Melanie Madera is the Glue of the Seidenberg Community

Pace University alumna, Melanie Madera recently took on the new role of Community Manager of the Seidenberg community (aka, the glue of Seidenberg). Last year in May, Melanie began her new position at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems. Her journey from university student to community manager is full of hard work and determination!

She began her college journey at Pace University on the downtown New York City campus in 2002. As a commuter, she worked numerous part-time jobs in order to pay for her education, gaining experience at Nintendo as a Marketing/Sales Associate and at a non-profit assisting children in the foster care system. She went on to earn her BBA in Marketing with a concentration in Advertising and Promotions.

“I will always remember my time at Pace with fond memories,” Melanie notes. “I still get a pang of nostalgia whenever I walk the halls at One Pace Plaza. They were some of the best years of my life!”

Now, as the Community Manager at Seidenberg, Melanie has the opportunity to make the Pace experience better for new students. Asked what her role entails, she quips, “what doesn’t it?”

She handles all of Seidenberg’s New York City campus events and clubs, as well as managing the student assistants at the front desk. She also assists Dean Hill in organizing his schedule and calendar to improve his time management. Overall, she makes the Seidenberg community better by listening to and observing the dynamics of the office.

Melanie explains, “in general, I keep the office going, make sure the faculty is supported and, most importantly, I always make sure that we have coffee stocked in the kitchen. Gotta keep Seidenberg caffeinated!”

 

As for what she brings to the office—besides coffee and an overall sense of community—Melanie believes that she has brought both a sense of organization and transparency.

“My work experience here in the Seidenberg School has been one of the most productive and positive community environments that I have had the pleasure of being a part of,” she explains. “I have to say that the culture here at Seidenberg is unlike any other place I have worked at. I have experience in many work environments: start-ups, small businesses, non-profits, large corporations; but the sense of community and comradery here is really refreshing.”

While she notes marketing as her true passion, she is also “passionate about treating the [Seidenberg] space with respect and to value what [the community has], because [she] feels that it starts with one person; once people see how much care and time you take in making it a great place to work, they tend to follow suit.”

She uses the skills that she learned at Pace to better the community of Seidenberg. “When I have the opportunity to flex my creative muscle and take someone’s vision and make it a reality, it really is a wonderful feeling,” she admits.

As long as Melanie flexes her creative muscles as the Community Manager for Seidenberg, the lounge will always be a safe space for students and faculty. We’re thankful for all that she does for our community and cannot wait for all that she has in store for the future.

“I feel like I was destined to be a part of this team and it feels like I just fit right in; everyone accepted me and is thankful for my hard work and dedication,” Melanie notes. “Everyone here takes pride in their work and in helping students and it shows! I’m really proud to be here and definitely have Seidenberg pride!”

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Battle of the Bots at Pace University

If watching robots compete to complete tasks entices you, then you should’ve been at Pace University on February 10th. The 10th annual Hudson Valley NY FIRST Tech Challenge championship robotics tournament was held on Pace University’s Westchester campus. The day was full of challenges and innovation for middle and high school students from the Hudson Valley. Only one goal stayed in each of the students’ minds throughout the tournament: getting to the world championship.

The event, run by Dr. Richard Kline and Jill Olimpieri, hosted 27 high school-level teams. The competition brought together the region’s top qualifying teams and their robots to compete in a task-based challenge. Pace University has hosted the regional championship for several years.  Pace University, Pace University Athletics, and IBM sponsored the event.

According to the Hudson Valley NY FIRST Tech Challenge site, “Students in FTC design and build a robot using aluminum, polycarbonate, motors and servos, sensors, and a variety of other materials. They program and control it using Android Smartphones with Java or a Blocks-based graphical language.”

With exclusive scholarships open to competing students totaling more than $80 million, the stakes were high. The challenge to beat this year was “Rover Ruckus,” and teams battled to take the top spots.

According to Dr. Kline, “More than 40 current Pace students and about a dozen alumni, staff, and faculty participated in the event, comprising half of the 100 or so volunteers who banded together to run the competition under the guidance of volunteer coordinator and Seidenberg School staff member Jill Olimpieri. Students contributed in all areas of the competition, from setup and logistics to referees, judges, inspectors, and robot technical advisors.”

Pace students and faculty Sukun Li and Leanne Keeley volunteered as judges for the event. Students Jeana Cosenza, Kyle Hanson, Joel Thomas, and Zach Demeglio, among others, volunteered in various supporting roles. Dean Hill even made a special appearance to cheer on the teams and robots!

Fios 1 News covered the event, giving the young students the chance to feature their efforts on the local news. The coverage inspired and motivated the students to share their experiences and do their best.

