Seidenberg student Tejas Chavan wins one of only two UXPA International scholarships

Dear Tejas,

On behalf of the UXPA International Board and the 2017 Student Scholarship Committee, we would like to congratulate you on winning the 2017 UXPA Student Scholarship Award.

Your entry was selected as it stood out to the judging panel for its content and originality. You will be joining us in Toronto next month for the UXPA 2017 International Conference!

That was the email Tejas Chavan (MS in Information Systems) received informing him about the scholarship he’d just won to the UXPA 2017 International Conference. This wouldn’t be the first time Tejas has travelled to another country for a conference – in fact, the last time was less than a year ago – but it’s certainly going to be an event he will attend with career goals in mind.

“Since I will be graduating soon, and I will be looking for a full-time opportunity (obviously in UX), I have been attending lots of meetups, and conferences where I can showcase myself and make some good connections as well,” Tejas said. “With that context, I was recently shortlisted by UXDC committee for their UXDC2017 annual summit on April 14th to present my poster and to represent the Seidenberg School and Pace University as a student delegate.”

Tejas has spent his final semester working with Professor Stacey Sarris on an independent study project regarding research methods in human-computer interaction (HCI). It was while working on this project that Tejas met the president of UXPA DC, Ali Tobolsky. Tejas had been reaching out to UX industry experts to survey them for an assignment; Ali was one of them.

“Now the real story starts,” Tejas explained. “I connected her on LinkedIn and sent her my survey link asking if she can forward it to any relevant contacts. She sent me a number of links to groups where I could try my luck. So, I was submitting my survey in each group and I stumbled upon this post saying ‘UXPA International 2017 Student Scholarship.’ I thought since it came it to me from nowhere, I should give it a try. I submitted my application which consisted of a few questions and a letter of recommendation, which I got from Prof. Sarris. I had a very strict deadline to submit it within two days since I got to know about it pretty late.”

Tejas Chavan with Professor Stacey Sarris after getting the good news that Tejas was awarded the scholarship
Tejas Chavan with Professor Stacey Sarris

The submission went through in time, and Tejas received an email from Sara Mastro, the UXPA International Vice President, and Jack Holmes, the UXPA Student Scholarship Award Chair, telling him that he was a scholarship recipient.

“I cannot really believe that I am one of the two winning students from the world. I am feeling ecstatic for getting selected for this award and I would like to thank Prof. Stacey and all my other friends for being a solid support throughout this journey.”

The conference is taking place in Toronto this year, and Tejas will receive flights and transportation, four nights at a hotel, registration to the conference and a year’s membership to UXPA International.

Professor Stacey Sarris, who is an expert in user experience and user interface design, said: “I’m very proud of Tejas; he has thrown himself into User Centered Design, created opportunities for himself, and has taken advantage of everything that comes his way.” Stacey

“I’ve already started packing my bags!” Tejas added.

But wait! There’s more!

Not long after Tejas’ great news, the kind folks at Seidenberg decided they didn’t want him to be lonely, so we are sending his teammates with him to attend the conference and represent their project and the Seidenberg School in Toronto!

Now, Abhishek Kale (MS in Information Systems), Nayana Madhekar (MS in Information Systems), and Honglin Yi (MS in Computer Science) will also get to attend and participate in this exciting conference.

The UX gang is excited to be going to Toronto!
From left to right, Professor Stacey Sarris and her students Nayana Madhekar, Honglin Yi, Abhishek Kale, and Tejas Chavan

Congratulations to all four of these incredible students and to Professor Sarris! We can’t wait to hear how the conference goes!

The 15th Annual Michael L. Gargano Faculty-Student Research Day

On May 5, 2017, members of the Pace community gathered for the 15th Michael L. Gargano Faculty-Student research day. This year’s conference was dedicated to the work of Frank Rosenblatt, an American psychologist notable in the field of artificial intelligence for the invention of perceptrons, a class of neural networks.

Rosenblatt is also considered the ‘father of Deep Learning,’ as his development of perceptrons has evolved into deep learning networks.

Dean Jonathan Hill makes his opening remarks at the Michael L Gargano Faculty Student Research DayThe Dean of the Seidenberg School, Dr. Jonathan Hill, kicked off the event. “I am delighted to see so many people here today,” he said. “This research day is a brilliant reflection of the doctoral work going on here, the master level research that is taking place, and the undergraduate research that is a hallmark of this School, and indeed the University.”

