Seidenberg Innovation Awards: Innovation in Entrepreneurship Honoree

The Spring 2021 session of Pace University’s Seidenberg Innovation Awards has officially wrapped up with yet another notable honoree: Josh Silverman, the CEO of Etsy. During this annual event, Josh Silverman was praised for setting an example for entrepreneurs, while also supporting the business and technology communities within the Seidenberg School of CSIS. With experience in various fields, Josh Silverman eventually settled into his current position with one of the largest e-commerce businesses in America. However, one of the first steps in his career path was not business but instead public policy. After studying public policy at Brown University and working in the field for a few years, Silverman decided to go back to school for business at Stanford. Upon graduating, one of his first jobs in the field was working for a small, lesser-known company. Although his position provided him with more responsibilities than expected, it also led to him gaining invaluable experience and knowledge that would prepare him for his future role at Etsy.

WHAT IS ETSY?

So, what is Etsy? Although many of you may already know, Etsy is an e-commerce company that allows entrepreneurs to sell vintage and/or homemade products online. Through Etsy, selling is made significantly easier so that sellers, creators, and innovators can focus more on the creation and distribution of their products. Because of this, Etsy serves as a sound platform for facilitating the needs of smaller businesses, with some of them being owned by our very own Pace students.


SUPERMOON JEWELRY

Image including shop name, number of sales, rating, and shop location for SuperMoon Jewelry.

First up is SuperMoon Jewelry, which offers statement pieces ranging from rings to necklaces and more. Whether you decide to order a pair of celestial earrings, an astrology-inspired necklace, or a surprise mystery box, just know that you’ll be supporting one of our very own. The owner of this online shop, Theresa Rodriquez, is a Childhood Education major at our New York City campus. On the Etsy webpage for her shop, you’ll see all of her creations, in addition to SuperMoon Jewelry’s Instagram: @shop.supermoon.

JESSICA ANNE RUBIN

Image including shop name, number of sales, rating, and shop location for Jessica Anne Rubin.

Jessica Anne Rubin is an Art major at Pace whose shop features vibrant, uniquely shaped jewelry. With some earrings taking the shape of popular fruits such as strawberries and oranges, her other pieces are equally as fun and eccentric. If you’re looking for accessories that’ll make you stand out, then Jessica Anne Rubin is the perfect place to stop. On her shop’s Instagram, @jessicaannerubin, you’ll also find creative ways to style your new statement pieces.

CHARMED BITCHCRAFT

Image including shop name, number of sales, rating, and shop location for Charmed Bitchcraft.

This shop, created by two friends and recent graduates Julia and Eena, features a variety of products such as spell jars in the form of earrings, necklaces, and more. Depending on what you need, each individual spell jar is filled with the right components for different spells regarding protection, purification, happiness, and self-love. This shop is the perfect place for those who find solace in witchcraft or for those who simply want to support our city witches.


MAKING WISE BUSINESS DECISIONS

When it comes to leading Etsy, one of the most important things to consider as its CEO is ensuring the company’s success. For Silverman, this is determined by the overall success of the platform’s sellers. Essentially, when the sellers succeed then so does the company. Aside from this, there are other components responsible for Etsy’s upward progression. For instance, working with companies that provide useful business tools is an easy way to improve the user experience without the pressure of having to create the tools themselves. An example of one such company would be Braze, whose products specialize in deepening the relationship between businesses and their consumers. One product of theirs that Silverman points out as particularly helpful is their tool called Segment – adept at customizing the user experience based on customers’ wants and needs. With instruments like this in place, more attention can be spent on the other operations needed to sustain Etsy. 

The choice to utilize Segment is a perfect example of effectively discerning the best possible business decision. According to Silverman, most advances should take into account two things: time efficiency and optimal economic outcomes. Although the most ideal advancement would include both, it is not uncommon for improvements to be made based on only one out of the two. In this case, using Segment covered both bases. Implementing tools like Segment that maximize company efficiency was especially important for maintaining a steady workflow during the start of the pandemic.