At the end of the day, three teams came out on top and will move on to the world championship. Congratulations to Team 6567 – Roboraiders from Red Hook High School, Team 7486 – Suffern Robotics from Suffern Senior High School, and Team 8397 – Beta, from CCE Clinton County 4-H. We wish the best of luck to them at the world championship!

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Seidenberg goes to the International Conference on Information Systems

During the week of December 13th, 2018, several Seidenberg students and faculty traveled to San Francisco to attend the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). ICIS, the leading conference in the academic information systems field, is held annually in the middle of December at a new location. Seidenberg community members had the opportunity to travel to California for last year’s prestigious conference.

Attendees of the conference—Dr. Daniel Farkas, Dr. Namchul Shin, Dr. Li-Chou Chen, student Tianyu Wang, Dr. Yegin Genc, and Dr. Isaac Vaghefi—hosted workshops, presented talks, and papers, and won some pretty amazing awards.

Dr. Farkas and Dr. Shin hosted a GIS workshop during the conference. The half-day workshop on Location Analytics and Location of Things brought in scholars from around the world interested in this area to discuss their professional experiences and research.

Left to right: Dr. Namchul Shin, Dr. Dan Farkas and a colleague from University of Redlands, CA, who is one of the co-organizers of the workshop held at ICIS.

Dr. Farkas also worked with Dr. Chen to present a TREO talk on the topic of “Individual Attitude, Trust, and Risk Perception towards Blockchain Technology, Virtual Currency Exchange, Cryptocurrency Transactions and Smart Contracts.” This talk opened up dialogue about each of these subjects at the conference.

Tianyu, who is in the process of obtaining a Ph.D., presented a paper, co-authored with Dr. Chen and Dr. Genc, titled “An N-gram-based Approach for Detecting Social Media Spambots.” Tianyu won the Doctoral Research Award from the PRE-ICIS SIGDSA symposium for the paper.

Lastly, and most impressively, Dr. Vaghefi won an award for the highly competitive “Paper-A-Thon,” in which he competed against 15 international teams. The paper submitted by Dr. Vaghefi, “DIGITAL DETOX? Understanding Users’ Abstinence from Social Network Sites Use,” was selected as the best paper to be presented at the conference. Overall, the paper “embeds a series of mixed-method studies to understand how social network users can take a break from technology and its positive outcomes,” according to Dr. Vaghefi.

With Tianyu’s Doctoral Research Award and Dr. Vaghefi’s winning “DIGITAL DETOX?” paper, Seidenberg had some major wins at the ICIS. The Seidenberg community continues to create leaders in the information systems field.

If you’re interested in attending the ICIS this coming December, get in touch with one of the previously mentioned faculty members and get started on your ideas!

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The wait is over: The NYC Master Plan is finished!

Pace University unveiled the long-awaited NYC Master Plan’s revitalization of One Pace Plaza and 41 Park Row on Jan. 28 with a crowd of students, staff, and benefactors in attendance. After a few speeches and cheers from the audience, the ribbon—covered with golden Pace logos, of course—was cut, officially opening the space up to the Pace community. The master plan project, which was completed by FXCollaborative and Sciame construction, began in 2017 just as President Krislov started his term as Pace University’s President. About a year and a half later, the new building now holds a variety of revamped spaces. A new school store, multiple conference rooms, study lounges, elevators, and a small food station now reside in the immense and beautiful building. The unveiling showed off all of these new spaces to the public.

The excitement of the ribbon cutting spread throughout everyone attendance at the unveiling. The event started off with few speeches by President Krislov and others who brought this project to life.

President Krislov’s words rang through the room: “Here in One Pace Plaza, we entirely transformed the place, creating state-of-the-art new learning facilities and student spaces. We opened up walls, opening Pace University to our community. It looks fantastic—and it looks to our future.”

A new conference room within the space.

As soon as the ribbon was cut, a mass of Pace Performing Arts Dance students flooded the room and danced to entertain the audience. Immediately after its completion, attendees flooded into the new space to check everything out. Refreshments and snacks were served, more Pace Performing Arts students kept the crowd entertained with musical entertainment, and totes were handed out as a small gift to those who attended.We will remember this event for a long while because it celebrated a new space for students to grow and create. With the Pace community growing, it’s nice to see that the spaces are growing with it. Check out the new space as soon as possible, because once you check it out, you won’t want to leave.

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Pace University Seidenberg students visit IBM for artificial intelligence insights

On October 24th, students from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems visited the IBM TJ Watson Research Center for an eye-opening field trip into the world of research and tech.

The audience in attendance included faculty, undergraduate and graduate students. One of these students attending was Charlotte Coffin, a senior majoring in computer science, who is currently working on her honors thesis titled, “An Introduction to Quantum Computing using the Number Guessing Game on QISKit.” QISKit is IBM’s open source platform for quantum computing, so the trip was particularly useful for Charlotte!

Student, Charlotte Coffin.

