Seidenberg student Shaki Kar earns FAIT 2017 Fellowship

We are delighted to announce that Seidenberg student Shaki Kar (MS in Information Systems ‘19) has earned a position in the 2017 Foreign Affairs IT (FAIT) Fellowship program. Shaki is one of only two graduate students throughout the U.S. who were awarded the Fellowship.

The program is operated by The Washington Center for Academic Internships and is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

“I’m highly excited about receiving the fellowship because I look forward to serving my country by enhancing computer and communications systems security, and ensuring transparent, interconnected diplomacy, while incorporating new technologies for the advancement of U.S. foreign policy,” said Shaki.

In a letter to Pace University President Marvin Krislov, The Washington Center’s President Christopher Norton said “the Fellowship is designed to attract outstanding individuals from all ethnic, racial and social backgrounds who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in IT with the U.S. Department of State.”

The application process was tough. “After a very competitive application, interview and clearance process,” Mr. Norton said, “we are very pleased that Shaki Kar has been selected into the inaugural class of the FAIT 2017 Fellowship program.”

As a result of achieving the Fellowship, Shaki will spend summer 2018 interning in Washington DC and will go abroad the following year. Once he has completed these internships (and his degree at Pace University!) he will enter an appointment as a Foreign Service Information Management Specialist (IMS) for five years.

“Information Management Specialists serve their country by maintaining secure, reliable IT tools and resources to ensure that Foreign Service Officers, federal agencies and non-government partners can promote diplomacy while serving overseas,” Shaki explained. “Information Management Specialists gain experiences that few other IT professions offer, including the reward of living in a foreign country while experiencing different cultures and helping to protect U.S. interests abroad.”

“This is a very exciting opportunity for Shaki,” wrote Mr. Norton, “and we know your university must be very proud.”

Yes, yes we are!

Shaki chose to complete his master’s degree at Pace University’s Seidenberg School because “I wanted to find a flexible technology program where I would be able to combine my policy experience with hands-on technical learning, technical application, and technical knowledge. I felt that the Seidenberg School offers all the above.”

He added: “I also look forward to meeting Pace President Krislov in the future.”

“The experiences and opportunities that entail from a Fellowship like this are potentially career and life-altering,” said Seidenberg School Dean Jonathan Hill. “We are thrilled for Shaki and very much look forward to supporting him in his studies and seeing where this exciting journey takes him.”

The Washington Center will soon be taking applications for next year’s cohort of FAIT Fellows. If you are interested in applying, check back on the Fellowship website for updates.

A huge congratulations to Shaki! We can’t wait to hear all about your wonderful experiences on this Fellowship!

Seidenberg Student Attends ABI.NYC Professional Women’s Series Panel

by Kaitlyn Bestenheider

On Thursday, September 15th, Seidenberg graduate student, Kaitlyn Bestenheider (M.S. Information Systems), attended the latest Professional Women’s Series Panel on “Defining Success: A Conversation on Career” hosted by Bloomberg Women in Technology (BWIT) and Anita Borg Institute (ABI.NYC).

The discussion started with Esther Kundin, Software Architect & Infrastructure Engineer in Big Data at Bloomberg, discussing how, “In school, you work hard, do good, and get A’s. Then you move on… When you start your career, things don’t always work that way. You have to learn to tell people what you are doing. You have to be seen as both technical and professional.”

Later during the Q&A, she continued, “In school, when you are given a homework assignment or problem, it’s a closed assignment. The solution has already been found. You are also finding it. In the real world, the solution has not been found. There’s no right or wrong way. It becomes a question of, ‘Can you get it done efficiently and effectively?’ …and it’s all very collaborative. A group project in school is not the same. In school, it’s a small project. In the real world, it’s an open-ended project with a lot of people and personalities working on projects that are sometimes neighing on impossible, but you make it happen.”

