Tech Athletes Series: running hot races and cool code

“Neither of us came here just to run,” Ricky Harris (BS in Computer Science ’20) says while teammate Dan Citardi (BS in Computer Science ’18) nods in agreement. “I chose to come to Pace University because of the great academic program and the great internship opportunities.”

That particular choice paid off: Ricky interned at the White House in summer ’17 and has his eye on a number of very cool opportunities for his third summer at Pace. Spending a few months working in Washington DC wasn’t an excuse to slack on his fitness though. Did Ricky run, Captain America style, around the iconic National Mall park? “Every day,” he admits. You’ve got to stay in shape if you want to serve the country well!

While Ricky and Dan may not have come to Pace to run, it still figures greatly into their schedules and has been one of the most enduring memories of their Pace experience. Both cross country racers, these speedy computer scientists spend their weekdays taking capture the flag cybersecurity challenges or coding mobile apps and their weekends competing against other schools to traverse five miles of trails in the quickest time possible.

Many view running as a solitary sport, and it’s difficult to think of how a cross country ‘team’ can compete as a group when only one person can cross the finish line first. How do Ricky and Dan deal with the idea of working so hard as a group yet just one person getting the glory?

“Pace is its own team,” Ricky says.

“If the two of us are running together, we’ll push each other to go faster,” Dan adds. Rather than racing individually with the goal of placing in the top three, Pace runners strategize on how best to use each individual’s strengths and, when they need it, motivate one another to inch a little bit closer to the kind of peak performance that results in great victories. “Plus,” Dan continues, “I hate to say it, but there’s always bragging rights. If someone were to come out and beat me, of course I’m going to be more motivated to beat them the next time – especially if I see them all the time!”

All of that running takes time, though. Between practice, cross training, and the racing itself, there has to be a balance struck between ‘pace’ and ‘university’. How do the students juggle athletics and academics?

“I balance athletics and my studies by setting aside four to five hours a day to either study for a test or work on any assignments that were given to me and due within that week,” says Ricky, indicating that organization is key.

Dan found that athletics had a positive effect on how he approaches schoolwork. “Having some sort of athletic activity helped me balance more effectively than I otherwise would have,” he says. “If I know I have practice or a meet at a certain time, I know that I have to get my work done beforehand because, naturally, I’m always a bit tired after running. Being an athlete also got me out of the habit of procrastinating – which, after four years, I couldn’t be more thankful for!”

While Ricky is about to enter his third year with Pace, Dan has just about wrapped up his degree and is graduating in Spring 2018. What did he like studying the most?

“Going into college I knew I wanted to do something with computers but, to be honest I didn’t really know what,” says Dan. “But after taking all the classes and doing a lot of side projects, I really took a liking to mobile app development. A huge reason behind that was because of Dr. Jean Coppola; she took me under her wing in freshman year.”

Lining up together to set the Pace

Ricky also worked a lot with Jean, and under her guidance the two runners built a mobile app together (with fellow Seidenberg student, Mackenzie Dolishny) called DiscoVeR, a virtual reality app designed to help individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia cope during a period caused by the disease known as the ‘sundowning’. During this time, which is typically in the late afternoon to early evening, the individual can experience confusion and agitation, which may lead to panic and can be difficult for caregivers to deal with.

Through the app, Ricky and Dan aim to help.

“Dr. Coppola gave us the idea of doing something with virtual reality,” Ricky says. Working together, the two came up with an idea of creating an interactive world where users have to complete simple tasks that help take their minds off of the sundowning experience. “It’s a visual effect, a very simple interactive world . . . they can go into a world and – say there’s a gorilla that needs a banana – they use virtual reality to look around for it.”

DiscoVeR netted the team prizes in both the 2017 #WestchesterSMART Mobile App Development Bowl and the Pace Pitch Contest. It would appear that athletics is not the only area in which Dan and Ricky excel! That said, there are plenty of other achievements in the running realm for both students.

Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill, Dan, Ricky, and former Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino at the #WestchesterSMART Mobile App Development Bowl
Dan, Mackenzie Dolishny, and Ricky after placing in the Pace Pitch Contest

Dan’s most memorable moment as an athlete was being named team captain in his sophomore year. “I was never the type of person to really be vocal and take charge. Since the team was relatively young and inexperienced, I stepped up and took on that leadership role. From my freshman year to senior year, it was incredible seeing how much the team was able to grow, not only in terms of our running abilities but also our sense of family. We would always hang out, have team dinners, play video games, or do whatever we were feeling.  That sense of team bonding and unity made every second that much more enjoyable.”

