Pace GenCyber brings cybersecurity to high school classrooms for the third year

Pace University’s GenCyber teacher workshop has completed its third year! The NSA and NSF-funded program, organized and run by the Seidenberg School, took place from July 13-21 and involved a wonderful cohort of high school teachers from across the nation attending lectures, discussions, lab exercises and activities pertaining to topics in cybersecurity.

Twenty-three high school teachers attended the Pace University Pleasantville campus to learn fundamental cybersecurity concepts and to study new resources and methods to facilitate integration of cybersecurity material into their class curricula or after-school activities.

Workshop participants were introduced to cybersecurity first principles, cryptography, web security, access control, biometrics, and cybersecurity analytics. The curriculum, designed and delivered by Seidenberg faculty and staff, was based on a combination of interpersonal, intrapersonal and kinesthetic learning activities that aimed to ensure participants got the most from their time at Pace University.

The GenCyber program is part of Seidenberg’s outreach efforts to infuse STEM and cybersecurity education into high school classrooms. As a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, Pace strives to prepare the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for the challenges of the future. Through programs like GenCyber, Pace University supports teachers across the country in teaching the fundamentals to their students.

GenCyber participant Ron Conwell, who teaches Career and Technical Education at Clarkson Community School is Clarkston, MI, said: “Of the professional development experiences I have been to, this rises to the top just based on the amount of student engagement experiences that we were able to participate and engage in. We got to actually use [Raspberry] Pis, actually do the labs, and engage in the experiences ourselves rather than have to focus on just taking notes while other people talked.”

Ed McGinnis, who teaches Computer Science at St. George’s School in Newport, RI, agreed. “There were lots of resources and lots of info received. We were given links and tangible things to take home to use immediately in the classroom.”

Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation and program director said that “through Pace GenCyber we aim to educate high school teachers about cybersecurity. Curricula taught in high schools is particularly well suited for integration of cybersecurity, since cybersecurity problems can often be reduced to the fundamentals of mathematics and computer science.

“Through the Pace GenCyber curriculum, we not only teach cybersecurity, but we also showcase the connections between cybersecurity topics and the participants’ teaching disciplines, as well as provide the tools needed to infuse the material into the classroom. Pace GenCyber is more than just a summer workshop, it is a community of faculty, students, teachers, alumni, government and corporate leaders who contribute to shaping the future of cybersecurity.”

GenCyber is made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. The 2017 Pace University GenCyber program was designed and administered by Andreea Cotoranu (Program Director) and Dr. Li-Chiou Chen (Lead Instructor), with teaching support from Seidenberg School faculty Dr. Charles Tappert, Dr. Yegin Genc, and computer science high school teacher Jigar Jadav (Mamaroneck High School). Credit is also due to Barbara Woodworth and Jill Olimpieri, as well as Seidenberg students Tianyu Wang, Elizabeth Molloy, Kaitlyn Bestenheider, Steven Porras and Tristan Still. ​

Unveiling the Seidenberg School’s first ever cyberdefense course with the ACCA

Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, supported by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), will train finance professionals in cybersecurity and cyber defense in August this year.

The course – Foundations of Cyber Defense for Accounting – was announced after Pace University’s recent designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE). It will take place on Pace’s Lower Manhattan campus and is taught by Dr. James Gabberty, a seasoned Information and Communication Technology practitioner with more than 30 years’ experience in academia and industry.

Pace University worked to build the course’s contents in order to address the increasing cybersecurity crisis that affects every country. A 2016 ACCA report deemed cybercrime too dangerous and powerful to ignore; the Seidenberg School has for many years now trained new cybersecurity professionals to combat the growing threat.

The course will take place on August 4. Interested in attending? Register!

Read the full press release about Pace University’s new cyber defense for accounting course.

Pace Cyber Team racks up points in the 2017 National Cyber League

By Kaitlyn Bestenheider

Throughout the entire month of April 2017, the Pace University Cyber Team competed in the National Cyber League’s first ever spring season competition. The National Cyber League (NCL) started in May 2011 as a platform to “provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments.”

The Pace Cyber Team definitely validated their knowledge! In this capture-the-flag style offensive and defensive security competition, each participant had to show proficiency and excellence in all nine of the following categories:

  • Cryptography
  • Enumeration and Exploitation
  • Log Analysis
  • Network Traffic Analysis
  • Open Source Intelligence
  • Password Cracking
  • Scanning
  • Web Application Exploitation
  • Wireless Access Exploitation
Pace Cyber Team: progress as they battled in the final hours of the post-season team competition

Most team members placed individually in either the silver or the coveted gold brackets of the competition going up against the best of the best nationwide. Of the over 2000 competitors only the top 15% will compete in the gold bracket, while the following 35% will make it to silver. This season, 1,891 students/players and 269 faculty/ coaches from 291 two- and four-year schools in 43 U.S. states registered to play in the Preseason/Regular Season.

The Pace Cyber Team also went on to compete in the Silver Bracket of the post-season team competition where they ranked 11th overall in their bracket and placed 27th nationally out of 152 teams from over 108 college/universities in 35 states. The team scored 2,635 points and captured 121 of the challenge flags. For comparison purposes, the national average for this competition was only 1,655 points and just 83 flags.