A SHIFT IN E-COMMERCE

One result of the pandemic, particularly during quarantine, was that the portion of Americans who typically opted out of online shopping now needed to. With things that were once easily accessible being difficult to obtain, such as cleaning supplies and toilet paper to name a few, e-commerce quickly became a reliable source during dark times. However, among the usual items that people normally purchased in-store, there was one thing that customers needed desperately and fast: masks.

In a podcast interview with Marketplace Tech, Silverman recounts that after observing this pressing need, Etsy put out a call for sellers with the right materials to start producing masks. This call came about not too long after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (in March 2020), specifically when the shortage of masks began. With the overall increase of e-commerce alongside the growing need for masks, Etsy’s sales went up as well, thus providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to support themselves during a time of crisis.

PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER

Josh Silverman has not only encouraged entrepreneurship through his support of the Pace community, but he has also encouraged it through the opportunities he has provided through Etsy. As someone who started off in pursuit of one career and ended up in another, Silverman has shown that there’s nothing wrong with taking a different path. In fact, it was each varying step in his journey that prepared him to excel in the exact work he does now.

From one life stage to the next, Silverman has proved that learning doesn’t end with school, but is instead a lifelong, continuous endeavor – especially in business and technology. It is being open to new knowledge that allows entrepreneurs to try different things before settling on the right decision. Needless to say that when doing so, mistakes are all but inevitable. However, it is not the mistakes themselves that are concerning, but rather the kind of lessons you learn from them. Silverman’s career journey is the embodiment of trying new things, seeing what works, and adapting. If there’s anything to take away from his experience, it is that applying these principles can be widely useful in both your personal and professional lives. Interested in exploring a new field? If so, try taking a class or securing a related internship. If there’s a new hobby you’ve been dying to try then maybe find a way to get started. Pursuing that goal or taking on that interest will only impart clarity on whether that new venture is or isn’t for you. So with that in mind, don’t be afraid to take risks because regardless of the outcome, you’ll still manage to learn from the experience.

Welcome to Wepptek: the Newest Seidenberg Student-Led Startup

The Seidenberg School of CSIS is ecstatic to announce the emergence of a new student-led startup in our community. Wepptek—started by Seidenberg students Allan Krasner, Manuel Garza, and Isaiah Jimenez—is the up-and-coming business for all of your professional website and app needs.

Allan, Manuel, and Isaiah came up with the idea of Wepptek after acknowledging their collective potential while working together at Seidenberg Creative Labs (SCL) and the Entrepreneurship Lab (eLab). With their mix of managerial, technical, and business skills, they knew they had everything they needed to get everything going.

“The three of us met together for the first time in the eLab without realizing that we would be working much closer together in the near future,” said Allan. “Seidenberg Creative Labs helped the three of us understand how the flow of projects is supposed to work and helped us understand any potential problems that we might run into in the development process.”

While their varied mix of experiences helped this group feel confident to build Wepptek, Allan said that the inspiration for the startup was a long time coming. When Allan took on a Project Management role at SCL at the end of his freshman year, it opened his eyes up to the kind of career he wanted he wanted to build for himself.

“This experience made me realize that I love talking to people, and I’m great at breaking down complicated tasks into small pieces,” said Allan. This being combined with my drive for creating my own company set the gears in motion, but I couldn’t do this on my own.”

Allan said that his co-founders and friends Manuel and Isaiah had the ambition and goals they needed to start their company. Once they got together and realized what they could do, they got off the ground running.

“Our first project was with a charter school consulting firm where they had us create landing pages for them so that they could get their enrollment numbers up, and this happened around the end of January,” Allan said.

Through this process, they came to understand their roles within Wepptek. As CEO, Allan said that he keeps the business running efficiently and smoothly to keep snags out of the process. As CTO, Manuel assists in the direction of the technology used per project. Isaiah works at the COO and has his sights on making sure Wepptek operates properly while also bringing in more clients.

Now they are setting their sights on gathering more projects. The team is currently working on a website for the Union of Adjunct Faculty at Pace (UAFP).

“They currently have a website that got created with WordPress, but it is Wepptek’s job to maintain and add any additional features that get asked of us, such as an internal social media for people that sign up to their website directly,” said Allan.

