Opportunities in Africa 2019: wrapping up the conference presented by the Seidenberg School and Wutiko

Seidenberg’s international connection continues to grow, and the conference that occurred earlier this September is proof of that. On Friday, September 27th, Seidenberg hosted Opportunities in Africa at One Pace Plaza for professionals, students, faculty, and staff. 

The day kicked off with a breakfast and transitioned to the morning ceremony for opening remarks. Dean Hill, Marvin Krislov, Dr. Scharff, and many others expressed gratitude to both the Seidenberg School and Wutiko for bringing this event to Pace University. Upon the completion of the ceremony, gifts were presented to the VIP guests, photo opportunities were had, and connections were made. The rest of the afternoon consisted of panels focused on professionals from Senegal, Mauritius, and Nigeria. Between these events, participants had the opportunity to network and converse with business representatives. Overall, it was a wonderful day for connecting brilliant minds to talk about the future of business and tech.

This event was made possible thanks to the partnership between Wutiko, a professional platform known for connecting individuals to business opportunities in Africa, and the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. 

Kémo Touré, CEO of Wutiko, and Dr. Christelle Scharff, Professor of Computer Science at Pace University, brought this networking opportunity to Seidenberg after meeting at a conference and connecting over their passion for tech and community outreach.

Speakers at the event included C.D. Glin, President and CEO of USADF; Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation in Senegal; Papa Amadou Sarr, Minister of DER/Senegal, and many more. Important guests ranged from government officials, CEOs, and company founders who were featured at the event. 

Africa is known for its massive economy, which is why this event was so crucial for connecting professionals in NYC to those in Africa. According to Wutiko, Mauritius is the #1 country for doing business in Africa, Nigeria is the continent’s #1 economy, and Senegal is the #1 in hospitality in Africa. Imagine the professional opportunities in the area!

Christopher Cherestal, a Seidenberg senior about to obtain a BS in Information Systems later this year, attended the Opportunities in Africa event last year and was particularly impressed by how the event has grown.

“Seeing it go from such a small space to the Schimmel Center was quite the transformation,” he explains. “It was so cool to see that upgrade.”

We’re so happy we were able to partner with Wutiko for this event. Here’s to bringing it back in 2020! If you missed the conference, you can watch the live-stream provided by Seneweb online.

 

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Healthcare industry talks cybersecurity at third annual Pace University conference

The third annual cybersecurity conference took place at Pace University’s Westchester campus on Thursday, October 3, 2019. The conference included a set of panelists and speakers from many top East Coast organizations and a guest appearance from a canine cybercrime specialist.

This year’s focus was the Economics of Cybersecurity in Healthcare: Understanding the Costs of Cyber Exposure to Protect Enterprises and Patients.

After a networking breakfast, the Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Jonathan Hill, welcomed guests and spoke about the work being done at Pace University. “Pace University is doing a lot to address the [cyber] threat today,” he said.

President Marvin Krislov also gave remarks, noting that “healthcare is the largest sector in the Westchester economy,” – an economy which Pace University contributes nearly $360 million to, it was recently announced.

The conference got started with an opening conversation between Jennings Aske, the Senior VP and CISO at NewYork-Presbyterian, and Anthony Johnson, Managing Partner at Delve Risk. The topic of the conversation was a threat briefing on the healthcare landscape. Jennings and Anthony dove into a fascinating discussion on risk management, patient privacy, and leading cybersecurity initiatives.

After the discussion, the Dean of the College of Health Professions, Harriet Feldman, took to the podium to discuss the industry outlook. “The intersection of technology and healthcare could not be more important than it is now,” she said.

Following was a new addition to our conference program – an interactive cyberattack exercise. The exercise was run by Shawn Fohs, Managing Director of Forensics US Cyber Response & Privacy Leader, Ernst & Young; Kevin M. McGuire, the Commissioner at Westchester County Department of Social Services; Jonathan Bandel, Assistant VP for Strategic Service Lines at White Plains Hospital, Robert Largey, Co-Founder of East Post Road Ventures, LLC, the Innovation Accelerator Arm of White Plains Hospital, and Pace University’s very own Kit Lee-Demery, the Assistant Director for Emergency Management and Fire Safety.