Pace Cyber Team: 2017 NCL Post Season Extravaganza in Goldstein 321

Even more remarkable, the Pace Cyber Team ranked 1st in their bracket and 4th overall in Wireless Access Exploitation. In addition, the team placed 6th in the silver bracket and 14th overall in Network Traffic Analysis, and 8th in their bracket and 16th overall in Cryptography. Moreover, the team ranked among the top 25 teams in the silver bracket for every challenge category.

Team Captain Kaitlyn Bestenheider said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better team to compete with. We were all strong competitors and had a wide variety of skills. Everyone communicated fantastically, which made it easy for me to share information and delegate tasks to the person whose skills were best suited to the challenge at hand. Our team’s real strength was in its variety of experience and expertise levels. I look forwarded to training and competing again next semester.”

The team competing in the 2017 NCL post-season included:

Kaitlyn Bestenheider (MS/CS ’18), Adriana Aluia (BS/IT ’17), Cesar Castro (BS/IT ’18), Michael Gabriel (BS/IT ’19), Andrew Ku (BS/IS ’20), Norissa Lamaute (MS/CS’17), Benjamin Longobardi (BS/CS’19), and Gabriel Rivera (BS/IT’17).

Congratulations to all for a great performance this season!

The Pace Cyber Team would like to welcome anyone with an interest in cybersecurity to train and compete with us in the 2017 fall season. Contact Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation (acotoranu@pace.edu) with questions.

Some of the Pace Cyber Team (January 2017) – back row L to R: Adriana Aluia, Michael Tantalos, Benjamin Longobardi, Andrew Ku, Gabriel Rivera, Mark Rolon, John Guckian; front row: Norissa Lamaute

Want to read more? Check out Kaitlyn Bestenheider’s blog, Kait Tech, for further coverage of the event.

Thanks so much to team captain Kaitlyn for writing this student blog post!

PhD student Sandra Kopecky to present cybersecurity paper at London Computing Conference

PhD student Sandra Kopecky will be presenting her paper “Cyber Security Paradox from a User’s View Point” at Computing Conference in London this summer.

The conference, sponsored by IEEE, will see Sandra presenting her work to an international audience of peers. The publication of the paper will fulfil one of the dissertation requirements and put Sandra one step closer to earning her Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science.

“I was ecstatic to receive acceptance notice,” Sandra said. “This is an SAI-IEEE conference, and I’m going to be presenting my paper along with others in a session at this conference. Wow!! I haven’t done that before.”

Given that Sandra was the sole author of the paper, having it accepted for publication and presentation at the conference is a big deal.

“I’ve been on various panels discussing cyber security, women in the engineering/computer field, my view point as a college student – at various levels, and my background. But never to present my work,” Sandra said.

So why did Sandra choose a unique topic like cybersecurity from a user’s point of view?

“There is much written and researched, however the point of view is almost always from a company’s point of view and the user just has to accept it, no questions asked,” Sandra explained. “Cybersecurity affects everyone in every field across the board. I decided to look at this from a different point of view: that of the user. This paper is the beginnings of that broader topic.”

Sounds like a great paper – the idea of ‘user first’ is no stranger to user experience and human-computer interaction, and it’s certainly interesting to hear about one of our students considering the user’s viewpoint when it comes to cybersecurity, too. Enjoy the conference, Sandra, and we can’t wait to hear about it when you get back!

Seidenberg students snatch first and second spot at Pace Pitch Contest

Another year, another incredible performance at the annual Pace Pitch Contest from Seidenberg students. We couldn’t be more proud of Rachel González, Andrew Ku, and Rohana Sosa for taking the top two spots in the contest.

The competition, now in its thirteenth year, challenges students to pitch their ideas with constraints based on the famous Elevator Pitch, the technique of giving a concise and compelling pitch in a very short period of time.

Finalists in the competition had three minutes to give their pitches, which they did on Thursday, April 20, 2017, in the Bianco Room at Pace University. During their presentations, they were judged on their ability to provide: a description of their idea; a market analysis; the specs of their product or service; identification of potential competitors; a marketing strategy; how they aim to produce and deliver their product or service; an assessment of their management; a finances overview; and an investment proposal.

Plenty of Seidenberg students and teams made it to the final round – here are the teams including some of our amazing entrepreneurs!

George Samuels and Arton Mirakaj presenting Atmosphere.

Arton Mirakaj (BA in Computer Science) and George Samuels (BS in Computer Science) presented Atmosphere, a VR mobile application that will be used to improve the health and care of aging populations – the same app that went on to win at the #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl!

First place winners Rachel Gonzáles and Danielle Ran pitching Minute Mantra.

Minute Mantra is a health and wellness app that enables mindfulness and clarity, and was developed by Rachel González (BS in Information Systems) alongside Danielle Ran (BBA in Marketing with minor in Psychology).

Thanh Do, Phuc Pham, and Syman Li present charity app TouchDonation.

