Three Seidenberg Students attended the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit as Scholars

When Forbes announced that the applications for scholars to attend the 2019 Forbes Under 30 Summit were open, three Seidenberg students jumped at the opportunity: Sammy Chen Li, Ezana Ćeman, and Debra Perlman. These three students were accepted to the summit and traveled to Detroit, Michigan in November to attend. We’re so proud of Sammy, Ezana, and Debra and we want to share their experiences with our community!

Both Sammy Chen Li and Ezana Ćeman are seniors who will graduate in May 2020. Sammy will graduate with a BS degree in Computer Science while Ezana will obtain one in Information Systems. Debra Perlman is a junior studying Information Systems who expects to graduate in May 2021. All three of these upperclassmen took the time to tell us about this prestigious conference.

 

Why did you apply for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and how did you feel when your acceptance came through?

Sammy: For the experience and exposure! I wanted to experience a conference/summit that covered many industries featuring leaders from those industries (and not simply technology). Being in a room with featured 30 under 30’s and having an opportunity to meet them was my main motivation to apply. When my acceptance came through, I was ecstatic and honored to be selected among the many students across the country/world to attend. I knew that this would be [a] once-in-a-lifetime experience as a student preparing to take on the real world. This conference, I knew, would make me meet people from a spectrum of backgrounds and that intrigued me even more.

Ezana: Last year, I was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the 2018 Forbes Under 30 Summit which took place in Boston through the Under 30 Scholars Program. I applied last year [2018] right when the application came out and to date, this was the best summit/gathering of figures and role models in the world that I have ever been to. It was an amazing experience and I jumped to apply right away when I saw that the application for Forbes Under 30 Scholars for 2019 was live! I applied again due to the endless networking opportunities with both students and professionals within various industries. I was in love with this year’s selection of speakers and would truly be honored to be able to hear everybody speak about where they started out in life and how they got to where they are now. I was actually surprised when my acceptance came this year as I was unsure if Forbes would allow Scholars from last year to attend again this year. I was extremely excited and I was looking forward to meeting other people who shared the same passions as I did. 

Debra: I applied for the Forbes Under 30 Summit for a couple [of] reasons. I was looking to travel while at Pace without studying abroad, and to be honest, the conference just looked really interesting and like it would be a good time. When the Pforzheimer Honors College posted the application, I applied on a whim, not thinking I would actually get the scholarship for the Summit. When I got my acceptance, I was feeling so many emotions: shocked, thrilled, surprised, excited just to name a few. But, after the shock set in, I was determined to be in Detroit for the conference as I did not want to miss out on this amazing opportunity.

What was the summit like? Did it live up to your expectations, surpass them, or miss them entirely?

Sammy: The summit was initially overwhelming but fascinating and eye-opening. It was truly a memorable experience to have as it lived up to my expectations. I learned something new from every talk or experience, whether it was from the tech track, or from experiencing new technology, or from the world of entrepreneurship, fashion, art, or design. Hearing from accomplished entrepreneurs and celebrities and their impacts through their work were inspiring, inspiring me to realize my potential to make a difference in the world. When I experienced Cadillac’s self-driving car experience, I truly realized the calling for innovation for the future, and this conference represented that. This conference engaged its attendees by offering so much insight over the 4 days and even gave us a chance to give back to the city of Detroit, the rising hub of innovation and design.

Ezana: The 2019 Forbes Under 30 Summit took place this year in Detroit, Michigan which was quite the change from last year and overall, it was an amazing experience! There was a designated floor in the Masonic Temple just for Scholars which gave us a space for networking and Scholar-specific events such as resume workshops, interview tips and tricks, etc. The Summit lived up to my expectations as I was able to hear from a few of my actual role models which wouldn’t have happened elsewhere! Over the course of 4 days, I was able to connect with over a hundred students my age who study the same major as I do, and participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences! 

