Swimming and computer science don’t have much in common, but when a Seidenberg student wins an award for academic and athletic success, they intersect quite well. Jana Ciric is a junior Computer Science major and Division II Swim Team member on the Westchester campus. She just earned the Northeast-10 Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Sport Excellence Award for the second year in a row.
The third-year student explains that she started swimming when she was in the third grade; “when I was a little kid, my parents would take me to Greece every year and all I wanted to do was play in the water. They helped me make the right choice and choose swimming when I was ready to take on a sport.”
Growing up, Jana was on Serbia’s National Swimming Team for four years. During that time, she participated in European regional meets, like the Balkan Junior Championship, where she won the silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle. She was also the captain of the “Sveti Nikola” swimming club in Serbia for six years, helping to coach and organize a team of ten swimmers for practices and swim meets.
She notes that her time swimming for Pace has been excellent, but it definitely differs from her experience in Europe: “at Pace, we have dual meets every week, but very little championship meets (one or two per year), whereas in Europe we have championships more often but have no dual meets.”
The amount of time she spends with the Pace Swimming and Diving team has allowed her to form close friendships that she considers the most important part of her experience.
“I consider my team to be the closest thing I have to home since I am really far from home,” she explains.
Even with the homesickness that she endures, Jana found time to rack up quite a list of accomplishments. She holds six (out of over 20) of Pace University’s swimming records, earned Dean’s List First Honors for Fall 2018, completed a spring internship as a Junior Programmer/Analyst at Central National Gottesman, and lined up an exciting internship at AQR Capital Management for this summer. She also did all of this while working as a Tutor the Pleasantville Tutoring Center and a Student Assistant for the Athletic Department! Maintaining those records, grades, and workload is not easy.
“I have always had a really good work ethic and determination. Once I set my mind on something, I work really hard until I get it,” Jana notes. “I have unconditional support from my family which has been pushing me to do better every day. Even though they are almost 5,000 miles away they are always with me, helping me to achieve my dreams.”
How does it feel to earn her second straight NE10 Swimming and Diving Sport Excellence Award? Jana says that it “feels amazing,” and rightfully so.
“I am really proud to have won that award again since I put a lot of emphasis on my education. I am a student first and an athlete second. I wouldn’t have even come to the U.S. if it weren’t for my passion for academics and education (as well as swimming). This is why I think this award is so important to me – it really celebrates why all of us are here at college: to get a better education.”
Jana’s success is a success for all of Seidenberg. Her hard work showcases just how possible it is to obtain friendship, accomplishments, and a degree while being a student-athlete, intern, and employee. We’re proud to show off all that Jana does within the Pace community!
Jana would like to note that she really appreciates that Dean Hill and Andreea attend her swim meets and cheer her on. You can always check the swim team schedule to see when Jana will be competing. We’re sure that she’d love to have a crowd there cheering her on.
The 2019 edition of the Annual Celebration of Individuals with Disabilities in Film took place at Pace University on Thursday, April 5, 2019. This was the seventh year the festival has taken place, and it proved to be an evening no less compelling than in previous years.
“[The] festival is important as a forum in learning about a marginalized population of society . . . that desires recognition and respect like those without disabilities,” said Dr. James Lawler, Seidenberg professor and the chair and organizer of the event.
Dr. Lawler explained that visibility is unfortunately still a big issue for people with disabilities: “Most students in the school and in the university do not know of the issues of those with disabilities in society and their struggles to be like those without disabilities. Those with disabilities, developmental or non-developmental, are a ‘hidden’ minority in society.”
The event opened with a cocktail hour as guests arrived, and before long the Bianco Room (one of Pace University’s largest event spaces) was completely filled with almost 200 guests. Seidenberg alumna, Tabitha Haly, was back to perform original songs before the keynote presentation by the Honorable Angelo Santabarbara with his son Michael.
Dean for Students Marijo Russel O’Grady then gave her remarks and introduced the distinguished expert panelists: Victor Calise, Allan B. Goldstein, Tabithy Haly, Maria Hodermarska, Betsy Lynam, and the Honorable Angelo Santabarbara. After each film, the panel would discuss what they had seen, each person providing their own unique insights.
It was time for the movie marathon. During the event, the films that were screened where:
JMAXX AND THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE by Ryan Mayers
KILL OFF by Genevieve Clay-Smith
SOPHIE from Pace University – College of Health Professions
FIGHTER by Bugsy Steel
ARETHA from New York University – Tandon School of Engineering
SURREALITY by Meg Vatterott, Huong Troung, Marta Payne, and Olivia Liu
BEING SEEN by Paul Zehrer
“The genesis of the 7th Annual Celebration of People With Disabilities in Film goes back more than seven years. It has its roots in Pace University’s commitment to Service Learning; it takes its inspired use of technology from its home in the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems,” said Dr. Jonathan Hill, Dean of the Seidenberg School at Pace University. “Most importantly, it gets its passion from the work of Dr. Jim Lawler of the Seidenberg School and his partners at AHRC, as well as the many non-profits that help to meet the needs of the disabled in our community by helping them to meet their challenges and celebrate their triumphs.”
