Meet the front desk staff in PLV

It’s likely that you’ve seen the faces of the student staffers who work the Seidenberg School of CSIS front desk if you’ve ever traveled up the hill to the Goldstein Academic Center. The building on the Westchester campus is a center of hardworking, tech-savvy individuals. All of the student staffers—who assist the Seidenberg School while also completing their studies and extracurricular activities—are the helping hands that make everything run smoothly. Today we’re putting names and stories to the faces of the front desk staff!

JEANA COSENZA

Jeana Cosenza, a Staten Island native, is a senior Computer Science major and Student Assistant at the Seidenberg School of CSIS. She’s the student coach for Pace’s National Cyber League (NCL) team, the secretary of the Seidenberg Tech Collective, and is currently in the process of starting the Pace University Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS) Student Chapter.

“WiCyS is the only non-profit membership organization with a national reach that is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring,” Jeana explains.

When she isn’t working on one of her many clubs, she’s working on her computer science career.

“My main goal with everything I do, that I hope I can integrate into whatever career I end up in, is to be able to help as many people as I can,” Jeana explains about her future career goal.

She will be working on that goal soon since she’ll be entering the cybersecurity field upon graduation!

KAITLYN HOULIHAN

Kaitlyn Houlihan, a Political Science major with a minor in Pre-Law, is a junior looking forward to graduating in December 2019. While she finished high school in Poughquag, New York, she’s originally from Massachusetts. Kaitlyn is also the Head Delegate for Pleasantville’s Model United Nations (Model UN) team and Secretary of the Political Science Association.

She may be the only non-Seidenberg student assistant, but Kaitlyn states that “future lawyers need to know about tech, too!”

When the future lawyer is not doing needlepoint or watching the Food Network, she’s working with her Model UN team which recently went to Washington, D.C. and won the Distinguished Delegation award. That award won them a feature in the Westchester Business Journal.

Kaitlyn has been working at Seidenberg since late 2016 and notes that she has stayed on the staff thanks to the positive office environment: “I love the office culture! Everyone is so supportive, kind, and funny. I’m always happy to come into work every day.”

As for her future, Kaitlyn is going for a career straight out of a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode: “I hope to eventually become a judge for Special Victims cases. I just took my LSAT and in the meantime, I work in the shelter for Safe Homes of Orange County on weekends.”

LINDSEY GILL

Lindsey Gill is a Bronx resident and Computer Science major, as well as being a Front Desk Student Assistant at the Seidenberg School. The freshman student was a photojournalist for the Pleasantville campus newspaper, The Pace Chronicle, during the fall semester. Now she’s looking out for new clubs to join.

“In the future, I would love to join a campus club, since there are so many interesting ones to choose from,” she states.

As for why she chose to work at Seidenberg, Lindsey explains that she knew that it would end up being a great opportunity.

“It was a goal of mine to have an on-campus job and when I was offered this job I knew how beneficial it would be,” Lindsey explains. “Getting to know the staff and faculty and making connections is a great experience and I am grateful to have joined this fantastic community.”

LAINA POSNER

Last but not least is Pleasantville front desk staff member, Laina Posner. The North Jersey native is a junior Computer Science major. She’s a part of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, Seidenberg Tech Collective, a Peer Leader for UNV 101 classes, Seidenberg Ambassador for the Student Government Association, and part of the Design Factory PDP course.

When she’s not busy being a leader or sister for her sorority, she’s applying to attend prestigious conferences. Laina explains that she won a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference—a huge accomplishment.

The scholar chose to work at Seidenberg in order “to be closer to the faculty and staff.”

As a Junior, she will be entering the workforce soon, and she has a great goal in mind. She aspires “to work for a company that will allow for [her] to make a difference upon the community.”

Our front desk staff on the Westchester campus are leaders, innovators, and goal-driven scholars. We’re proud to have them in the Seidenberg community.

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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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The Design Factory is the hub of innovation for students at Seidenberg

Pace University’s Design Factory students are always working on global problems that need innovative solutions. The students are teamed up, then have the opportunity to brainstorm and use “design thinking” methodology to take an idea from the drawing board to a working prototype. These students aren’t just dreaming of being the next wave of innovators, they already are.