Debra: The summit surpassed my expectations. The venue, the Masonic Temple was modern, but also felt like it had a historical significance in Detroit. The panels, sponsored events, music festival, food and other opportunities at the summit were amazing! I was given the chance to meet celebrities, successful individuals and some of my personal role models in various fields and industries. Not only did I get to network with like-minded individuals and professionals already far in their careers, but, I was able to see and meet many of those who I have aspired to for a long time.  

What was your favorite part of the summit? Can you explain what happened at this particular panel/event in detail?

Sammy: There were many amazing experiences throughout the summit, ranging from seeing Serena Williams to hearing insightful words from industry leaders to experiencing the future of self-driving cars from Cadillac to walking through the Startup Hub. My favorite part of the summit, however, was practicing yoga with Michelle Kwan, where I was able to recenter myself amongst the craziness of this summit. Having this session to practice self-care was important to me because it highlights how important it is to focus on mental and physical health while working towards future success. In addition to practicing yoga, I was able to meet Michelle Kwan, which was personally important to me as she represents success as an Asian American. Meeting her was truly inspiring and motivational to pursue my own success in my career. 

Ezana: My favorite part of the summit was being able to see and hear my lifelong role model Serena Williams talk about how she is breaking through barriers in the business world which was extremely inspirational! I played varsity tennis in high school and was and still am obsessed with her. It was extremely inspirational hearing how a woman of color who is primarily known as a championship athlete throughout the world is investing in all types of small and big businesses and creating her own fashion line. Other notable parts of the summit that I wanted to mention were: being able to drive a self-driving Cadillac on the highway, hearing Kevin Durante, Sophia Bush, and Offset speak, and try out all of the company-sponsored activities. 

Debra: I actually had two favorite parts of the event. The first one was being able to go to a panel session and do yoga with Michelle Kwan. This was a once in a lifetime experience where Michelle talked about her career as an Olympic athlete and her current political career with Joe Biden’s campaign, all while leading a group of us in a relaxing yoga session. She also after talked personally with many of the attendees, including me, and took pictures with all of us as a group and individually. The other event that was my favorite part of the summit was the panels with Sophia Bush and Nia Batts, the co-founders of Detroit Blows, a Detroit based non-toxic salon. Their company offers beauty services in the Detroit area and helps the redevelopment of the Detroit Area through their philanthropic section “Detroit Grows”. At their panels, they talked about their investment into the company, investment into Detroit Grows and about themselves in general, including their personal lives and careers which surround the business they own. This inspired me in a number of ways, making this an amazing, valuable, once in a lifetime experience!

Did you leave wanting to return to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in 2020?

Sammy: Absolutely! It also inspired me to one day be selected on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. I think this experience is truly special to have as a student and I encourage everyone to attend at some point within their student career. 

Ezana: As I will be graduating this upcoming May, I won’t be eligible to apply again as a Scholar unless I go to graduate school, which is still something I am thinking about! I would love to go back to Detroit in 2020 but it comes down to funding at the end of the day! I highly recommend that all Pace students apply to next year’s Forbes Under 30 Summit as it is an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Speak to your professors, your advisors, etc. and learn how to receive Pace funding for these types of events!

Debra: I definitely left wanting to go back to the Forbes Under 30 Summit in 2020! It was an amazing experience and I would love to go again and experience not only the parts I missed the first time, but take full advantage of what the Summit has to offer all over again.

We’re so proud of these incredible student leaders and newly Forbes Under 30 scholars. Make sure to apply for the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit for an experience like this!

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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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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Seidenberg student attends CHASE2018 Conference

A student from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems had the opportunity of a lifetime when they were chosen to attend a conference in Washington D.C. last fall in September.

Yaodong Du, a  Ph.D. candidate, was chosen by Juan Shan, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, to attend the CHASE2018 Conference from Sept. 26 to 28.

The conference, titled, The Third IEEE/ACM Conference on Connected Health: Applications, Systems and Engineering Technologies, gave Du the chance to present his and Shan’s work on an advanced research project in the field of medicine. Du explained that the conference is a “leading international conference in the field of connected health, which is related to our research area.”