Other fantastic advice was given by Danielle Lahmani, Global Head of Engineering Training & Documentation at Bloomberg. “If you are able to get a mentor very early on, that’s going to be incredibly helpful in navigating the network that you are in.” She went on to discuss how “Cinderella Syndrome, where you just put your head down and just work” simply doesn’t work in this industry. You have to “build technical depth and presentation.”

Pinky Dewani, Head of Engineering for Bloomberg Indices added her take on how to be successful early in your career, “Translate technical ideas and design and implementation ideas depending on the audience you’re working with,” meaning to be able to explain things to everyone from your very technical team to the investor or even end-user who might not understand technology at all. The ability to understand it well enough to break it down for anyone will make you a valuable asset to any team.

On the topic of navigating the gaps for getting women in to midlevel management, Kundin suggests working on smaller projects for the first few years, but becoming the go-to person for a specific type of projects. Then, “you want to ask for larger projects.” She continues, “Sometimes you have to take that risk and do something that’s very scary and that may be hard for you, but that is ok.”

Dewani followed up with “Don’t be afraid of change, but actively seek it” describing how there is no growth without change.

Lahmani lead the conversation on things she would like to see more of to help women find success in tech careers. “I’d like to see more internships being offed to women. It’s the first step in terms of proving your worth. The more we see people like us in a technology community, the more normal it is.” She went on to describe the importance of having models in mid- and senior- level management positions because having a role model gives us something to strive for. They can also act as mentors and sponsors.

Jenny Gu, Team Lead of Listed Derivatives Volatility at Bloomberg, discussed how frequently teams have 7 or 8 men in the room and you are the only woman in the room. She suggests trying to help women out. “Ask them their thoughts. Give them a chance to talk… Women underestimate themselves. Maybe all they need is some support and a little push.” She later said, “I know women who are where they are now because someone gave them a little encouragement. They are very grateful to the people who gave them support on the way. Everyone can show their support to other people. Those little things can make a big difference.”

Later in the discussion, Dewani made one of my favorite points of this panel. “We worry too much about asking for permission to do things. Just fix it. Try out new tools. The more we do it, the more we increase our own skills and our own reputation as a leader and a doer.” She said if your team needs a driver, step up and do it. Don’t wait for someone else to come along who might not even be on their way. “Never, not even once, have I been asked, ‘Why are you doing this?’”

Lahmani seconded her statement with, “If we can overcome this, I think we can achieve a lot.”

Lastly, I’d like to thank Yunfei Xu, Global Head of Engineering for Portfolio Risk Analytics & index Products, for her comment stating that, “You have to give back.”

And this author is inclined to agree!

In the WIT community, I have never heard a mentor ask for anything except that you pay it forward. Help someone else in the field. You will never be able to repay the people who helped you in any other way than to make their investment in you worthwhile and by helping the next generation of women in tech.

I genuinely hope my work in WIT@Pace and my personal blog contributes to the community in some way as I work to pay it forward and become a valuable resource for other trying to learn to navigate this field for the first time. My experiences at many WIT conferences have been utterly amazing and I as reflect on my very first conference, WiCyS 2017 which you can read about here, and my first trip to the Grace Hopper Celebration, I am humbled, grateful, and thrilled to be plugged in to such a powerful network of women which started right here at Pace!

Thanks to our student Kait for another fantastic blog post!

Come meet the Seidenberg School at our Fall Open Houses!

There’s no better way to get to know us than to meet us in person! The Seidenberg School, alongside Pace University, holds multiple open houses, information sessions, and on-campus tours throughout the year. Events will be posted on this page and on Seidenberg School social media, so check back often if you are interested in visiting us.

UPCOMING EVENTS

FALL OPEN HOUSE

  • Take a campus and residence hall tour
  • Hear students describe their internships and professional experiences
  • Meet with an admission counselor to find out more about the admission process and application deadlines
  • Learn more about financial aid and scholarships
  • Explore the majors that interest you
  • Talk with current students, faculty, and alumni
  • Discover what our student clubs and activities can offer to you
  • Plan on attending Open House? Use #PaceBound on social media

Want to know why Seidenberg is right for you? Start Your Journey to find out.