During the trip, students learned about the types of research taking place at IBM and identified potential research collaboration opportunities. IBM’s researchers discussed technological topics including quantum computing, blockchain, IoT wearables, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics.

Students spent the day in Thinklabs, research rooms, and with IBM professionals who introduced them to the real-world version of what they are studying at Pace University. For many students, getting an inside look at a company like IBM was a glimpse at the future.

Tianyu Wang, a PhD Computer Science student nearing graduation, noted that the trip was “a really great experience.” 

“The researchers at the Research Center work on speech recognition, machine learning, natural language understanding, and information retrieval products, among others,” said Tianyu. “I particularly appreciated witnessing the collaborative working environment. The company supports various researchers that work in both small and large teams. I can see the researchers had a great time doing their work; most [of] them were absolutely top-notch and super-accessible and friendly.” 

Tianyu, along with the rest of the group in attendance, also had the chance to see an innovative project in the works by IBM: artificial intelligence generating movie trailers.

“An example of a recent artificial intelligence research project is generating movie trailers automatically using machine learning algorithms,” Tianyu explained. “After training a couple of movies with label data, the program can generate a trailer automatically, within one day. This approach saves the cost of producing a trailer. Through this example, I could certainly see the real implementation of supervised learning solutions, and how artificial intelligence can impact the business.”  

Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation at Pace University, highlighted how grateful she and her students were for the field trip opportunity.

 “The Seidenberg School is grateful for its dedicated adjunct faculty, especially Professor Stephan Barabasi, as well as for the passionate and generous team at the IBM Research Center for continuing to facilitate collaboration and discussion on key research topics and promote continued learning within the Seidenberg faculty and student body,” she said.

The IBM trip was another fantastic learning experience provided by the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Keep your eyes peeled for future events with major technology companies!

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Pace professor Miguel Mosteiro wins Best Paper at ICALP 2018 conference

A paper written by Miguel Mosteiro, assistant professor of computer science and algorithms whiz at Pace University, was selected as best paper at ICALP 2018. Known internationally as one of the top theory conferences worldwide, the achievement is significant for Dr. Mosteiro and collaborator Dariusz Kowalski, a computer science expert from the University of Liverpool.

The paper, titled “Polynomial Counting in Anonymous Dynamic Networks with Applications to Anonymous Dynamic Algebraic Computations,” is just one of the results of a series of research that Miguel and collaborators, including Seidenberg students, have worked on over the past few years.

“It was during my research visit to the University of  Bordeaux in 2015 when my host, Alessia Milani, made me aware of the Counting problem in Anonymous Dynamic Networks,” explains Miguel, who is based at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ New York City campus. “At that point, the problem had already attracted a lot of attention because knowing the number of processors is fundamental for Distributed Computing, but the best upper bounds known on the running time were DOUBLY-exponential. Jointly with Alessia Milani, we improved the running time exponentially designing a novel protocol during that visit. Later on, my student Maitri Chakraborty showed experimentally that our protocol completes the computation in polynomial time, but not having a theoretical bound better than exponential we could not guarantee termination in practice. Anyway, this research was a first big step that resulted in three publications and university-wide researcher- and mentor- awards for my student and me.

Dr. Mosteiro, on the right, displays the award certificate. On the left is Paul Spirakis, Chair of the European Association of Theoretical Computer Science.

“The interest on solving Counting in polynomial time continued, and by last year we were three research groups heavily working on it independently. During my 2017 summer visit to the University of Liverpool and the University of Wroclaw, I worked intensively with my host Dariusz Kowalski in designing a new Counting protocol. Our plan was to transform Incremental Counting so that we could apply Markov Chain analysis to bound the running time. There is always a magical moment in these developments and ours was when I was giving a talk to Kowalski’s students. Explaining the challenges of Counting, and what was the core technical difficulty, the key idea for a new protocol became apparent. Seminal ideas are fundamental but one still needs to work a lot on the technical details to realize them in theorems, which we did last Fall.”

Dr. Mosteiro and Dr. Kowalski presented the paper at ICALP 2018, which took place in Prague over summer, where the importance of the problem it addresses and the strength of the contribution will be recognized with the award for best paper.

The Chair of the Computer Science Department, Dr. Christelle Scharff, congratulated Miguel on the achievement, noting that it was a great achievement, mentioning “how prestigious it is!”

Seidenberg School Dean, Dr. Jonathan Hill, also offered his compliments: “We are, indeed, in the presence of greatness! Congratulations, Miguel, on this accomplishment.”

“We are very grateful,” says Miguel about the award, and added: “as I am for the support of Seidenberg School, SRC, and Kenan Fund. Without that support, I would not have been able to visit my colleagues and focus on this research.”

Congratulations Dr. Mosteiro! If the feedback from our students is anything to go by, there is a lot to be proud of!