Dan also ended up becoming the president of the student athlete association and became a voice for athletes on campus. He got to go to conferences and meet others, which he enjoyed immensely.

Ricky also made great memories at Pace: “My most memorable moment as a Pace athlete was Regionals this past season. The entire 10 kilometer race was ran through a flooded muddy golf course. Even though the whole team was covered in mud by the end of the race, we still pushed each other to perform our best. It was also the last meet for all of the seniors, so we left all we had out on the course to give them a last great memory as a Pace athlete.”

With graduation coming up, things will be quite different for Dan. He’s already got a job lined up doing app development for QSI, a software engineering company. As for running, the competitive field changes too. “After college it’s not going to be the same running and competing as I’m not going to have the same team around me,” Dan says. “But I’ll always be really active!”

Of course, he may also be heading back to Pace to do his master’s in software engineering… we won’t complain if he does!

Ricky Harris and Dan Citardi are two Seidenberg students who embody the Pace Path and have successfully explored the possibilities of coming to Pace in both their athletic and academic worlds. Do they have any advice for incoming students on how to make the most of their time at Pace?

“Take advantage of everything,” Dan says. “Internships, app development, chats with professionals, workshops, whatever it may be. Seidenberg has so much to offer, and if you put effort into it, the benefits will be impossible to ignore. At Pace in general, the biggest thing I would say is to get involved.  And it’s never too late to try something new. I got involved with Colleges Against Cancer my junior year, and ended up becoming part of the committee that helps plan Relay for Life. You never know the opportunities that will present themselves and you never know who you might meet.”

Ricky and Dan at the 2018 Relay for Life in support of cancer research

“Just be involved in as many opportunities as you can,” Ricky confirms. “Don’t push anything to the side, take advantage of every opportunity and develop yourself as a whole person. I would recommend to go to every event Pace and Seidenberg have because at every event you’ll meet someone new and make new friends also it’s how you make connections with people. Seidenberg is like a family and you won’t find a better group of friends or family on campus.”

Seidenberg Director of Development Deth Sao wins Business Council of Westchester Rising Star award

Our very much loved Director of Development, Deth Sao, will be honored by The Business Council of Westchester on June 21, 2018, at an event celebrating 40 of the most promising young professionals in Westchester County.

In an announcement about the winners, the President and CEO of Business Council of Westchester, Marsha Gordon, wrote: “Each year I am impressed with the quality and diversity of candidates, and this year is no exception. I congratulate the winners who represent a new generation of up and coming professionals in public relations and marketing, education, healthcare, real estate and other fields.”

Deth has been the Director of Development for the Seidenberg School for the past four years, during which she has helped forge excellent relationships with many Pace alumni and prominent business and industry communities. She has successfully organized and run our annual fundraiser, the Leadership and Service in Technology (LST) Awards, and in recent years spearheaded a set of distinctive speaker series that bring expert tech leaders onto campus to share their knowledge with our students.

Regarding her nomination, Deth said “I am honored and humbled to be recognized for this distinction, which is an affirmation of the Seidenberg School’s commitment and continuing success in advancing our STEM mission and students. It is also a privilege to be part of and play a role in the fruitful collaborations among Pace and the business and alumni communities in Westchester.”

Deth in her usual state of being hard at work.

We at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University were delighted by the news, and even more so to find that the nomination for the honor came from Pace’s own Government & Community Relations office.

“Deth is the type of colleague you want to work with and strive to be,” said Bill Colona, Director of Government & Community Relations. “She is hard-working, creative, unflappable, and has unquestionable integrity and character. She is the type of professional we hope our students will become when they graduate.”

The Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations, Vanessa Herman, added: “Deth is smart, gracious and an absolute pleasure to work with. She is a tremendous asset to not only Seidenberg but to the University as a whole. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”

Jonathan Hill, the Dean of the Seidenberg School, praised Deth’s work. “Under Deth’s stewardship, the Seidenberg School has seen notable increases in charitable gifts received, and highly proactive working relationships with the tech industry in the greater New York area, including major corporations and key players in the start-up scene.”

A hearty congratulations to Deth – we look forward to your many successes to come in the future!

Seidenberg hosts inaugural student-faculty lunch in newly renovated Pleasantville office

by Kate Houlihan

On Friday, January 26th, 2018 Seidenberg students on the Pleasantville campus came out for a luncheon with Dean Hill, Seidenberg faculty & staff, and fellow students to kick off the new semester! This lunch was the first major student event held in the newly renovated Seidenberg office (which you can find on the third floor of Goldstein Academic Center) and was a huge success. 

