Melanie Greene and Dr. James Lawler present inclusion programs for students with disabilities

By Melanie Greene

It was an honor to attend  the Faculty Resource Network’s National Symposium in Atlanta in November. I co-presented with Dr. James Lawler on inclusion programs for students with disabilities in the Seidenberg School. I spoke about the class I took with Dr. Lawler (CIS 102w Web Design for a Not-for-Profit Organization), mentoring students in AHRC’s junior high school and high school programs (they had different levels of autism; one was more severe than the other), mentoring and tutoring Adil Sanai, tutoring his students last semester in his two CIS 102w courses, the two research projects we worked on together, and being a co-moderator for the Disability Film Festival. I got the chance to speak about all of my experiences that I have had working with people with disabilities.

I am uplifted and inspired by Dr. Lawler’s drive and commitment to give people with disabilities access to a college education. I support everything that he is doing.​ I get very emotional talking about all the adventures and learning experiences I have had with Dr. Lawler – they have been life changing opportunities that affect me deeply.

During the conference, we went to three different schools: Morehouse College (an all-male college where Dr. Martin Luther King went), Spelman College (all-female college), and Clark Atlanta University (co-ed).  All of the schools were beautiful, it was a privilege to visit them. I got choked up when we went to Morehouse College because Dr. King went there. I felt like I was walking through history. At the school they had a picture of President Obama delivering the Commencement speech in 2013 and I was in awe: both President Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King’s presences were there.

At the conference, I got the chance to meet other professors from schools  in NY, Atlanta, Hawaii, and others. I enjoyed listening to their research and learning about how we could use social media and technology platforms to teach millennials.

Dr. Lawler and I went to a delicious Italian restaurant one night and a Brazilian restaurant (it was my first time going to a Brazilian restaurant). We invited a professor from Spelman College that I met to join us for dinner, which was a lot of fun. One night our bus broke down which was an experience in itself. The bus was literally like the engine that could. When we broke down one professor started to play Bob Marley “Don’t Worry” and we all chimed in – it was priceless. The bus kept trying to get us all back to the hotel, but unfortunately it failed. We had to walk back to the hotel. On our final day we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. I was overwhelmed with emotion, I had the chills the whole time – history was brought to life. To walk where Dr. King walked, to stand in the area where he preached in Ebenezer Baptist Church, to see the pole in the firehouse where he played on as a child, and lastly to see his grave was indescribable.

My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to present with Dr. Lawler.  This certainly is a weekend that I will never forget. I thank Dr. Lawler and the Seidenberg School for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. I will always cherish the incredible memories from this trip.

Seidenberg students head to Finland for 6th Product Development Project

During the fall semester, six students headed to Helsinki, Finland, for Pace’s 6th year of participation in Product Development Project (PDP). The Finnish destination was the Aalto Design Factory, located at Aalto University.

This was a special trip as it came shortly after Pace University opened our very own Design Factory, the NYC Design Factory located here at Seidenberg School.

ava-posnerOnce they had arrived at the Aalto Design Factory, it was time to get started. Attendees met teammates and participated in PD6 – product development in 6 hours. Everyone was then split into two teams: KONE, an established elevator company, and Seecode, a tech startup.

We chatted with students on each team. Representing KONE was Mansoor Baba Shaik (MS Information Systems). Ava Posner (BS Information Technology) was on the Seecode team. Ava was also busy snapchatting the trip for a Snapchap takeover of the Pace University account.

Each team not only consisfinland-3ted of diverse members but was filled with different levels of expertise based on each member’s background. This worked well because the teams were able to work more efficiently in order to make it a collaborative process.

For the first few days/nights, the team members spent most of their time bonding and getting to know one another. Besides working hard, the students were allowed to explore and experience what it was like to live in Finland. mansoor-baba-shaikOn the following days it was time to get down to work!

The KONE team visited KONE headquarters, where each member of the team had the chance to use the mobile operated elevator which is being tested on and which will become the first mobile operated elevator in the world.