The group is figuring their communication and workflow as they grow. It has been interesting during the pandemic while they mostly communicate online. However, they succeed in ensuring each project has its full and undivided attention. They hope to expand the business outside of their networks.

“We are constantly thinking about how we can expand and grow our business, and one of the things that we can all agree on is having a huge focus on marketing and promoting ourselves,” Allan said. “So far, most of our clients have been from personal connections that the three of us have established for ourselves, but we also realize that this is only a temporary solution.”

Currently, the team prides itself on having a satisfaction guarantee. Wepptek will work with each of its clients to ensure that each project is clean and professional level.

Are you in need of a professional website or app? Reach out to the team through their website at Wepptek.com

Seidenberg Programs: Information Technology vs. Information Systems

Congratulations to students who have been accepted into Pace University’s Seidenberg School of CSIS! Upon joining our community, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is our wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, our Information Technology and Information Systems majors are two programs that are often confused with one another. As you may or may not know, Information Technology focuses more on the use of systems to store, retrieve, and transmit data, whereas Information Systems is centered on figuring out the best ways to use the data collected. Knowing and understanding the difference between the two is essential to making the best decision regarding which program you should choose.


WHAT TO EXPECT AS AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MAJOR?

Man working at a computer.

As an Information Technology major, you’ll be studying the systems that operate computers, networks, and more. Through the curriculum for this program, students will get to explore a series of fundamental courses in Information Technology. Additionally, you will also get a chance to select an area of focus in IT. These focus areas include security, software development, networking, information management, and computer forensics. However, for those of you who want to take a more liberal approach, you can also create your own interdisciplinary focus.

Security

With a focus in security, you’ll have a brief intro to programming, along with an overview of networking and internet security. Through the programming course, you’ll learn basic operations of Java generally used to solve business and systems-related dilemmas. In addition to correcting system errors, you’ll also be shown how to develop operating systems for various environments.

Software Development

For this concentration, you will be able to take not only one but two courses in programming, which combined will help deepen your overall understanding of coding. In the other courses for this focus, you’ll also get the chance to explore how to analyze and design systems that manage organizations in an effective way.

Networking

Choosing a focus in networking will allow you to take an introductory programming course alongside two other classes that will shape your foundational knowledge of networks and security.

Information Management 

Pursuing this focus will teach you everything you need to know about information management skills, such as project planning and systems testing. In addition to that, you’ll also learn to master the art of developing databases and extracting data for analysis.

Computer Forensics

This concentration will provide you with the knowledge needed to conduct forensic investigations by understanding how to locate and extract permissible digital evidence on computers and other mobile devices. 

WHAT TO EXPECT AS AN INFORMATION SYSTEMS MAJOR?

People sitting down for a discussion.

Students who are interested in Information Systems will learn how organizations utilize data to make sound business decisions. Through the curriculum, you’ll be encouraged to take marketing and accounting-based classes to help make these assessments. Unlike the Information Technology major, this one doesn’t require you to select an area of focus, however, you do get to choose from a series of electives offered through the program. Information Systems does include various IT concepts, but in a way that focuses on how that data is interpreted by people. Outside of the electives provided, the Information Systems major is split into the Information Systems Core and the Information Systems Environment.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORE

The Information Systems Core will show you the ins and outs of the computer’s basic components, which will include an understanding of its hardware and how to effectively troubleshoot problems. With this understanding, you’ll then get into the basics of Java with two introductory programming classes. Other topics you’ll explore include global networking and distributed computing. With global networking, you’ll examine the technology used for business telecommunications while also observing case studies between various organizations. Distributed computing will show you the difference between distributed and centralized systems, along with how to address systems-related issues. On top of that, you will also learn how to design, implement, and analyze various systems.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENT

The Information Systems Environment courses cover the business aspect of Information Systems. Through financial accounting, you’ll discover the essentials of making sound administrative decisions from a business, government, and nonprofit perspective. Meanwhile, in your managerial accounting course, you will focus more on the implementation of the data collected rather than the collection of data itself. In your other courses, you will be taught basic macroeconomic principles such as economic growth and banking, managerial planning and leadership, and marketing fundamentals like product development, advertising, and sales.