“[At] the conference, we [presented] our recent work on using [a] machine learning method to analyze 3D MRI images for knee osteoarthritis prediction,” explained Du.

Osteoarthritis, described by the Arthritis Foundation as “the most common chronic condition of the joints,” is currently affecting close to 27 million Americans

The work presented at the conference by Du and Shan is dedicated to diagnosing this degenerative joint disease. Their machine learning method specializes in analyzing 3-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images to detect osteoarthritis of the knee. This means that their research can help doctors detect the disease before patients experience permanent joint damage.

Along with presenting their own work, Du and Shan had the opportunity to network and listen to other top industry professionals speak about their areas of expertise.

Du says that one of the best parts of the conference was when “many researchers from different institutions stopped by, [asked] questions and discussed.”

“[CHASE2018] widened my sight, and deepened my cognition on the research and my knowledge,” Du explained, highlighting the impact the conference had on him.

Our Seidenberg students are accessing and working with technology that has the ability to innovate and to heal. With brilliant minds and abundant opportunities, Seidenberg students make worthwhile change.

As for the future of their work, Du said, “we will continue our work on exploring useful information to help [in the field of] predicting diseases.”

Du and Shan’s work will continue to carve out a path in the Pace community for other Seidenberg students to follow.

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Seidenberg student wins Airbnb Pricing Challenge on Westchester campus

Ian Carvalho, a Seidenberg student in the process of obtaining an MS in Computer Science, is a student to watch. The award-winning individual spends his time volunteering and creating apps dedicated to assisting others when he has a free moment. His most recent success came from the Pace AirBnB Pricing Challenge where he won first place!

As an undergraduate student, Ian was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the Brazilian government-funded scholarship, Science Without Borders, which helped him study in the United States for a year. The scholarship led him to Pace University to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 2016, Ian scored a Research Internship with IBM over the summer. When fall rolled around, he decided to stick around at Seidenberg for his graduate education, choosing to pursue a Masters in Computer Science.

So far, Ian has called his time at Seidenberg, “very intense.” As a Graduate student, Graduate Assistant for Dr. Juan Shan, and PIP Design Factory team member, it’s safe to say that his time has been exactly that—but he’s not done yet.

During his time as a Seidenberg student, he’s gone above and beyond in his extracurricular activities. Ian taught a workshop on iOS development in partnership with PCS, won first place in the App Design Contest with the Entrepreneurship Lab for his application Helpteer, and participated at a Humanitarian Hackathon hosted by Google to assist the non-profit, Techo, which seeks to overcome poverty in slums.

Most recently, Ian identifies himself as a volunteer, Agile NYC participant, and a Java tutor. Beyond those activities, he’s a freelance iOS and Game Developer and Senior Software Developer at BRQ Digital Solutions. Plus, he is working on his master’s thesis.

“Currently, I am writing my thesis on applying deep learning to assist medical imaging problems [such] as Breast Cancer detecting and Knee bone segmentation,” he explains.

All of Ian’s successes are considered a win for all of the Seidenberg community, but his first place win for the Pace AirBnB Pricing Challenge is definitely something to recognize.

A group photo of the students who participated in the Airbnb Challenge.

The challenge was created by Professor Lala and sponsored by INFORMS on the Westchester campus. The goal of the competition, which was held through the platform Kaggle, was to create a machine learning program with the capability to predict the current price of a listing using the given Airbnb data. Students were encouraged to actively participate in order to make their entry the best possible.

“I participated very actively during the last week of the challenge,” Ian explains.

Ian developed an artificial intelligence model to predict rental pricings for Airbnb listings, and his role of actively participating during the last week led to his ultimate victory. But his triumph did not come easily. Ian detailed the process of testing different models to see which achieved the highest performance. In the end, he combined the results of several models to predict the closest result.

