creating a home for data that both takes care of it now and takes care of it in the future.”

The distinguished professor’s latest passion is IoT’s potential inflience on cyber/physical-biological systems. She explained that the intersection of the subjects, with the addition of artificial intelligence, is “both an amazing thing and a scary thing.”

Fran illustrated her point using self-driving cars and the ethical thought process behind them. She made the point that a self-driving car has to make the same decisions humans must make while driving, including what to do in instances of an imminent collision.

“Each one of us has an ethical framework,” she said, suggesting that one day perhaps self-driving cars (as an example) would be programmed to make decisions based on the individual’s moral configuration rather than a standardization. IoT could make this possible.

Fran also identified some of the largest issues that graduates will encounter in their careers: industries are not turning to technologists to be leaders, and women are challenged when finding their place in the technology industry. But if Fran can do it, so can any female computer scientist—she’s a living example of female leadership in the technology industry.

As for what the future of technology looks like, “hopefully this is what it looks like,” Fran stated, indicating the many female students in the audience. 

One piece of advice Fran offered was the importance of getting involved. It’s a huge learning opportunity—one that students can truly benefit from.

“If you have clubs here, become an officer of the club,” Fran advised. Becoming a club officer is a notable accomplishment. If you’re excited about something, then you should get involved with it.

“Waking up every day and feeling really excited about what you do . . . that’s another super important thing,” Fran added.

One of the most significant things Fran spoke about was the concept of failure as a good thing. Failure, Fran suggested, is just a part of the process of life. If you mess up, then that’s how you end up figuring out how to do it better the next time. Failure is expected and should be celebrated!

As an example, Fran spoke about her first job. “When I first got there, I had no idea how to do all the stuff I was supposed to do.”

“If you don’t keep at it, you’re never going to figure it out.”

The biggest piece of advice that Fran focused on was a single word: resilience. She outlined the ways that resilience makes a great leader.

“At the end of the day, don’t give up. Find your own heart and passion in it, find a network of people who can go through it with you and support you, be strategic, and be resilient,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but if it’s important to you it’s always worthwhile.”

As for Fran’s time at Seidenberg, she only had good words: “I had a blast. I think everyone here is wonderful.”

We were so lucky to have Fran at the Seidenberg Lounge for this intriguing and empowering discussion. We would like to thank Fran for taking the time to visit our campus for the WiT event.

Keep updated on the Seidenberg socials and follow WiT to hear about future events!

 

Social Media: a talk with Matthew Knell

Matthew Knell, Tech Mentor-in-Residence and former Head of Social Media Care and Community Programs at Samsung, came to Pace University’s NYC campus for an open discussion on social media with students. The advisory board member and Seidenberg alumnus has twenty-plus years of experience in social strategy, customer experience, and community building. Students were engaged from start to finish—and not just because pizza was provided.

Matthew explained that he came to Seidenberg to share his “knowledge and experiences in a practical way… with the folks here who are learning how to be a professional and… [learning] new skills in the environment.”

Matthew opened the talk by explaining how to survive in the technology industry. His words of advice were wise and concise: “roll with the punches and…be willing to adapt yourself to the roles that exist.”

The discussion moved from current social media trends to the way media affects society, and lastly, to how it will continue to evolve in the future. Students engaged in open discussion and stayed after the event to ask more questions. Matthew explained that he hopes to offer up practical advice to those in attendance.

“As [students are] thinking about what they’re doing with their career and their life, I like to offer a few nuggets of [advice] to help them figure out what they want to do next” he stated.

While adding knowledge and names to your resume is important, gaining practical advice from an industry professional is priceless. Matthew took the time to steer students in the right direction, whether they were interested in social media or not. In an industry where connections and professionalism mean everything, it was a chance for students to understand just what it takes to be a leader.

Matthew noted that these discussions are important as they are a “good opportunity for anyone to grow and learn in their career.”

To wrap up his experience, Matthew noted, “[It was] a very engaging crowd. I think that it was really great to get a bunch of awesome questions. It… demonstrates the quality of the Seidenberg School and their students, and what they’re doing. It’s just fun to come back home and get to meet some new folks.”

We’re lucky to have such an involved alumnus who’s willing to reach out to the Seidenberg community. Make sure to attend future events to gain industry knowledge and much more!

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Become a Mentor

As a freshman, it’s nerve-wracking to explore the Seidenberg community, but there’s a way to help with those nerves. As an upperclassman, you have the opportunity to assist with a freshman student’s transition into the community through the NYC Peer Mentor Program! One of the best ways to get integrated into the Seidenberg community is through the Peer Mentor Program and upperclassmen have the opportunity to help out with that integration. The peer-to-peer communication between mentee and mentor creates a starting foundation for all students who join.

The program, run by Seidenberg advisors Matt Brown and Stephanie Elson, is a newer program at the Seidenberg School. They started it as a way to use the leadership skills of upperclassmen to lead incoming students to success.

Will McNeese, a senior Information Technology major, is one of these peer mentors! He joined the program to help others. Will took the time to talk about who the program is for as well as what being a mentor is all about.

“[The] program is a resource for new students who might need extra guidance in their transition to college,” he explains. “[The program] is also great for second years or higher who like helping people and want to help incoming freshmen with that first-semester anxiety.”

Over the course of the first semester, the freshman mentee and the upperclassman mentor pairs meet and compete in challenges. They also take the time to get to know one another and learn to check in with each other throughout the semester.

Will has gained a great deal from the program, but he explains that the joy of helping others and using his time to make someone else’s life easier are the best parts of being a mentor.

“I’m sure there are lots of students who [are] terrified of being in college and [have] a ton of questions and concerns without any clear place to ask them,” Will explains. “This program is a way for those same students to help make sure somebody else doesn’t go through that [anxiety] (or at least not as badly).”

As for why others should join the program, he notes that prizes can be won by those who complete challenges in the first semester. The prizes Will and his mentee won included a fifty-dollar gift card for Amazon last semester. All members of the program also receive a free t-shirt! According to Will, though, the best part isn’t about the prizes—it’s the networking.

“You…get to meet and connect with a lot of students, and there [are] a lot of industries—especially [within] the tech world—that are based on connections,” he explains.

All in all, the Peer Mentor program is perfect for all NYC Seidenberg students who wish to engage in the Seidenberg community and help others. If you would like to learn more about the program, stop by the information session on April 3rd at 12:15pm during common hour in the Seidenberg Lounge!

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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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