It was wonderful for the community to reconnect after a month of being on break! Despite it being Australia Day, the Seidenberg family munched on a “delicioso” Mexican spread from Sundance Deli in Pleasantville, NY. Bellies were full and the the small amount of leftovers were taken home.

Highlights of the renovation include a newly-painted reception area, two new lounge spaces for students to congregate, a 90-inch flatscreen TV, and a spacious kitchen!

We are thrilled to host many more events in this new, functional space in the near (and distant) future for faculty and students. Keep an eye out for future events, and don’t hesitate to stop by the 3rd floor of Goldstein Academic Center to check the new space out for yourself!

New Year, New Seidenberg School

A very happy new year to our Seidenberg community, and we hope your break was restful and warm. This year, there was no rest for the Seidenberg School – throughout the holidays, construction crews have been working on both our New York City and Pleasantville campus locations, tearing Seidenberg School apart to make way for exciting new spaces. Walls have come down, and fewer walls have gone back up. We have built new spaces for our students, faculty, and staff to work, collaborate, and relax in. There is a really, really big TV in Pleasantville that can be used for video conferencing and presentations (and Netflix?) – and that’s just the beginning.

NEW YORK CITY CAMPUS

Thanks to a generous support from Pace University, we have been able to take major steps toward becoming the school of computing and technology we have always dreamed of being. Our space in New York City is becoming a STEM haven, with a spacious new collaboration area opening up where the second floor conference room and adjoining lab space was. The conference room has been moved to the opposite corner of the floor, stealing Dean Jonathan Hill and Assistant Dean Stephanie Elson’s offices (oh no!), for a spot which is not only easier to find but will allow bright and spacious video conference work.

The aforementioned collaboration space is a Design Factory must, and the project has included building a new area where groups can come together and use design thinking techniques to ideate, design, and build real world products with international students who visit us through our Product Development Project (PDP) and Product Innovation Project (PIP) programs. The classroom in room 237 is also undergoing a major development. The entire wall adjoining the main floor will be replaced with writable glass for classwork and projects. Even the kitchen is getting a makeover!

Our new collaboration space: before
Our new collaboration space: before
And after! Once our furniture is added, this will be a sleek new spot to study and collaborate
And after! Once our furniture is added, this will be a sleek new spot to study and collaborate

Seidenberg School is not just changing: it’s expanding, too. On the year of the school’s 35th birthday, we have moved out of the proverbial basement and onto the first floor… well, third. While the School is still based on the second floor at 163 William Street, rooms on the third floor have been allocated to fulfil our urgent need for space. We have more students than ever, and the extra room will help greatly with accommodating their needs for work and research space. On the third floor, the Applied Data and Networking Sciences Lab (also known as the Innovation Lab) is moving into what was previously a call center. The room is a huge space where the lab, run by Dr. Jim Gabberty, can continue to flourish. Providing hands-on experience with cybersecurity techniques, big data analysis, and networking using Cisco tools, the lab has already helped a sizeable number of students get excellent jobs since it opened at the tail end of 2016. The displaced Dean Hill and Stephanie Elson can also be found on the third floor, in new offices built where our Mac Lab used to be.

The tenth floor isn’t being abandoned, though – the Computer Forensics lab directed by Dr. Darren Hayes will be moved up into one of the light and bright rooms to allow students to crack codes in a far more pleasant surrounding.

PLEASANTVILLE CAMPUS

In Pleasantville, it’s not just about the new TV. The third floor at Goldstein Academic Center has been refloored, painted, and undergone a chunk of construction itself. New space has been created at the front desk reception area via the removal of the wall-to-wall filing cabinets and new furniture is set to arrive soon to create a much more attractive welcome area for our students and guests.

Sleek new hallways thanks to a paint job and new flooring
Sleek new hallways thanks to a paint job and new flooring

Best of all is the brand new student lounge at the back of the floor. The classroom in room G321 has been torn down to make way for a spacious hangout spot for our students – and all Pace students – to relax, do homework, collaborate, and spend time at Seidenberg. Thanks to funds kindly allocated by Pace University, we have been able to build the kind of student lounge at the Pleasantville campus we have always wanted to offer our students – so once it’s finished, make the most of it! And yes, it does happen to be the same spot as the (now famous) television.

Our new touch TV, with added Tristan for scale!
Our new touch TV, with added Tristan for scale!

The updates at Pleasantville are stage one of our renovation process. Over summer 2018, more construction is planned to upgrade the two laboratories in Goldstein 300 and 315, so stay tuned!