Laina Posner—a Pace University junior majoring in computer science—has been a summer intern at UPS, a Grace Hopper Conference attendee, and a Pace University Nexus Maximus team member. She is also a design factory student who had the opportunity to go to Helsinki, Finland in October at the Aalto University Design Factory.

“I’ve been working with [the Design Factory] for the past two years, because that’s when [it] officially launched,” Laina states.

Of the Design Factory process overall, she explains: “It’s a big collaboration between different schools all over the country and also the world, but then also different majors as well. So each time I was assigned a project with a different team and I was always given a different task, so it was a great opportunity to become experienced in lots of different things.”

Last semester, Laina had the chance to start working on the PdP team with a start-up company. When she traveled to Finland, she had the opportunity to hear about what her team would be doing for the rest of her junior year.

“When I met them in September, we got a demo, met the team, and met the company. When we go back in May, we will be able to present our product. We’ll be able to see [the process] from start to finish. I’m working on the application part of it where I’ll be designing software to improve the already existing product that they have. Our other teammates will be working on the prototype,” she explains. “Right now I’m assigned on a permanent project where I’ll be working over the year, I’ll be working with a team from Finland with also NYC students. Our project is to work to create a prototype for a company. Our company is Pexray Tech, and they’re looking for a new innovation.”

Pexray Tech is a company that builds portable X-ray systems. The company is looking for a new project, so Laina and the rest of the team are at the forefront of that. The team has completed the beginning stages of the project where planning, research, and getting acquainted with one another is essential.

“It was really cool to have a connection with people that I had really never met over a product for a company that I was just introduced to. We’ve been able to work together since we met for the project, and building connections with other people was really cool,” she states.

Over the past few months, Laina and the rest of the team focused on using “design thinking” to build a working prototype for Pexray Tech. Currently, the team has two months left to create a product for Pexray Tech.

“We are current prototyping our project and in the developmental phase,” Laina explains.

Over the next two months, the team will finalize their product and have the chance to present it to the company. It will be a showcase of their hard work and innovation on a real-world solution.

Now, Laina just wants others to know about the opportunities one can gain through the Design Factory experience. While some students have been working with the Design Factory team for years, they’re always looking to recruit more students. They want more innovators and dreamers who can create solutions to real-world problems with real clients.

“It was very selective, so a lot of people didn’t know about it,” Laina stated of the application process. “I think a lot of students after I told them about it are very interested in it. I wish more people knew about it and more people could experience it, too.  It is an amazing experience. Students are able to use their own personal knowledge of the field and implement their work into a project that they have worked on from start to finish.”

We’re hoping to get the word out about  Pace University’s Design Factory and to get more students aware of this opportunity to innovate! If you’re interested in applying to be a design factory student, sign up for the mailing list!

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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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The new and improved Pace Computing Society

The largest computing organization on Pace University’s NYC campus has its home in the heart of the Seidenberg lounge. The Pace Computing Society (PCS) is a club for all, but especially for those within the Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems. The president of the organization, Allan Krasner, spilled some details on what he’s doing to make the society a better place for students.

Allan, who was elected as president of PCS at the end of his freshman year, has led the society for the past two years. He believes he is president because of his efforts to better the club. His record of achievement agrees with him.

“I tried to take the club from what it was at the time and tried to amp it up. I wanted to make it a little bit more special and unique,” Allan states.He did indeed make it more special and unique. Instead of just gathering during the club’s meeting times for discussions and lectures, Allan added workshops. By offering tutorials in numerous programming languages, hosting technical workshops, and inviting all students to join in, he made the club an inclusive space that others wanted to join. He also worked towards being able to “introduce people to new things they may not have seen before or even worked with.”

The club only continues to grow under Allan’s presidency. With introductory activities that challenge members to grow their skills, PCS is teaching its members that hard work never goes unnoticed.

“This year we’re trying to restructure it so that [there are] more consecutive events,” starts Allan. “[It’s] more hands-on, and a lot more fun for people. I think so far we’re getting better results.”

Allan continues to advocate for the club, going above and beyond in his duties to ensure that club members enjoy themselves. He’s even planning to bring new workshops on Raspberry Pi next semester—something that many PCS members are ecstatic about.

If you’re interested in checking out the group, stop by the lounge on a Wednesday during the noon common hour. Head on up to 163 William Street for some interesting discussions, workshops, and free pizza!

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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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