The Pace Women in Tech club held its first meeting as an official Pace organization on Monday, February 6, 2017. Led by Seidenberg students Eiman Ahmed and Niamh Fitzsimon, the meeting was a brief introduction to the club and the plans for the upcoming semester.
Aimed to be a welcoming group where members can make new friends and build a peer network, Pace Women in Tech already has a lot planned for this year. Hackathons, internship workshops, and potential attendance to the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration conference in Orlando, Florida, were just some of the things on the table.
The group aims to meet every two weeks and new members are welcome to join them for discussions, workshops and the chance to meet guest speakers from the tech industry – all over free pizza, of course.
“We want to spread awareness for the underrepresented group of women in technology,” said Ava Posner (BS in IT ’18). “My goal is to bring Seidenberg students – especially women – together so they have a network of individuals they can share experiences with, ask questions, and make new friends.”
Pace Women in Tech has an active Facebook group that is recommended for members not only so they can stay up to date with meetings and events here at Seidenberg but for local hackathons and other events taking place outside Pace.
October was a busy month at the Seidenberg School. Not only was it Cybersecurity Month, meaning we had plenty of events relating to all things privacy and security, but we were still recovering from the launch of the fantastic NYC Design Factory.
What better time to get away from it all by attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Houston, Texas?
The conference is a massive, annual event that usually takes place in a different location each year. Since its inception in 1994, the conference has grown from just a few hundred delegates to this year’s incredible collection of attendees – around 16,000! And some of those awesome women in attendance were Seidenberg students and staff.
To say the conference was absolutely massive is an understatement. The opening keynote took place in the enormous Toyota Center stadium where amazing speakers got the crowd hyped up for the next few days of networking, professional development workshops and sessions, and a serious amount of partying. Keynote topics included privacy and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cognitive computing, and were discussed by Latanya Sweeney, Ginni Rometty, Alyssia Jovellanos, and Anna Patterson.
After the keynote, the conference was in full swing. Day one consisted largely of everybody checking out the expo, where hundreds of organizations (including the Seidenberg School!) had set up booths to share information, network with others, and give out free swag.
Computer Science student Melanie Greene said: “It was uplifting to see the number of prestigious companies at the career expo – I really saw their commitment to embracing diversity in the industry, and it was touching. I got the chance to meet many enthusiastic employees from so many companies such as Google, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Facebook and to attend Google’s party that was out of this world. Have you ever created your own emoji and then seen it in the foam of your coffee? I have now. I am blown away by the advancements made in technology and I hope to be a part of them in the future.”
In the evenings, a wealth of social events took place with free food, fantastic networking opportunities, and inspirational speakers – including the aforementioned Google party that was, indeed, out of this world.
Days two and three were packed with professional development and educational workshops and panels that our students were sure to make the most of during networking breaks. Some of our students were so impressive that they were offered interviews for jobs on the spot! We are extremely proud of our students’ talents and their abilities to share their expertise with people they have just met.
The conference came to a close too soon and we were sad to leave the warm, humid temperatures of Houston to return to the tepid airs of New York… but it was an incredible experience.
Graduate student Alexa Piccoli said: “Attending Grace Hopper this year well exceeded my expectations . . . There are so many awesome things happening in the world of technology and it reassured me that being a women in the field is something I should be proud of and thankful for.
“From the keynote speakers to the breakout sessions, to the awesome Google party, I truly learned a lot and had fun. I learned how women have deeply influenced and paved the path in technology, how to get involved in capture the flag competitions, the advancements of blockchain, and how you can do anything you set your mind to in this field. I would encourage students to go to this event next year and get involved in all that being a women in technology has to offer!”
Interested in attending the conference next year? Let us know!
On October 20th, the Westchester County Association (WCA) will be recognizing five women for their extraordinary efforts in STEM fields as part of their third annual “Women in Tech” awards. One of these women happens to be our very own, Professor Jean Coppola!
The WCA started this event in 2014 in order to recognize women for their remarkable contributions and achievements while working in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM).
Professor Coppola will be recognized as an award-winning educator, author and professor of gerontechnology at Pace University.
“We are delighted at this recognition of Dr. Jean Coppola’s work,” said Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill. “Through her research into healthcare IT in general and gerontechnology specifically, Jean has made great contributions to the discipline and, through this work, has made vital contributions to the Westchester County community. Her work has enabled hundreds of Pace University students to become engaged with their neighbors in life saving ways and we all benefit from this work.”
Coppola has won numerous national awards for her extensive research and work with the effects of technology on the quality of life for older adults, including attitudes towards aging and cognitive functioning.
On Saturday, December 12, 2015, a large crowd descended on Pace University’s Pleasantville campus for Pace University’s STEM Showcase Day, an event that celebrated Pace’s Women in Technology initiative and the success of its STEM Workshop for high school female students. Appropriately called SWAG, “STEM Women Achieve Greatness,” this Workshop offered a rigorous hands-on approach to design and problem solving using engineering and programming tools to create water robots. The SWAG Workshop was an incredible opportunity made possible through the generosity of GE Capital, whom Pace is proud to have as a partner in our efforts in advancing girls and women in STEM.
Over the course of the Fall semester, 30 high school girls visited Pace on Saturdays to learn how to build and program (using Arduino) a SeaPerch Water Robot capable of taking temperature readings underwater.
Working diligently during these Saturday sessions, and under the guidance of Seidenberg School faculty and staff, the 30 young women made incredible accomplishments that could go a long way in kickstarting their education and careers in STEM.
The showcase began with an introduction by Seidenberg’s Interim Dean, Dr. Jonathan Hill, and followed by welcoming remarks by GE Capital’s CIO, Julie Stansbury. . Attending guests – including many proud parents – viewed video highlights of the journey and successes of the SWAG participants over the past semester (watch it now). Then it was onto SWAG group presentations! Each team of girls got on stage and talked about their experience building a fully functioning underwater robot, discussing their triumphs and disappointments both, and it was clear that the workshops had been a rewarding experience that incorporated new friendship connections into the STEM education. Afterwards, Pace students demonstrated the continuation of hands-on learning in a college environment through group presentations of STEM-based projects, which is part of Pace’s Capstone program.
The festivities continued with a panel discussion featuring female technology leaders and executives in the technology sector. The panel was moderated by VIP and CIO of Pace University Clare van den Blink, and was comprised of Ursuline Foley, CIO Corp. & Enterprise Enablement at XL Catlin; Margaret Honey, President & CEO of the New York Hall of Science; Nasrin Rezai, CIO at GE Capital; and Judy Spitz, CIO at Verizon. The panelists spoke of their experiences and shared profound wisdom sure to be beneficial to the talented high schoolers in the room.
To close out the celebration, Dean Hill welcomed Seidenberg School founder, Dr. Susan Merritt, to the stage. Susan presented each of the girls with a medal for successfully completing the STEM Women Achieve Greatness workshop series here at Pace University.
A big thank you to all of the Pace faculty and staff who made this event possible: Ms. Andreea Cotoranu, Dr. Pauline Mosley, Dr. Matt Ganis, visiting Instructor Ms. Dawn Tucker, Dr. Nancy Hale, Dr. David Sachs, Dr. Susan Feather-Gannon, Dr. Li-Chiou Chen, Dr. Jean Coppola, Dr. Mary Courtney, Deth Sao, Elizabeth Foster, Nancy Treuer, and Susan Downey. A Special Thanks to Mary Ann Errante from Special Events and Lenny Craig from Buildings and Grounds.
We would like to heartily congratulate each of the 30 girls and sincerely hope we see you again when it’s time for you to attend college!