TouchDonation makes giving to charity simple and was created by Phuc Pham (BS in Information Technology with a minor in Quantitative Business Analysis), Syman Li (BBA in Hospitality) and Thanh Do (BBA in Finance).

Second place winners Andrew Ku and Rohana Sosa with their idea VAICAM Pi.

Seidenberg students Andrew Ku (BS in Information Systems) and Rohana Sosa (BS in Computer Science with minor in Computing Information Technology) created VAICAM Pi. VAICAM Pi is bundled as an Android mobile app, a Google Cardboard virtual reality (VR) headset, and a Raspberry Pi 3, equipped with a 360 camera and artificial intelligence to function as an older person’s own artificially intelligent security camera.

Ricky Harris, Mackenzie Dolishny, and Daniel Citardi pitching VR Discover, an app aimed to improve the lives of aging populations.

Finally, VR Discover – an app built for both Android and iOS, utilizes virtual reality to stimulate cognitive function, provide entertainment, and relieve restlessness stemming from sundowning for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia – was built by computer science students Ricky Harris, Daniel Citardi, and Mackenzie Dolishny. This innovative app also made an appearance at the #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development bowl, where the team won a prize.

When it was time for the judges to make their decisions, students from Seidenberg snatched up first and second place!

Rachel González and Lubin student Danielle Ran took first place, bagging $1,000 to use toward developing their mindfulness app, Minute Mantra.

Andrew Ku and Rohana Sosa won the second prize of $500 for their artificial intelligence security app, VAICAM Pi.

Rohana and Andrew receive their award with the contest judges

Speaking about her experience, Rohana Sosa remarked that she and Andrew “both had a great experience and a lot of fun being participants in the Pitch Contest. This gave us the opportunity to showcase our talents and apply our programming skills to a business setting. Having this experience is a stepping stone to further our learning process and achieve our educational goals. The contest provided an enriching and stimulating experience to test our ideas and see how impactful the our mobile app concept is.”

There were certainly a wealth of impactful apps and ideas presented at the contest. You can see all of the finalists at the Entrepreneurship Lab website.

Third annual #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl aims to improve lives of aging populations

Once again, the #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl enabled hundreds of talented young high school and college students showcase their STEM skills in a competition to build apps to improve the lives of older people.

In partnership with Westchester County, this year’s iteration of the competition was its biggest yet, with over 440 students from 18 high schools and three universities taking part.

The mobile app bowl takes place over three monthly sessions, the first two consisting of intense training where students learn how to build mobile applications catered to aging populations. On the third day, which took place on Friday, April 28, at Pace University’s Pleasantville Campus, teams presented their apps and the winners were decided.

County Executive Robert P. Astorino presented the awards to the winners in a variety of categories, including awards for creativity, usability, and functionality. Winners of the YouTube Social Challenge earned trips to Google and YouTube studios in New York City, and prizes were also given for high school coach of the year and college coach of the year – the latter being won by our very own Jean Coppola.

On top of the category awards, the #WestchesterSmart award, a grand prize of $1,000 cash and swag from Panasonic was up for grabs.

“The #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl sends a strong statement to our students, as well as our communities and businesses, that Westchester is a place where smart things are happening,” said County Executive Rob Astorino.

The grand prize was snatched up by KanjiStick, the team from the New School’s Parsons School of Design, who created an app aimed to assist older people overcome issues typically experienced when interacting with technology. The team focused on creating an app that assisted with hearing, vision, and dexterity problems, allowing users to enjoy a smoother experience.

Teams from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems also took prizes in the event:

Dean Jonathan Hill with Daniel Citardi and Ricky Harris (Run DMR), and Rob Astorino

Teams Run DMR and Programmers Box took second and third prize in the Mobile App Creativity category respectively.

Team QWERTY accepts their prize for mobile app usability

Team QWERTY won second place in the Mobile App Usability category.

Programmers Box won third place for mobile app functionality

In the Mobile App Functionality category, teams Bice and Programmers Box achieved second and third place respectively.

Downtown Developers won functionality and YouTube Social Challenge awards

Tours of Google and YouTube were won by Downtown Developers, and Vida is Real.

Rob Astorino with team Vida is Real, Arton Mirakaj and George Samuels, and Dean Jonathan Hill

“Once again, we are blown away by the talent of the students who participate in the Westchester Smart Mobile App Development Bowl,” said Jonathan Hill, dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace. “Their work will improve the quality of life for older citizens throughout the area, helping them do everyday tasks and manage their lives better. This event grows every year and we hope to see even more student app developers next year.”

The full list of winners can be found at our #WestchesterSmart Mobile App site.

We would like to extend many thanks to our 2017 Partners and Sponsors, including Robert P. Astorino, Westchester County Executive; Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University; The Westchester County Office of Economic Development; Saberpoint; conEdison; Acordia Therapeutics; XL Catlin; The Bristal: Assisted Living; New York-Presbyterian; Virginia LeTourneau; Ursuline Foley; Liberty Lines Transit, Inc.; Sal’s Pizza and Pasta; and Nancy Goodman.

Read about last year’s mobile app development bowl.