That just about wraps up the physical changes for now, but there are many more changes happening at Seidenberg beyond the way we look. Our department chairs are hard at work with the faculty updating our program curricula to ensure our bachelor’s and master’s degrees offer students great value. Speaking of faculty, we are in the process of hiring new faculty who will help us achieve our mission of providing an excellent academic experience alongside co-curricular opportunities you will find nowhere else. We are extremely excited about growing our team of dedicated professors and expanding our artificial intelligence, data analytics, user experience (UX), and cybersecurity.

We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our incoming students this Spring and growing together as a School, as a University, and as a community.

The new reception area with bonus Jeana
The new reception area with bonus action shot of Jeana

Welcome back to #PaceU!

Recapping MLH Local Hack Day: the 12 hour hackathon

By Kaitlyn Houlihan

On December 2, 2017, over 275 communities from every continent (except Antarctica) simultaneously hosted 12-hour-long hackathons in the 4th annual MLH Local Hack Day, the LARGEST Local Hack Day in the world. Pace University’s Pleasantville campus was just one of those communities, hosting its first ever hackathon in the Stephen J. Friedman Multipurpose Room in Willcox Hall from 9:00am-9:00pm.

Photo via Maxim Vuolle, Pace Photography Club

The idea to participate in Local Hack Day was presented by Seidenberg’s own seasoned hackers Drew Ku (BS Information Systems ’20) and Angel Rodriguez (BS Computer Science ’20), and facilitated by the fantastic Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation Andreea Cotoranu. After a great deal of thought, this terrific trio decided upon setting the theme of the hackathon to social innovation. According to the Canadian Centre for Social Innovation, “social innovation refers to the creation, development, adoption, and integration of new concepts and practices that put people and the planet first. Social innovations resolve existing social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges.” That being said, it is almost impossible to imagine a more perfect theme for a hackathon! Because of the topic’s broad nature, participants were easily able to find brilliant solutions that better the planet, daily life, communities, and efficiency of everyday tasks.

Photo by Alec Zawadzki

On the day of the event, a total of 11 teams and 41 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students came out as early as 8:30am for this hacking extravaganza. A wide range of skill levels was present, and although beginner-level coder Justin from Mamaroneck High School found the process of developing his own program difficult at first, he felt better with guidance from faculty and student experts. In addition to faculty and student mentors providing assistance throughout the day, workshops were held to accommodate all skill levels. These workshops were led by Ben Longobardi (MEAN Stack), Drew Ku (Python and APIs), Pace alumnus and adjunct professor Dhruv Gandhi (product development and design thinking), and Angel Rodriguez (HTML/CSS).

Photo by Maxim Vuolle, Pace Photography Club

As computer science professor and faculty mentor Dr. Rick Kline noted, “everyone is eating and hacking, which is what we hoped for,” and it couldn’t have been better stated! Hackers and volunteers had plenty of food and coffee to fuel them through the day, from bagels to pizza from Sal’s to spinach and artichoke dip from Applebee’s (a Seidenberg favorite). However, the most important products of the day were most definitely the 11 incredible ideas that were developed by participants and tackled social issues from mitigating climate change to increasing socialization within communities, among others. Drew felt that “the event [best showcased] student independence because of the broadness of the theme of Social Innovation.”

Photo by Timothy Martinez, Pace Photography Club

At 7:00pm, all hackers submitted their projects via DevPost and began pitching and demoing their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges comprised of Chief Executive Nerd of Kool Nerd Club Orane Barrett, Founder and Lead Developer of Swapity Brian Brunos, as well as Seidenberg’s own Andreea Cotoranu and students Blake Hofland, Ben Longobardi, Drew Ku and Angel Rodriguez. Participants had three minutes to pitch and demo their projects. It was so amazing to witness the variety of ingenious solutions that were presented!

Choosing the winners wasn’t an easy task for the judges, especially after seeing all the effort everyone put into ideating and executing their projects throughout the day. However as all competitions go, it had to be done. Awards were given based on various categories, and the winners are as follows:

  • Best web application – Team F (Mamaroneck High School)
  • Best mobile hack – fORAGER (Pace University)
  • Best impact hack – lendme (Pace University)
  • Best designed hack – TutorFinder (Pace University)
  • Best documented hack – Vivlio (Pace University)
  • Hackiest hacker – Spotlite (Pace University)
  • Seidenberg Spirit Award – Pierre-Julien Morange (Team F, Mamaroneck High School)
  • Kool Nerd Award (sponsored by Kool Nerd Club) – Charles (TrunkPool, Pace University)

And, of course, a TON of awesome prizes were given out! Among these prizes were some Amazon Echo Dots, Raspberry Pi computers, board games, two of the coveted Seidenberg sweatshirts, and a Kool Nerd Club hoodie.