“The challenge consisted in analyzing a dataset with more than [just] variables as a number of beds, reviews, amenities, etc. from [an] Airbnb listing. Part of the dataset ([which was] used for training) had the pricing, which the model used to learn patterns,” he explains.

These analyses were not a one and done deal. Ian explains that he had to rework the model many times.

“After learning, the model would try to predict the prices in the testing dataset,” he explains. “Results would then be submitted to Kaggle, that would compare to the real results and assign a score. It sounds simple, in theory, but the work involved many steps and especially because I was working solo, it got very intense at first I would have to clean the data, remove useless columns, fill missing values and encode some of the data in a way that’s understandable to the model.”

The process was long, especially since Ian spent most of the last week of the challenge really cramming to achieve the best result. When he received that win in the end, all of his hard work and maximum effort worth it. When asked about how he felt about winning, Ian summed it up with one word: “amazing.”

“I knew I had a good result because of the way that the competition works. They show a public partial leaderboard and when the competition finishes they disclose the complete result,” Ian explained. “So it could be possible that someone at the first place in the public leaderboard would be placed in second in the final score. So until the last minute, I was trying to improve my model to make sure I would win.”

As for his overall experience, Ian would recommend it to anyone.

“It’s very rewarding. When I first started, I wasn’t expecting to win, as this was my first challenge of the kind, but I got good results and they kept improving with every submission. I learned a lot and it was very fun,” he notes.

Seidenberg students have numerous opportunities throughout the school year to compete in tech challenges, Hackathons, and much more! Make sure you check in with our social media to see what challenges are coming up next.

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An inside look at a student internship with IBM

Tianyu Wang, a Ph.D. Candidate studying Data Science at Pace University, is a cybersecurity specialist and financial professional in the making. The Seidenberg student has obtained not one, but two Masters of Science in Computer Science and Financial Management as well as a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Now he’s on the path of getting his next Ph.D. in Data Science. His extensive education has brought him numerous roles tailored to his professional career, but his latest role might just be his most impressive: Data Scientist Intern at IBM.

The Westchester campus student worked his way up from the position of Coach for National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) at Pace University to Lab Course Instructor, Teaching Assistant, Research Lab Network Administrator, and finally to where he is now: Graduate Research Assistant. Tianyu has held positions at Mount Sinai Health System as a Data Security Intern and at Human Rights Watch as an Intern in the Department of Finance Operations. Now an internship at IBM is adding to his extensive resume of knowledge and experience. Tianyu had a lot to say about the opportunities he scored through this dream job.

First, it’s important to note what data science is all about. According to Tianyu, the career route consists of three things: math/statistics, coding, and research. While at IBM, he notes that his day-to-day job tasks included “obtaining data, cleaning it, analyzing it and communicating actionable insights for decision making.”

“My impression from data science is that the work is highly intellectually satisfying and the results of your work are highly tangible,” he explains. “It means that there is faster feedback and a highly tangible connection between your work and outcomes.”

Tianyu explains that there are differences between coding for school and coding for work. He notes that “framework should not only solve the problem for a current project but also provide a potential capability to address a similar problem for other teams in the future. For example, codes should easily be extended and adapted for the new functionalities. It should be able to maintain reliability, safety, or security of the new application for the whole team.”

Tianyu explains that being proactive is important, and that “opportunities always come with risks, but it is worthwhile for young people. Continue learning something new [and it] will absolutely lower the risks.”

He also recommends that students should look into the Career Services system: “students would learn a lot from [their] career counselors. Then, get a job and start the path with what you learn from it. Keep refreshed with latest technologies, and keep researching the market requirements. It will help a student stay off [their] comfort zone.”

So stay proactive, learn from your internships and classes, and stay refreshed with the latest technologies and research. There’s a lot that one can do to score that coveted internship with a top tech company. Tianyu’s advice is useful for anyone looking to dive into a high-end technological or financial career. We’re happy to share Tianyu’s story and helpful advice to further your story as well!

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