The Seecode team also visited the umbrella company NOMO 3D headquarters.

Teams were assigned tasks to be completed during sprints of PD6, utilizing design thinking methodologies.

finland-2For Seecode, the team was to build a prototype that would be used to scan individual body images in order to help design custom made outfits for buyers throughout the world. The aim is to make online clothes shopping a less uncertain experience: who hasn’t bought their size online only to find it doesn’t fit?

Team KONE had to come up with a product allowing a self controlled drone to deliver packages to customers directly via the building’s elevator. The idea is that a delivery company could program a drone operate an elevator so it can deliver packages to the correct person directly. I shouldn’t come as a surprise that Amazon is involved in this project.

As PDP is a two-part project, students will return to Helsinki for part two in May, 2017. In the meantime, both teams, being spread apart throughout the world, must remain in constant contact to finish their projects before the final presentation.

finland-7“We are excited to be a part of this amazing project and willing to put our 100% effort to achieve the final outcome of the project and present it in the gala”, said Mansoor. “We thank Pace University for selecting us for the Product Development Project and we feel it’s a great honor representing Pace University in a global event.”

 

 

 

You Mean You Haven’t Heard about Urban Mill?

It’s that time of year again — PDP season is in full swing! PDP, the Product Development Project Seidenberg participates in, in collaboration with our friends at Aalto Design Factory, starts every year in the Fall and lasts until May. This year we have six students who have traveled to Helsinki this month to get in touch with the teams they’ll be working with for the next eight months. The students participating are Brianna Vecchione (CS), Ethan Garrison (CS), Jane Rabinovich (Graphic Design), Patrick Prescott (IS), and Peta Clarke (MS in IS).

Brianna Vecchione wrote a piece about the team’s experience in Helsinki earlier this month:
[the following text stands in its original form as it appeared on the Urban Mill home page]

“After weeks of planning and with anticipation and excitement, the Pace University PDP team finally arrived in Espoo to formally begin our PDP projects. There are 6 of us split into 2 teams: One sponsored by ABB to innovate maritime engineering and the other sponsored through ComNet to develop a low-cost autonomous networking system through environmental data collection. Our first stop after our 8-hour flight from New York City was the Espoo Innovation Garden, where we were first introduced to the Design Factory grounds. However, we were lucky enough to run into Lars Miikki, who gave us an in-depth introduction to the history of Urban Mill, an urban innovation platform, from its untraditional conception to its future ambitions as the next pioneer for European innovation. The space boasts extremely advantageous features, from their geographical and cultural location in Espoo to their emphasis on sustainable development via intelligent solutions, like smart city design and internationalization.

PDP Group 2014PDP Group 2014 - 2

This ambition is reflected throughout the grounds of Urban Mill. The space embraces the concept of  “ready but never finished,” with startup vision boards, rough prototypes, research posters, and Styrofoam ground plans scattered throughout the spaces. There are small, creatively decorated design spaces throughout the area, giving it a modern, colorful flare. As Lars explained to us, students prefer the “unfinished” space because it invites their own ideas and contributions as well as providing them with a chance to create, build, and innovate in a way that is original and personalized.

Our group was mesmerized by the many inventions we encountered, ranging from workspace bedrooms, to an “active life village,” to data trackers that detect movement. There’s an entire wall full of business cards of individuals who share, collaborate and contribute to the development of the Urban Mill – of course, we couldn’t resist adding our cards as well. We finished the tour with a demonstration of their three-panel, floor-to-ceiling monitor screen (we were pleasantly surprised to see an image of Manhattan in the background!).

Peta Clarke

Urban Mill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, it was a wonderful introduction to the work to be done here at Aalto University Campus and we are honored to contribute to its visionary expansion at such an exciting time!”

It’s an exhilarating opportunity for all students participating, and we can’t wait to see how the projects turn out!