The session consisted of a tabletop exercise that aimed to create an opportunities for conference attendees – stakeholders within the healthcare critical infrastructure sector – to enhance their understanding of key issues associated with a focused cyberattack, including coordination and information sharing amongst private entities and government agencies in response to such an attack. Participants got to come up with a response to a fake, albeit plausible, cyberattack based on current plans, policies, and procedures. It involved contact from the FBI, hacking from malicious agencies, increasing panic, media scandals, and stolen information – all the makings of a quality drama!

Once the exercise was finished, the first panel discussion of the day took place over lunch. The panel, titled Quantification of Risk Management of the Healthcare Enterprise, included guests Michael Corcione, Managing Director at Treliant Risk Advisors and Robert Zandoli, Global CISO and Chief Technology Officer at BUNGE LTD, both of whom are Pace alumni. Co-Founder and CEO of Sovy, John Popolizio completed the group alongside moderator and Seidenberg School faculty member, Li-Chiou Chen.

No cybersecurity conference at Pace is complete without an appearance from our four-legged friend, Harley the Cyber Dog. As in previous years, Westchester County Police Department’s Detective Brett Hochron and his K9 partner Harley gave a demonstration of Harley’s skills at sniffing out cybercrime. Trained to detect a particular chemical scent present in many tech devices, Harley is capable of discovering hidden USBs, SD cards, smartphones, and more – even if they are very carefully hidden. Detective Hochron explained that, as Harley only eats when she successfully finds a hidden device, she associates working with a worthy reward, making her quite possibly one of the happiest professionals in the cybersecurity industry.

Prior to the demonstration, Detective Hochron hid several devices around the conference room, including a micro USB taped to an electrical outlet and another one tucked under a pillow. Harley found them all within minutes.

Harley’s training has enabled her to assist police and the FBI’s cyber crime unit in convicting criminals. When police conduct physical searches, they may miss evidence that is hidden under floorboards, in electronic sockets, inside furniture, and other imaginative locations. Dogs like Harley are able to provide the backup that ensures no laptop is left unturned or undiscovered.

The final panel of the day looked to the past, present, and future. The panel was titled the Evolution of the Cybersecurity Program for the Healthcare Enterprise and featured Chris Hetner, Managing Director of Marsh Risk Consulting’s Cyber Risk Consulting; Steven Goriah, DHA, CHCIO, FACHE, VP of Information Technology/CIO, Chief Information Security Officer at Westchester Medical Health Network, Seidenberg professor and digital forensics expert Darren Hayes; and Jennings Aske, SVP and CISO at NewYork-Presbyterian. Seidenberg professor and Associate Dean, Jim Gabberty, moderated the discussion.

Following the panel, Dean Jonathan Hill gave his closing remarks and the conference was open for guests to network and meet with panelists.

We are grateful to our sponsor, Treliant, for the generous support in making this conference a success.

Thanks also go to Detective Brett Hochron of Westchester County Police Department for another fantastic presentation with Harley.

Pace University hits top ten in online IT degree rankings

Pace University’s online Master of Science in Information Technology hit top ten rankings in Online College Plan’s list of 30 Best Online Information Technology Masters. The 2019 results saw Pace University’s online IT degree reach 7th place among the 30 colleges selected.

The rankings were designed, according to the Online College Plan website, to “help you learn more about the best online masters programs in information technology available today. Online college is becoming more and more popular for professionals who have already joined the workforce in their field and want to continue their education. The benefits of earning a higher-level degree are clear when it comes to the average salary and ability to advance within your chosen career.”

The ranking methodology used to determine the top programs consisted of an even split between the program’s financial score, the academic support measures, and the academic quality.

According to the Online College Plan website, these break down as follows:

Program financial score (33.3%): the percentage of students whose financial need was met, the robustness of the financial aid department and offerings.

Academic Support Measures (33.3%): including student-to-faculty ratios, average graduation rates, and time-until graduation.

Academic Quality (33.3%): presence of high profile research opportunities and designations such as the NSA center of academic excellence designation for cybersecurity.

On top of that, the programs were scrutinized on their capability to fulfil the growing industry need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. As Pace University’s MS in IT specializes in cybersecurity, our students get the benefit of an education tailored to fill the growing number of jobs. In fact, the quality of the cybersecurity program at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems earned Pace University’s designation as an NSA and DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education – a prestigious title.

Out of a potential score of 300 based on the ranking methodology above, Pace University’s program scored 289.3 – pretty close to the top!

