Pace University concludes sixth successful year of STEM Camp

The sixth annual STEM Collaboratory NYC’s STEM Camp at Pace has concluded after two weeks of intensive summer tech-related fun. Hosted and run at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, the camp introduced participants to tailored coding programs, field trips to top tech companies, and much more.

From Monday, July 2 through Friday, July 13, 2018, high school students from the tri-state area descended upon the Seidenberg School to learn how to code Python, data science, data visualization, design thinking – to name just a few. Workshops run by Seidenberg faculty Christelle Scharff and Frank Parisi offered an in depth exploration of hot tech areas, while Seidenberg student mentors led NYC Design Factory soft skills development events.

Getting to know you, getting to learn all about you… one of our icebreaker exercises that totally worked the way we meant it to and didn’t end up with twine everywhere.

Students weren’t restricted to the four walls of One Pace Plaza, however – several organized field trips included visits to Google for a tour and panel discussion, as well as a trip to local startup AppFigures. As is STEM Camp tradition, the cohort also enjoyed a boat ride to Governor’s Island to visit Billion Oyster Project (during an intense summer heatwave, so ice cream may have been involved).

Science takes safety seriously! STEM Camp visited Governor’s Island to work with Billion Oyster Project.

The Seidenberg School runs STEM Camp in partnership with the School of Education via a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). As part of our initiative to bring technology education to the high school classroom as well as our established college experience, STEM Camp was created to bring gifted high school students to Pace University for an unforgettable summer experience that encourages participants to pursue STEM degrees.

The camp closed out with project presentations from the students, which we streamed live on Facebook.

We’d like to thank Dr. Lauren Birney from the School of Ed, Dean Jonathan Hill, and our amazing team at Seidenberg who made STEM Camp possible: professors Christelle Scharff and Frank Parisi, students Vivian Ng, Allan Krasner, Sven Nussgruber, Jackson Bynes, Guillermo Schneider, Aditee Verma, Anna Marinina, Milind Ikke, and Seidenberg staff lead, Melanie Madera.

Student mentors Sven Nussgruber, Jackson Bynes, Allan Krasner, Guillermo Schneider, Anna Marinina, and Aditee Verma, making it happen! Not pictured: Vivian Ng.

Stay tuned for a video highlighting the best moments from this year’s camp!

Read about previous STEM camps.

GenCyber cybersecurity workshop for high school teachers enters fourth year at Pace University’s Seidenberg School

For the fourth year, Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems hosts a GenCyber cybersecurity workshop for high school teachers. The workshop, which is supported by a grant from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to introduce methods for educators to bring cybersecurity into the classroom through a seven-day program on Pace University’s Pleasantville campus.

Dr. Li-Chiou Chen introduces the fundamentals of Linux and Raspberry Pi.

Over the course of the workshop, the 24 high school teachers in residence will undergo rigorous training in various cybersecurity topics and learn the tools to impart that knowledge to high school students when they return to the classroom. The workshop kicked off on Thursday, July 12, 2018, and will run until Friday, July 20.

On day one, the workshop kicked off into high gear with unplugged activities running in the morning before it was joined by a few guests for lunch. Dean of the Seidenberg School, Jonathan Hill, as well as the new Pace Provost, Vanya Quinones, stopped by to greet the participants.

Assistant Dean Andreea Cotoranu introducing the next training exercise to participants.

Andreea Cotoranu, the Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation, and the Pace GenCyber Program Director, welcomed the group and thanked her “partner in crime,” Dr. Li-Chiou Chen, Chair of the Information Technology Department, and Pace GenCyber lead instructor, for her contributions to designing and teaching the workshop. “I am very excited you are all here,” said Dr. Chen.

Pace Provost Vanya Quiñones and Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill welcomed participants on Day 1.

Dean Hill gave participants an overview of their host: “Welcome to Pace University and the Seidenberg School,” he said. “The Seidenberg School is the third oldest school of computer science in the country. We are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year and there are several things that are . . . part of our ethos that we are incredibly proud of, and having the opportunity to host you here is a great reflection of that.

“We believe in a strong pipeline from K-12 all the way through to the highest levels at University so we have such deep respect for all the things you do in your classrooms.

“This is a competitive program; we get a lot of applications, and the fact that you are here speaks volumes . . . the material you are going to get is incredibly compelling.” He added: “Pace is a university where you not only get a great technical education, but you get a great liberal education and a great scientific education.”

Dr. Hill then introduced the new Provost of Pace University, Vanya Quinones, who was only on her sixth day so far at Pace! Provost Quinones welcomed the attendees, saying that she was glad to meet them so early on in her tenure at Pace. “It shows how Pace is committed to the future of our country and future generations understanding the importance of cybersecurity, computing, and technology,” she said. “We are proud that you are here, and we are excited that you are able to come and meet Pace and see the wonderful things that we do here.”

Dr. Li-Chiou Chen demonstrating a cryptography wheel.

The Seidenberg School is delighted to run the GenCyber workshop for high school teachers as it fully aligns with our cybersecurity initiative, which emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity education and awareness today and going forward. The School has been having a powerful impact in higher education and industry communities for years, but the chance to extend our impact into high school classrooms is an opportunity we are extremely proud of and enthusiastic about.

“We are excited to have you here,” said Assistant Dean Andreea Cotoranu. “This year, with this cohort, we are reaching [a total of] 90 high school teachers across the country that have been participating in Pace GenCyber. By teaching you, the teachers, we have an opportunity to impact thousands of students across the country and we are very proud of that.”

Participants hard at work on a cryptography exercise.

Read about previous GenCyber workshops!

Jonathan Hill reappointed as Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University

The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University is delighted to announce that Jonathan Hill, DPS, has been reappointed as Dean.

After two years of service as Dean of the Seidenberg School (following one year as Interim Dean), Dr. Hill has built a list of achievements that have elevated the School as an institution of academic excellence and opportunity for our students. Under Dean Hill’s leadership, enrollment at the Seidenberg School has grown year over year, and the School’s presence on both New York City and Pleasantville campuses has improved with new construction work, additional lab space, and active participation in unique programs like the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN).

In a letter to the Pace community, President Marvin Krislov wrote, “We appreciate and admire Dean Hill’s many accomplishments for the Seidenberg School and for the University. We look forward to his continued success and progress.”

Dean Hill’s ability to engage students, faculty, and staff in the community is reflected in the culture of the Seidenberg School – or, as we like to say, our Seidenberg fam!

We very much look forward to supporting Dean Hill in his vision for the Seidenberg School and continuing to offer a great student experience for Seidenberg and Pace students alike.

Please join us in congratulating Dean Hill!

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!