Many of these films and more are available online at Sproutflix, and if you missed the event this year don’t worry – the 8th Annual Celebration will be taking place in 2020 at Pace University once more.
Rebecca D’Agostino, a Graduate Assistant and student graduating in May with a Masters of Science degree in Computer Science, is a very accomplished student of the Seidenberg School. In early March, she traveled to California to attend the TensorFlow Dev Summit, a top machine learning conference.
Rebecca was able to attend the 3rd year of this annual summit thanks to a travel grant paid by Google’s Women Techmakers program. The event focused on the release of TensorFlow 2.0, the newest form of the machine learning library created by Google.
According to Rebecca, the two-day summit program consisted of “a lot of talks, programming on the fly, demos, and just meeting the community. Sitting and programming together with the TensorFlow team was pretty cool.”
Rebecca said that one of the best parts of the conference were the gifts attendees received: “we got a really cool gift box that included, among other things, an Edge TPU and a new microcontroller board.”
The gifts will allow Rebecca to extend her knowledge of TensorFlow and Machine Learning in general. While the gifts were a bonus, Rebecca gained a great deal of educational experience at the summit, and she noted that the two days she spent there was a great time.
“I think the whole thing was amazing,” she explained. “Just meeting the team and the community that uses TensorFlow overall, and learning new things I wouldn’t know that were out there [was amazing].”
Rebecca’s time at the summit gave her a chance to further her education and network with other technologists. Seidenberg students have some wonderful opportunities for education both in and out of the classroom. Scholarships are a great way to attend conferences, summits, and much more that lie beyond the classroom. You can check out more scholarships from our previous blog post to find opportunities for yourself!
It’s likely that you’ve seen the faces of the student staffers who work the Seidenberg School of CSIS front desk if you’ve ever traveled up the hill to the Goldstein Academic Center. The building on the Westchester campus is a center of hardworking, tech-savvy individuals. All of the student staffers—who assist the Seidenberg School while also completing their studies and extracurricular activities—are the helping hands that make everything run smoothly. Today we’re putting names and stories to the faces of the front desk staff!
“WiCyS is the only non-profit membership organization with a national reach that is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring,” Jeana explains.
When she isn’t working on one of her many clubs, she’s working on her computer science career.
“My main goal with everything I do, that I hope I can integrate into whatever career I end up in, is to be able to help as many people as I can,” Jeana explains about her future career goal.
She will be working on that goal soon since she’ll be entering the cybersecurity field upon graduation!
Kaitlyn Houlihan, a Political Science major with a minor in Pre-Law, is a junior looking forward to graduating in December 2019. While she finished high school in Poughquag, New York, she’s originally from Massachusetts. Kaitlyn is also the Head Delegate for Pleasantville’s Model United Nations (Model UN) team and Secretary of the Political Science Association.
She may be the only non-Seidenberg student assistant, but Kaitlyn states that “future lawyers need to know about tech, too!”
When the future lawyer is not doing needlepoint or watching the Food Network, she’s working with her Model UN team which recently went to Washington, D.C. and won the Distinguished Delegation award. That award won them a feature in the Westchester Business Journal.
Kaitlyn has been working at Seidenberg since late 2016 and notes that she has stayed on the staff thanks to the positive office environment: “I love the office culture! Everyone is so supportive, kind, and funny. I’m always happy to come into work every day.”
As for her future, Kaitlyn is going for a career straight out of a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode: “I hope to eventually become a judge for Special Victims cases. I just took my LSAT and in the meantime, I work in the shelter for Safe Homes of Orange County on weekends.”
Lindsey Gill is a Bronx resident and Computer Science major, as well as being a Front Desk Student Assistant at the Seidenberg School. The freshman student was a photojournalist for the Pleasantville campus newspaper, The Pace Chronicle, during the fall semester. Now she’s looking out for new clubs to join.
“In the future, I would love to join a campus club, since there are so many interesting ones to choose from,” she states.
As for why she chose to work at Seidenberg, Lindsey explains that she knew that it would end up being a great opportunity.
“It was a goal of mine to have an on-campus job and when I was offered this job I knew how beneficial it would be,” Lindsey explains. “Getting to know the staff and faculty and making connections is a great experience and I am grateful to have joined this fantastic community.”