The online MS in IT has been offered at Pace University since 1999, making it one of the longest-standing online master’s programs worldwide. Many of the undergraduate and graduate courses at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems can be taken in person and online. Increasingly, Pace University has been moving to meet student demand by offering blended in person and online programs that suit the life and schedule of today’s working student.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Information Technology

See all technology degrees offered by Pace University

Building with Accessibility in Mind at Codeland 2019: a Seidenberg student’s story

Luisa Morales, a Computer Science graduate student, has a lengthy list of achievements from her academic career at the Seidenberg School of CSIS. The former Seidenberg student assistant, undergraduate economics student, and Engineering Fellow at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity curated a resume full of achievements that any student would be proud of.  This summer Luisa went above and beyond—she hosted a workshop at Codeland 2019 titled, Building with Accessibility in Mind.

Codeland, a conference created for new and growing developers, was held in New York City on July 22. Luisa joined a fantastic lineup of workshop mentors and speakers including Avi Flombaum, Co-founder and CIO of Flatiron School, and Jasmine Greenaway, Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. 

Luisa’s workshop called attendees to “come demystify web accessibility with me and get into the nitty-gritty of what it is, how you can test for accessibility on your own, and common best practices. We’ll build an accessible website in the process that you can boast about on GitHub. You’ll also gain practical experience you can utilize to make your current, and future, projects more accessible.”

She explains that her workshop took a very collaborative and hands-on approach with attendees working on demo sites. Everyone in attendance worked in pairs to learn a variety of skills: how to use a screen-reader and keyboard to test website accessibility as well as integrating common practices for improving the accessibility of their projects. 

Asked about specific techniques she teaches her students, Luisa says “this includes things like using semantic HTML, color contrast, font sizes, and ARIA, amongst other things.”

It’s a fair assessment to say that those who learned from Luisa’s workshop earned some crucial and exciting skills to utilize in the future. But where did the idea for the workshop come from?

“The inspiration behind the workshop is my belief in the importance of making the things we produce as developers accessible to as many people as possible and demystifying the idea that it’s too difficult to do or unnecessary,” she explains. “By making a website accessible, you make it better for everyone and increase your potential market share, so I’m not sure why some people think it’s not important. At the Mayor’s Office, it’s ingrained into the development process and a lot of what I’ve learned there is influencing this workshop. I hope that attendees [came] away feeling more comfortable building with accessibility in mind and that it informs their choices as developers, designers, [and] product managers going forward.”

Luisa would like to encourage students—whether they attended her workshop or not—to attend Codeland in the future. She explains that it’s a “very inclusive environment and it’s a great opportunity to meet other people on a similar career path and potentially even your future coworkers!”

Codeland offered an opportunity for Luisa to teach others what she’s passionate about. She had the chance to improve the skills of those in attendance and explains just what that felt like for her.

“I’m proud of how curious and empathetic the workshop attendees were. Building accessible experiences, and especially testing your work with a screen reader, can be overwhelming,” Luisa explained. “Everyone in the workshop was excited to learn how to improve the experiences they created for users online. They were also keen to experience the web as visually impaired users do” by using screen-readers or only keyboards.

While she is proud of her students, Luisa took the time to acknowledge the pride she takes in her own role at Codeland.

“I’m also really proud of myself for putting together the workshop and presenting it at the conference,” she states. “It was very scary to do, but definitely worth the effort and jitters. Would do it again!”

We’re very proud of Luisa here at Seidenberg as well. Students like her who go out of their way to assist other developers to improve their skills are fantastic examples of our community. 

To make things even better, Luisa made sure that her workshop is available online for free! Anyone can access the workshop on GitHub and go through it themselves. She also makes herself available on Twitter for anyone who has questions about her workshop or web accessibility.

Curious about web accessibility? Luisa included some helpful resources for students to check out to learn more. Take a look:

  1. “YES, your site can (and should) be accessible too. Lessons learned in building FT.com” – by Laura Carvajal (https://vimeo.com/215169705)
  2. Tech Done Right Podcast Ep: “Accessibility With Luisa Morales” (https://www.techdoneright.io/49)
  3. Web Fundamentals: Accessibility by Google (https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/accessibility)
  4. What & Why Of Usability by usability.gov (https://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/index.html)

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