New York City Open House

Sunday, October 8th 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
1 Pace Plaza
New York, NY 10038

Register

Westchester Open House

Sunday, October 15th 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m
861 Bedford Road Entrance 1 or 2
Pleasantville, NY 10570

Register

New York City Graduate Open House

Thursday, October 12th 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
1 Pace Plaza
New York, NY 10038

Register

Westchester Graduate Open House

Wednesday, October 25th 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m
861 Bedford Road Entrance 1 or 2
Pleasantville, NY 10570

Register

Seidenberg Peer Mentoring Program goes into its second year

The Seidenberg community was delighted to kick off the second year of our student mentoring program on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. When the program first began last year, we saw great success as senior students took incoming Seidenberg majors under their wings to help navigate the Seidenberg – and Pace University – experience.

Now in its second year, the program has seen a swell in new and returning students flocked back to meet one another and grow our Seidenberg family. The program aims to help new students settle into life at Pace, learn about how Seidenberg and the University operates, and meet new friends. For experienced students who are mentoring our n00bs, they learn how to provide guidance to new students and valuable skills that are extremely useful in the working world.

Director of Recruitment and Retention and Academic Advisor Stephanie Elson led the welcome presentation, which laid out the expectations of both mentors and mentees – including the requirement to take as many pictures as possible! #SeidenbergSelfie!

Our newest advisor on the NYC campus, Matt Brown, also welcomed the students. “Your relationship as mentees and mentors is about teamwork,” Matt said, emphasizing the community aspect of the program. “You all are part of a greater community, and individually you bring something great to this team.”

Matt also touched on one of our greatest assets here at Pace – “Pace is a global community with people from different backgrounds – be supportive, be non-judgmental.”

New students also got to meet community manager Olga Bogomolova, who welcomed them to the program and reminded them to take care of our space and each other.

The Seidenberg Peer Mentoring program is one of our points of pride. If you’ve been through our doors, you know that community is everything to Seidenberg, so we are delighted to see such a robust cohort of students entering and returning to the program this year.

We can’t wait to see how our mentors and mentees do! Welcome and welcome back to all of you!

DEF CON 25: Seidenberg edition

by Kait Bestenheider

On Wednesday, July 26, eight Seidenberg students from both NYC and Pleasantville campuses traveled across the country to attend one of the world’s largest hacking conventions, DEF CON, in Las Vegas. The conference offered talks, workshops, and industry connections, the quality of which cannot be matched elsewhere.

The group pictured below consisted of Adriana Aluia (BS Information Technology), Kaitlyn Bestenheider (MS Information Systems), Brandon DeLuca (BS Computer Science), Siobhan Kiernan (MS Computer Science), Andrew Ku (BS Information Systems), Benjamin Longobardi (BS Computer Science), Connor McGee (BS Computer Science), and Elizabeth Molloy (BS Information Systems and Cybersecurity).

From left to right: Ben Longobardi, Andrew Ku, Brandon DeLuca, Connor Magee, Elizabeth Molloy, Siobhan Kiernan, Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Adriana Aluia.

Each student had their own unique experiences. They were able to attend all of the following workshops in the four short days of the conference.

  • Applied Physical Attacks on Embedded Systems, Introductory Version
  • Subverting Privacy Exploitation Using HTTP
  • Building Application Security Automation with Python
  • Windows POST Exploitation
  • Penetration Testing in a Hostile Environment
  • UAC Bypasses in Win7/8/10

“DEF CON was really cool. The speakers, workshops, and talks we’re all super diverse,” says Andrew Ku, “I picked up things that I didn’t know I was going to pick up until I saw there was a village for it. But by far, interacting with other human beings was the highlight of my Def Con experience.”