Last but not least is Pleasantville front desk staff member, Laina Posner. The North Jersey native is a junior Computer Science major. She’s a part of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, Seidenberg Tech Collective, a Peer Leader for UNV 101 classes, Seidenberg Ambassador for the Student Government Association, and part of the Design Factory PDP course.
When she’s not busy being a leader or sister for her sorority, she’s applying to attend prestigious conferences. Laina explains that she won a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Conference—a huge accomplishment.
The scholar chose to work at Seidenberg in order “to be closer to the faculty and staff.”
As a Junior, she will be entering the workforce soon, and she has a great goal in mind. She aspires “to work for a company that will allow for [her] to make a difference upon the community.”
Our front desk staff on the Westchester campus are leaders, innovators, and goal-driven scholars. We’re proud to have them in the Seidenberg community.
On April 24, 2019, the Seidenberg Innovation Awards took place at Pace University’s New York City campus. The event was a celebration of innovation in the tech community and a chance for friends and supporters of the School to get together and share the Seidenberg love.
The evening consisted of a cocktail reception where guests mingled over drinks and appetizers, followed by the awards presentations in Pace University’s beautiful Schimmel Theater. After the awards, dessert and coffee was served in the lobby while guests discussed the event.
Alumni of recent years and some from a little further back turned out in force – the reception lounge was packed and it was fantastic seeing so many familiar faces returning to Pace University to support their alma mater. Many of these students also benefited from scholarships and support provided by our community and took the opportunity to pay it forward to the next generation.
Plenty of Seidenberg School faculty and staff were also present, and Pace President Marvin Krislov and Provost Vanya Quiñones made the most of some excellent photo ops with current and past students.
Special guest Peter Fleischut gave a few remarks, saying that “the role that Pace University is playing in training the workforce of the future is critical.”
After an hour and a half of socializing and catching up (we had to start early – guests couldn’t wait to come in!), it was time for the main event, the awards portion! This was the first year the Seidenberg School had tried out this format: previously known as the Leadership and Service in Technology (LST) Awards, former iterations of the event honored a single individual for their contributions to the field. This time, in homage to the Seidenberg School’s 35th anniversary, we updated the event title and went a tad more Hollywood with our delivery. We had three honorees this time, all of whom have had significant impact and who we couldn’t wait to recognize, and we also had the glamor of the Schimmel Theater, which lent itself perfectly to the nature of the event.
Dean Jonathan Hill took to the stage first to give his welcoming remarks and kick off the evening. He introduced President Krislov, who spoke about his experiences with the Seidenberg School.
“One of the things that I’ve always noticed when I walk the halls of Seidenberg is that there’s just this sense of support and care . . . and that’s before I even get to the hugging point!” President Krislov remarked, referring to the stickers placed around Seidenberg that reflect our Design Factory way of thinking. “It’s just really extraordinary and I can’t imagine there are too many schools like that,” he said, adding to Dean Hill, “We owe a lot to you and your leadership.”
Following President Krislov, Dean Hill returned to the stage to talk about what was special about the Seidenberg School. “We are unique because we are high tech and high touch,” he said. “Our students learn from their faculty and from each other in small classes of 24 rather than massive lectures of 200 . . . we are special because we teach technology as a team sport and as a global enterprise: as a student here, your lab partner is as likely to be in Sao Paulo or Helsinki or Singapore as to be in the seat next to you. However, that person in the seat next to you will be your friend and resource for life.”
He continued: “Our students have been called smart, ambitious, scrappy, entrepreneurial and highly motivated to succeed. They come from every economic, racial and geographic background and they are 29 per cent female – and growing. Some of them come from prep school backgrounds some from the most underserved of public high schools, but all of them are here to fulfil their potential. They are the technology work force of 2025, the management layer of 2030 and the founders and C-level executives of 2040.”
Dean Hill then introduced one such student, Allan Krasner, a junior computer science student who became the President of Pace Computing Society in his freshman year and who now runs Seidenberg Creative Labs as Product Manager.
“Coming from a robotics background, I knew that I had an interest in computer science,” Allan told the audience. “So when it came time to search for colleges, it was a fairly simple choice. Pace was one of the few universities in the nation to have a whole school dedicated to computer science.”
Allan went on to recount his remarkable experience as a Seidenberg student, detailing what made it all possible: “I’m here at Pace because of donors like you . . . your support has empowered me to achieve the goals I set for myself when I came to Pace, and I can confidently say that this is an education that I would not be able to get at any other school.”