Photo by Abby Bonds, Pace Photography Club

Being Pace University’s first ever hackathon on social innovation, this event was undoubtedly a roaring success. Not only was it a blast for everyone who attended (participants, mentors, and staff alike), but it was a tremendous learning experience for all! All day long, participants ideated, collaborated, created, and demoed projects that resulted in marvelous solutions to problems we all face. In doing this, students were able to think outside the box and combine their immense knowledge of technology with their awareness of the world around them and, ultimately, grow intellectually and as global citizens. Which, when you think about it, is exactly the purpose of resolving social issues!

This would not have been possible without the student participants, staff, and volunteers who made this day so memorable. The entire Seidenberg community would like to extend a special thank you to our sponsors: Virginia LeTourneau ‘85, the Seidenberg School of CSIS, Kool Nerd Club, and Swapity. Also, thanks to our student mentors, workshop leaders, judges, and especially to the Pace Photography Club for capturing the event.

Computer Science Education Week – Dec 4th to Dec 10th

We’re so excited about Computer Science Education Week next week that we’re starting early! Check out these awesome events leading up to next week’s celebrations.

Pleasantville Campus Events

Seidenberg Tech Collective – Wed, November 29th

Guest Speaker: Brian Brunos, developer and entrepreneur at Swapity

Goldstein Academic Center, Room G300.

Our special guest speaker, Brian Brunos, will be speaking about his experience of successfully developing and launching a cryptocurrency exchange that does not require user accounts and pays 100% dividends through cryptocoin, Swapcoin.

Harley the Cybersecurity Dog – Thurs, November 30th

A K9 presentation of Harley the Cyber Dog, who can detect devices that may contain illegal content. This is a great event for the entire #PaceU community! No cybersecurity knowledge required, only a love of puppies.

Social Innovation Hackathon – Saturday, December 2nd

The Social Innovation Challenge is a 12-hour long hackathon open to ALL majors and skill levels. The theme is social innovation, however you may bring your own problem as well! For more information, please visit: https://hackday.mlh.io/Pace%20University%20Pleasantville%20Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robotics Demonstration – Monday, December 4th

Seidenberg professor of Computer Science, Dr. Rick Kline, will give a demonstration on our new robot overlords.

12:10-1:10 in Goldstein G300.

Seidenberg Special Interest Tour – Westchester Campus – Wednesday, Dec 6

Pace University Welcome Center – Marks Hall

This campus tour is available for prospective undergraduate students interested in Computer Science and Information Systems majors. In addition to a general campus tour, visitors will have the opportunity to meet an academic representative, tour the facilities used by the program, and whenever possible, will be guided around campus by a current student majoring in the academic discipline.

Seidenberg Tech Collective – Wednesday Dec 6th

Goldstein Academic Center Room G300

Returning and interested members welcome! The Seidenberg Tech Collective is an organization that is committed to enriching the lives of students and promotes interest in technology. Join us for the last STC meeting of the Fall 2017 Semester!

New York City Campus events

Pace Computing Society – Wed, Dec 6th

Seidenberg Lounge, 163 William St 2nd Floor – 12:10-1:10

Peer Mentoring and Mentee Event

Join PCS and guests – Seidenberg advisors Stephanie Elson and Matt Brown – to talk about our Peer Mentoring Program. Open to all current and interested members.

PCS is a club that aims to promote the interest in modern computing and design by hosting interactive workshops as well as inviting industry speakers to show what the real world experience is like. Any student with an interest in design and technology is invited to join us during our meetings. During this week’s meeting, peer mentor/mentee event with Stephanie and Matt

Cybersecurity Club Metasploit Workshop – Friday, Dec 8th

12:00pm-3:00pm Seidenberg Classroom Room 237

163 William Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY

The Cybersecurity Club in NYC is hosting a series of workshops and guest speaker events throughout the Fall of 2017. All events are open to any Pace student, but must sign up for the club during the event. Students who are current members have first priority for the workshop. Metasploit Workshop Metasploit is a framework that is used to deliver exploits and payloads to victim computers. This workshop will teach students how to ethically and effectively use Metasploit for conduction penetration tests.

More info and more events to come so stay tuned!

Stay updated on Seidenberg events with our Calendar.