SWAG Showcase presents incredible women in technology


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. SWAG4

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.

SWAG2The 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.

SWAG1To 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!

Fireside Chat: Women for Women Tech Entrepreneurs

women in tech qaWe are delighted to announce that on December 9th, Seidenberg will host a Fireside Chat with the co-founders of Monarq and Maven, two tech companies with products made for women by women. The event, part of Computer Science Education Week, will take place from 4pm – 6pm in the Seidenberg Lounge.

Diana Murakhovskaya and Irene Ryabaya, co-founders of Monarq, will join Hope Yates, the director of Strategic Partnership at Maven, for a discussion on their careers and companies, the world of startups, and the tech industry.

Murakhovskaya and Ryabaya’s Monarq is a social networking app whose goal is to “inspire women to lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life, spark authentic conversations, and forge new friendships, whether for a day or a lifetime.” The app connects like minded women, allowing them to create new friendships and share experiences. Before developing Monarq, Murakhovskaya and Ryabaya both worked in the financial sector; now, the pair work tirelessly to inspire more women to join the world of startups and technology.

Hope Yates is a member of the team that developed Maven, an e-healthcare app designed specifically for women. The app connects women with healthcare providers, who see their patients over video. During her time at Maven, Hope has led Maven’s recruitment of over 500 healthcare and wellness professionals, its early brand partnerships, and its college campus ambassador program.

Prior to Maven, Hope was a corporate lawyer at Skadden in the Patent Litigation department. In 2012, she left the practice of law to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Health at Columbia University’s Maiman School of Public Health. While at Mailman, and as an intern for the Division of Mental Hygiene of the New York City Department of Health, she focused on the impact of social, cultural and political influences on women’s mental and physical health.

This event promises to be an inspiration Q&A session. Register today to secure your spot!

Law enforcement will need to pay millions to tackle full disk encryption

Decapsulated MicrocontrollerBy Dr. Darren Hayes, Director of the Seidenberg Cybersecurity Institute.

James Ossipov, Investigator from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, returned recently to his alma mater, the Seidenberg School of CSIS, to discuss the future of mobile forensics. Appropriately, Mr. Ossipov returned on Veterans Day; James has a distinguished military career and still continues to serve today. His talk was delivered to prospective computer forensics experts taking a Mobile Forensics Investigations class with Dr. Darren Hayes.

In recent times, Apple has moved from software encryption to hardware encryption. Much to the chagrin of law enforcement, companies, like Apple, have left the keys to decrypt the latest iPhones on the device itself. This makes it virtually impossible for examiners to access the device of an uncooperative suspect. To put it into perspective, the iPhone 9, with its six-digit PIN, has 10,000,000 possible combinations. With each unsuccessful try, Apple has built in an ever-increasing time delay within which you can enter a different PIN. Investigators are experiencing similar challenges with Android devices running Lollipop and Marshmallow. The future of mobile forensics is perplexing but not bleak according to James, who finds these challenges scintillating.

Microcontroller under Electron MicroscopeBrute forcing a PIN is sometimes possible with Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), which can be configured to crack a PIN in a fraction of the time it takes a traditional computer to do. The next solution will cost each forensics lab a minimum of $1 million to get into the game. The chip must be removed, and gases applied to remove the casing. Ultimately, an attack will be launched on the chip using an electron microscope and that is where the highest cost lies. Today, some of these high-tech experts are charging $25,000 and even up to $1 million to access smartphones with full-disk encryption. We are certainly entering some interesting times in the world of mobile forensics.

Vinnie Monaco makes Seidenberg history with first PhD in Computer Science

Monaco_1John “Vinnie” Monaco recently made an achievement that is a milestone in Seidenberg School history: he successfully defended his PhD dissertation and became the school’s first ever Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science! We are absolutely delighted with Vinnie’s success and can’t wait to see where his new qualification takes him.

Vinnie’s dissertation, “Time Intervals as a Behavioral Biometric,” isn’t just significant for the Seidenberg School, but it is also important within the field of behavioral biometrics. We asked Vinnie to provide some insight into the research he did: 

“My work attempts to identify people based on the way they behave over time,” says Vinnie. “The model I proposed utilizes individual differences in temporal behavior across a range of scales, such as typing, sending emails, initiating financial transactions, or visiting the White House. The significance of this is that only event timestamps are required. This breaks down the privacy barrier that was thought to exist using tools that provide spatial anonymity, such as TOR, and calls for new identity-masking techniques. To be truly anonymous in the 21st century, a person has to not only hide their IP address or location; they have to also mask their behavior in some way.”

Pretty amazing stuff!


Vinnie’s defense was overseen by his dissertation committee (pictured, from left to right, Dr. Lixin Tao, Dr. Vinnie Monaco, Dr. Charles Tappert, and Dr. Meikang Qui).

On his impact at the Seidenberg School, Vinnie said: “I’m proud to have been the first PhD graduate from Seidenberg. I think that the school is starting to attract a greater number of quality researchers, both students and faculty, and I’m confident that the Seidenberg School will continue to be recognized as a leading institution in behavioral cybersecurity research.”

Congratulations to Dr. Monaco on his enormous achievement!

The Seidenberg School welcomes James Gabberty as Associate Dean

gabbertyAs of November 1, Dr. James Gabberty has assumed the position of Associate Dean at the Seidenberg School. Dr. Gabberty has a wealth of experience that made him the ideal candidate for the position.

He will be working to drive more sponsored research and internship opportunities to Seidenberg. He will also be focusing on the creation of a cybersecurity certification program with Pace Adult and Continuing Education.

Exciting things are happening at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Education Systems, and we can’t wait to announce them as they take place!


Seidenberg Students Involved in Dark Research

Tor_WordmapThere is a lot of buzz about the Dark Web these days, especially after the highly-publicized take-down of the Silk Road. Concerns about the Dark Web are not just limited to drug markets, illegal arms, sinister hitmen and notorious hackers for sale but impacts our own personal well-being. Companies have been investing heavily in cyber intelligence tools and hiring new employees to scour the Internet for threats as well as the Dark Web.

Students at the Seidenberg School have been delving into the dark reaches of the Dark Web and assisting private and public sector entities to better understand organizational threats. This is especially important because stolen personal information, like payment card numbers, health records and other stolen data is actively marketed in bulk quantities. Cataloging and searching these marketplaces has been a challenge due to the lack of indexing Tor sites and the fact that these sites come and go on a daily basis. This is where the Seidenberg students’ research becomes vital to assisting law enforcement and the intelligence community.

Tor site for selling stolen payment cards
Tor site for selling stolen payment cards

One member of the student researcher team said: “Researching the dark web has highlighted the importance of operational security to protect myself and my data.

“This experience has shown the important relationship between of academic and law enforcement, as criminals are exploiting the same vectors university students are researching. Students can personally benefit from this relationship by having a real world application for our research, and know that our findings can stop the activities we investigate.

“The dark web has shown me how vast the internet is and the potential for good and bad it has. It is a very exciting time to be a security researcher.”

The students undertaking the project are doing so in the Internet Technology class IT-662 Web & Internet Security.

The Dark Web is a vast chasm and DARPA’s Memex program is indicative of how the government has become more dependent than ever on university researchers to find the terrorists, organized criminal gangs and enterprising thieves on the Dark Web.

What is startling from our initial findings is that only a very small percentage of Tor sites, operating criminal marketplaces, are ever taken down with the perpetrators being brought to justice. It’s a daunting task but Pace University is doing its part to identify the nefarious actors on the Dark Web.

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