Dr. Hill spoke about the history of the day, including the decision to name it after Michael Gargano, who he described as “one of the forces of life.”

“He recruited many people [to our DPS program] and served as advisor to them. I think a lot of us have worked overtime to make up for Michael’s loss and to bring the energy that he had.

“The only way we can do that . . . is to be learned, to read widely, and to speak to each other about our work, and create an environment where people can come together and share their work.”

Dr. Hill then introduced Dr. Charles Tappert, who manages the DPS program and organized the day.

Dr. Tappert gave a presentation about Frank Rosenblatt, who had been his dissertation advisor, and deep learning. “Deep learning is now causing a revolution in artificial intelligence,” he said. He argued for Rosenblatt receiving the title of ‘father of deep learning’ – as there are quite a few people up for the name – and spoke about his significant contributions to the field.

Afterwards, the conference began in earnest! It was an extremely packed day, with many students and faculty presenting their papers on myriad topics. The day was split into four paper sessions: the first was about data analytics and the internet of things, the second was about mobile applications and miscellaneous information technology, the third, machine learning, and the final section focused on biometrics, security, optimizations, and knowledge representation. Each section included between nine and twelve papers, making for a busy day of learning.

Student Steven Porras with his research project PowerShell Forensics
Student Steven Porras with his research project PowerShell Forensics

The list of presentations is too long to include here, but you can check it out on Charles Tappert’s university page. Slideshows and papers are all available on the website, so be sure to check them out!

A hearty congratulations to all who presented this year – we look forward to seeing you again in 2018!

Read about last year’s record-breaking research day.

Student Carlo Clarke presented his research on Vulnerabilities within Wireless Protocols
Student Carlo Clarke presented his research on Vulnerabilities within Wireless Protocols

Seidenberg rocks the 2017 Women in Cybersecurity conference

A team of Seidenberg students and faculty jetted to Tucson, Arizona, for the fourth Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference, which took place on March 31-April 2, 2017. Seidenberg students applied for and obtained travel scholarships from Cisco, Facebook, as well as the Pace CyberCorps program in order to attend this event.

This year, around 800 cybersecurity including students, academics, and industry professionals attended the conference for technical workshops, career advice sessions, mentoring and networking, inspirational keynote talks, and a career fair. Some of the companies in attendance included Google, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, AT&T, Bank of America, and the U.S. intelligence.

Who was on the Seidenberg School team? Students Norissa Lamaute (MS/CS’17), Siobhan Kiernan (MS/CS’19), Kaitlyn – Kait- Bestenheider (MS/CS’19), Adriana Aluia (BS/IT’17) and Elizabeth – Lizzie- Molloy (BBA/IS’18), as well as faculty Dr. Li-Chiou Chen, Dr. Pauline Mosley, and Andreea Cotoranu attended.

The Seidenberg team wasn’t just at the conference to take it in – they were active participants. On the conference’s GenCyber day, which was filled with activities designed for high school students, the team hosted a Cyber Arcade. The arcade is a set of five challenges: cyber jeopardy, raspberry pi puzzle, cryptography with cipher wheel, mini-drones, and password strength. Seventy-five high-school students and teachers from the Tucson, AZ area attended the arcade, designed and run by Drs. Chen and Mosley with assistance from the entire Seidenberg team.

Seidenberg was also represented on the conference main stage! Norissa Lamaute gave a lightning talk on Musical Cryptography. Norissa’s research implements musical theory to create a consonant cipher that allows for the exchange of secret messages. This project also includes the work of Alexa Piccoli (MS/CS’16) and is advised by Dr. Chen and Andreea Cotoranu.

“The Women in Cybersecurity conference is always a greatly inspiring experience,” said Adriana Aluia. “This is the second year I’ve attended and every time I leave with new friends and connections.”

Kait Bestenheider added that “the opportunity to meet with so many successful women in a field where women make up only 11% of the demographic was simply amazing. While sometimes we might be the only woman in the room, there were almost a thousand of those women in the same room . . . This is a network of women ready to inspire and lead other women to their own success.” Kait covered her experience in her blog, Kait Tech.

Lizzie Molloy also found inspiration at the conference. “My WiCyS experience is something very hard to put into words, not because it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was everything I was expecting and more. […] One of my biggest takeaways from this event was the strong bond I createed with my fellow colleagues. [Together] we realized we can do things we always wanted to do and more. This experience has helped me shape my academic and professional future in many ways. There are more experiences and opportunities available that I never thought were even possible.”