Connor Magee agreed, stating, “Being able to pick the minds of some of the smartest people within the information security industry was a phenomenal experience!”

Two students were even able to present content that they had created at R00tz Asylum. R00tz is one of many villages featured at DEF CON, but unlike most other villages (see Crypto and Privacy Village, Lock Picking Village, Packet Hacking Village’s Wall of Sheep, and more), R00tz is dedicated to security aficionados age 6-16.

Kaitlyn Bestenheider and Elizabeth Molloy were asked by some of the organizers at Cryptography and Privacy Village if the material they created for Pace University’s GenCyber program could be used for their R00tz program. The girls were able to attend the “kids only” village to help present their material. Both girls cited it as the highlight of their DEF CON experience. Kaitlyn wrote about her experiences leading the workshop on her personal blog, Kait Tech – check it out!

But who was supervising Lizzie and Kait?

Brandon DeLuca summed up the overall experience well. “DEF CON, above all learning activities and interaction, was a motivating experience; you really learn a lot about unexplored topics in the area of study. Understanding just how skilled others are in their respective fields makes you want to push yourself even harder to learn and become the best.”

“It was kind of cool seeing the culture behind the stuff I’ve been learning about in school,” said Ben Longbardi.

To learn more about each of the students’ experiences, join us at the (WIT@Pace) meeting on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017, for their “DEFCON Redux” event. Register for the WIT event here!


Thanks to Kaitlyn Bestenheider for covering DEF CON! We will have another student blog from Kait about her experience in the R00tz workshop soon!

Celebrating our new PhD graduate, Dr Md Liakat Ali

The Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ PhD in Computer Science program has been seeing a lot of success recently! Although still a young program, we are starting to see our talented PhD students who enrolled near the very beginning achieving their goals. We are very proud to announce the successful dissertation defenses by new PhD Dr. Md Liakat Ali!

“The last three years of my life at Pace University have taught me so many things,” said Dr. Ali. “On the very first day at Pace, I got an email from Dr. Charles C. Tappert for Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning class. At the end of email, there was a quote: ‘If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research.’ – Einstein. Dr. Tappert, my supervisor, a wonderful professor and an expertise in biometric areas . . . inspired me in so many ways to complete my PhD.”

Dr. Ali’s dissertation, “A Hybrid Generative/Discriminative Approach to Machine Learning Problems with Application to Keystroke Biometrics,” involved the design and implementation of a novel method for tackling machine learning problems that worked to increase security using keystoke biometrics. The way we interact with our devices gives clues to who we are: how we swipe screens, the pressure we exert, the speed with which we type; all of this can be used as identifying factors that can be used to further secure our devices and digital accounts.

Currently, Dr. Ali is a Computer Science professor at Caldwell University, NJ, and is committed to continuing to pass on his knowledge in the classroom. “[M]y goals are to teach IT courses with most advanced theory and practical application, making students’ enthusiastic for advancement in technology and increasing their opportunity. I would like to continue teaching and research in Computer Science.”

Dr. Charles Tappert, Dr. Md Liakat Ali, Dr. Lixin Tao, and Dr. Li-Chiou Chen

He has published more than 20 international conference and journal papers, including at IEEE conferences on Smart Cloud, Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing, and Big Data Security on Cloud.

Fellow PhD student Avery Leider attended Ali’s defense. “What was awesome about Liakat Ali’s PhD Dissertation is that he continued research that was done earlier by the first PhD of the Computer Science PhD program at Pace University, John Vincent “Vinnie” Monaco, who did groundbreaking work in user authentication using the biometrics of how a person types on the keyboard. Vinnie now works as a Computer Scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Ali used that research, and went farther than Vinnie did, making this closer to being able to be used every day. Ali and Vinnie were both students of Dr. Tappert, who advised them on their PhD dissertations because that is work that he has been interested in for years. Maybe Pace University will become famous for keystroke biometrics!”