He concluded: “I’m just one of the many students here at Pace, each of whom is accomplishing something special and changing the world in their own way. My story nor that of my friends and colleagues . . . would not be possible without help from the amazing Pace staff, Pace faculty, and most importantly supporters and alumni like yourselves.”
It was time for the awards.
First up was Lesley Ma, the Global Chief Information Officer at Cadillac, who was presented with the Innovative Leadership award. This wasn’t Lesley’s first time at Seidenberg – she was one of our esteemed speakers at our Tech Leadership Series where she shared tips and advice with our students. On this evening, Lesley brought with her one of Cadillac’s virtual reality experiences, which was set up right outside the SIA reception space! Guests got to explore Cadillac vehicles in the virtual space and take them for a test drive (so to speak).
Thank you Lesley and Cadillac for all you have done for the Seidenberg School!
The second award was for Innovation in Fintech, and our honoree was Hank Hyatt, the Co-Chief Information Officer MS&Co. Global Head Fixed Income & Equity Electronic Trading IT at Morgan Stanley. As a Pace alum, Hank was already connected to what makes this University so special, and it was wonderful to have him back on campus to meet with the smart and ambitious students that his leadership has an impact on. Hank also coordinated additional sponsorship from consulting company MThree, which was fantastic. Thank you Hank!
Finally, we were delighted to honor NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital with the Innovation in Healthcare IT award. CIO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Daniel Barchi, was there to accept the award and share some of the exciting things that are taking place at one of the most innovative healthcare providers in the world. Like Lesley, this was not Daniel’s first time talking tech with the Seidenberg School: he was also on campus for the Tech Leadership Series and we also recently published an interview with him regarding NewYork-Presbyterian’s mission to revolutionize the healthcare IT industry.
Fran Berman visited the Seidenberg Lounge in NYC on April 9th to discuss self-driving cars, data stewardship, and her latest projects on the social and environmental impacts of IoT. She spent time with the student-led Pace Women in Tech club, then sat in conversation with Professor Cathy Dwyer.
Fran Berman is an Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University, and a Fellow of the Harvard Data Science Initiative.
Fran discussed her latest project which focuses on the social and environmental impacts of IoT. Her focus is on maximizing the benefits of IoT while minimizing risks. The most talked about point was the ethical structure of IoT.
Fran also took the time to explain data stewardship: “[data stewardship] is about creating a home for data that both takes care of it now and takes care of it in the future.”
The distinguished professor’s latest passion is IoT’s potential inflience on cyber/physical-biological systems. She explained that the intersection of the subjects, with the addition of artificial intelligence, is “both an amazing thing and a scary thing.”
Fran illustrated her point using self-driving cars and the ethical thought process behind them. She made the point that a self-driving car has to make the same decisions humans must make while driving, including what to do in instances of an imminent collision.
“Each one of us has an ethical framework,” she said, suggesting that one day perhaps self-driving cars (as an example) would be programmed to make decisions based on the individual’s moral configuration rather than a standardization. IoT could make this possible.
Fran also identified some of the largest issues that graduates will encounter in their careers: industries are not turning to technologists to be leaders, and women are challenged when finding their place in the technology industry. But if Fran can do it, so can any female computer scientist—she’s a living example of female leadership in the technology industry.
As for what the future of technology looks like, “hopefully this is what it looks like,” Fran stated, indicating the many female students in the audience.
One piece of advice Fran offered was the importance of getting involved. It’s a huge learning opportunity—one that students can truly benefit from.
“If you have clubs here, become an officer of the club,” Fran advised. Becoming a club officer is a notable accomplishment. If you’re excited about something, then you should get involved with it.
“Waking up every day and feeling really excited about what you do . . . that’s another super important thing,” Fran added.
One of the most significant things Fran spoke about was the concept of failure as a good thing. Failure, Fran suggested, is just a part of the process of life. If you mess up, then that’s how you end up figuring out how to do it better the next time. Failure is expected and should be celebrated!
As an example, Fran spoke about her first job. “When I first got there, I had no idea how to do all the stuff I was supposed to do.”
“If you don’t keep at it, you’re never going to figure it out.”
The biggest piece of advice that Fran focused on was a single word: resilience. She outlined the ways that resilience makes a great leader.
“At the end of the day, don’t give up. Find your own heart and passion in it, find a network of people who can go through it with you and support you, be strategic, and be resilient,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but if it’s important to you it’s always worthwhile.”
As for Fran’s time at Seidenberg, she only had good words: “I had a blast. I think everyone here is wonderful.”
We were so lucky to have Fran at the Seidenberg Lounge for this intriguing and empowering discussion. We would like to thank Fran for taking the time to visit our campus for the WiT event.
Keep updated on the Seidenberg socials and follow WiT to hear about future events!