Now that the 2017 WiCyS concluded, we have just started preparing for the 2018 event! We look to continue Seidenberg’s legacy of WiCyS engagement by presenting in the poster session, giving talks and hosting workshops at the 2018 WiCyS in Chicago, IL. If you have an interest in cybersecurity or you are currently working on research projects in cybersecurity, we would like to speak to you. Contact Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean for Academic Innovation (acotoranu@pace.edu) with questions.

Melanie Greene and Dr. James Lawler present inclusion programs for students with disabilities

By Melanie Greene

It was an honor to attend  the Faculty Resource Network’s National Symposium in Atlanta in November. I co-presented with Dr. James Lawler on inclusion programs for students with disabilities in the Seidenberg School. I spoke about the class I took with Dr. Lawler (CIS 102w Web Design for a Not-for-Profit Organization), mentoring students in AHRC’s junior high school and high school programs (they had different levels of autism; one was more severe than the other), mentoring and tutoring Adil Sanai, tutoring his students last semester in his two CIS 102w courses, the two research projects we worked on together, and being a co-moderator for the Disability Film Festival. I got the chance to speak about all of my experiences that I have had working with people with disabilities.

I am uplifted and inspired by Dr. Lawler’s drive and commitment to give people with disabilities access to a college education. I support everything that he is doing.​ I get very emotional talking about all the adventures and learning experiences I have had with Dr. Lawler – they have been life changing opportunities that affect me deeply.

During the conference, we went to three different schools: Morehouse College (an all-male college where Dr. Martin Luther King went), Spelman College (all-female college), and Clark Atlanta University (co-ed).  All of the schools were beautiful, it was a privilege to visit them. I got choked up when we went to Morehouse College because Dr. King went there. I felt like I was walking through history. At the school they had a picture of President Obama delivering the Commencement speech in 2013 and I was in awe: both President Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King’s presences were there.

At the conference, I got the chance to meet other professors from schools  in NY, Atlanta, Hawaii, and others. I enjoyed listening to their research and learning about how we could use social media and technology platforms to teach millennials.

Dr. Lawler and I went to a delicious Italian restaurant one night and a Brazilian restaurant (it was my first time going to a Brazilian restaurant). We invited a professor from Spelman College that I met to join us for dinner, which was a lot of fun. One night our bus broke down which was an experience in itself. The bus was literally like the engine that could. When we broke down one professor started to play Bob Marley “Don’t Worry” and we all chimed in – it was priceless. The bus kept trying to get us all back to the hotel, but unfortunately it failed. We had to walk back to the hotel. On our final day we visited the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. I was overwhelmed with emotion, I had the chills the whole time – history was brought to life. To walk where Dr. King walked, to stand in the area where he preached in Ebenezer Baptist Church, to see the pole in the firehouse where he played on as a child, and lastly to see his grave was indescribable.

My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to present with Dr. Lawler.  This certainly is a weekend that I will never forget. I thank Dr. Lawler and the Seidenberg School for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. I will always cherish the incredible memories from this trip.

Seidenberg hits the 2016 Women in Cybersecurity Conference

twoAs a student in the Seidenberg School you have ample opportunities for professional and personal development, and adventure! Along these lines, a Seidenberg team attended the 2016 Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS) in Dallas, TX last week. The team, comprised of amazing students pursuing degrees with a cybersecurity focus, included Alexa Piccoli (MS/CS’16), Norissa Lamaute (MS/CS’17), Siobhan Kiernan (BS/IT’17) and Adriana Aluia (BS/IT’18). In addition, the team also included Lindsay Peckham (AAS/Cybersecurity’17) and Sara DaCosta (AAS/Cybersecurity’18) from Westchester Community College, a Pace Cybersecurity Academic partner.

Not only are women underrepresented in the IT field, but a report sponsored by ISC2 and Booz Allen Hamilton found that in 2013 women made up just 11 percent of global cybersecurity workforce and only nine percent were in senior leadership roles. It is in this context that WiCyS aims to bring together female students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in cybersecurity for knowledge sharing, networking and mentoring. The conference aims to raise awareness about the importance and nature of cybersecurity careers and to generate interest among students to consider cybersecurity as a viable career option.

From left to right: Lindsay Peckham, Alexa Piccoli, Sara DaCosta, Andrea Wright (Bank of America) Adriana Aluia, Siobhan Kiernan, and Norissa Lamaute
From left to right: Lindsay Peckham, Alexa Piccoli, Sara DaCosta, Andrea Wright (Bank of America) Adriana Aluia, Siobhan Kiernan, and Norissa Lamaute

2016 WiCyS had great energy and blended both academic and professional speakers and content. The conference gathered more than 700 attendees! The tech talks included reverse engineering, cyber criminology, perspectives on research, exploit development, cyber-physical system security. Other professional talks covered tools and strategies for education as well as workshops oriented toward specific career tracks in cyber security. A job fair with over 30 prominent employers and numerous “networking socials” provided students with the opportunity to learn specifics about the skills in need in the industry, and in many cases get job offers on the spot.

Here is what the some of the participants had to say about the conference experience:

One take away from the WiCyS conference was the ample opportunity and support for women in cybersecurity. While the statistic showcase the dramatic lack of women in this field, it felt great to be in a place where women in cyber were encouraged to do great things. I really enjoyed the key note speakers from various top companies and felt empowered and driven to one day be at the level they are at. I got to meet many academics and professionals who offered guidance and reassurance that this is what I want to do as a lifelong career. I learned that it is okay to feel confused at times, and that if you keep working hard, you can reach your goals. I was inspired to take on new opportunities and dig deeper into my school work and cyber related topics.

Alexa Piccoli (MS/CS’16)

squiggleLindsay Peckham (AAS/Cybersecurity ‘17, Westchester Community College): There were so many inspiring moments that it’s difficult to choose only one so I would love to share two items that have stuck with me since returning home.

First, the field of cyber security offers everything I desire in a career: technology, cutting-edge ideas, innovations and helping others but there are many specialties within the field that I had to be exposed to and barely understood in the real-world sense.   Personally, the conference offered me a way to navigate the many career opportunities in this field.  Through anecdotes, insightful speeches, networking opportunities and plentiful resources, I spent nearly 3 days putting myself in the shoes of others and thinking about how that career specialty may suit me in the future.

Second, one of my hopes for attending WiCyS was to learn about what other schools are doing for their cyber security clubs.  It’s been one of my passions at WCC to improve and grow our club in meaningful and exciting ways. Attending the “CyberSecurity Club: 101 from Inception to Installment and Beyond” workshop gave me an opportunity to see what other colleges, both community and university, are doing in their clubs.  […] I am very excited for 2016-2017 school year because I think some really neat changes are going to be made!

Many thanks to Dr. Li-Chiou Chen and Andreea Cotoranu for making this experience possible!

squiggle2Are you working on cybersecurity related projects and have an interest in attending the next edition of WiCyS? Submit a research poster or just apply for a scholarship to attend the conference! Contact Andreea Cotoranu for questions related to future participation in this event.

Interested in learning more about cybersecurity? No problem! The Seidenberg School invites you to take cybersecurity courses, join the Pace Cyber Team, or apply for the CyberCorps scholarship program!

Seidenberg students represent at the Conference for Women Computer Science Students

The first annual New York City Conference for Women Computer Science Students took place at the Microsoft Headquarters in New York City on April 1, 2016.  The Seidenberg School, a strong supporter of Women in Technology (WIT@Pace) was represented at this historic event by computer science undergraduates Karishma Saini (BS/CS’18) and Rohana Sosa (BS/CS’19).

I enjoyed the event because it was a great learning experience for me. I learned more the importance of computer science and technology in today’s world. I also received numerous tips and advice for my future career. We were encouraged to combine out interests with computer science and technology. Overall, it was a comfortable atmosphere to be surrounded by other women who had the same dreams of pursuing a career in computer science/technology the same way I do.

Karishma Saini (BS/CS’18)

The all-day conference organized by the NY Technology Council was focused on building community and career support for undergraduate women studying computer science and related fields. The event, co-sponsored by Microsoft and Google, featured keynote presentations from leading computer science experts in industry and academia; panel discussions on topics pertaining to entrepreneurship, career development, and networking; and networking opportunities for students to connect with industry leaders.

Karishma Saini (left) and Rohana Sosa (right)
Karishma Saini (left) and Rohana Sosa (right)

The most enriching part of visiting Microsoft was listening to the inspiring experiences of the keynote speakers as well as of the other CS students. All sessions served as useful resources for expanding my knowledge and CS network. I loved becoming friends with six CS​ students and introducing myself to the CEO of the startup called Stowaway Cosmetics!

Rohana Sosa (BS/CS’19)

See you there next year!