THE TAKEAWAY

Although different, both programs allow students to earn credits for completing a capstone project or interning at an approved worksite. Regardless of which one you choose, both options provide you with work experience that will benefit you upon graduating from either program. With a degree in Information Technology, your career opportunities can range from IT consultant to computer technician and more. Whereas, with a degree in Information Systems, you’ll find that careers in database administration, the healthcare industry, or even the government are within your scope of opportunities. Whichever you decide, we intend to provide you with all the tools and support you need to succeed.

 

The Return of Sunflower Hack

For its second year in a row Sunflower Hack is returning – but virtually. This year the hackathon is being hosted once again by Pace Women in Tech, alongside Pace University’s POPTV and Cybersecurity clubs. The event, which will take place on March 13th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, will be open for registration until March 7th, right before midnight.

Sunflower Hack is open to all participants over the age of 18, regardless of whether they’re enrolled at a university or not. Teams must consist of three to four members to create a hack with this theme in mind: Interaction and Communication. Once your teams are formed, you will have five hours to come up with an idea and a presentation. At the end of the event, a few teams will receive prizes based on different categories, including Best Entrepreneurial Hack, Best UX/UI Hack, and Crowd Favorite. Other potential categories include Best Communication Hack, Best Interaction Hack, and Most “Out-Of-The-Box” Hack.

The Seidenberg community is excited for the success of another engaging hackathon, where participants with various degrees of coding experience are encouraged to join in on the fun. Taking part in this hackathon will be the perfect way to meet new people with common interests, while also developing your programming, designing, and/or presentation skills. For updates on the event, please feel free to check out Sunflower Hack on Instagram, or if you have any questions, they can be answered at gosunflowerhack@gmail.com.

Pace University Students Qualify for the 2021 Northeast Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

by Andreea Cotoranu
Clinical Professor, Information Technology

A team of eight Seidenberg students with a passion for cybersecurity, participated in the highly coveted Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, Northeast (NECCDC) qualifier, on January 23, 2021. The ‘core eight’ team included: Logan Cusano (BS in Information Technology ’22 – captain/student coach), Alexander Zimmer (MS in Cybersecurity ’22), Alexs Wijoyo (BS in Computer Science ’22), Kyle Hanson (BS in Information Systems’21), Brendan Scollan (BS in Information Technology ’24), Zachary Goldberg (BS in Information Technology ’22), Andrew Iadevaia (BS in Computer Science ’23), and Aleks Ceremisinovs (BA in Computer Science ’21).

One of the competition goals is to “develop competitor skills to respond to modern cybersecurity threats.” The competition provides a controlled environment for students and challenges them to protect an enterprise network infrastructure and business information system against inherent challenges. The competition environment, called ‘cyber range,’ was virtual, and the communication and collaboration were supported over Discord. Industry professionals moderated the teams; the ‘core eight’ were moderated by Seidenberg alums, and former NECCDC competitors, Andrew Ku (NYC Cyber Command) and John Guckian (IBM).

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘mobility.’ In the qualifier scenario, the ‘core eight’ were part of a news organizations’ internal security team working to administer and secure both data and systems of a regional office in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19. Competing teams were expected to manage the network, keep it operational, prevent unauthorized access, maintain and provide public and internal services.

As part of the competition, a ‘red team’ played the attacker role aiming to compromise the team’s systems. The ‘red team’ launched attacks by making extensive use of bots. Memes and a curated playlist contributed to creating a suspenseful competition atmosphere, which accurately reflected the realities of the battle between the ‘red team’ and the competing teams.

NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat
NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat

As the team captain for the event, Logan Cusano ’22 explained that his role was to assign tasks and secure servers. He noted that his favorite part of his role was seeing new team members “learn an immense amount of information and real-world skills on their assigned operating systems.”

Another team member, Alex Zimmer ’22, explained that he “assisted in our team’s logistical planning as well the preparation of script and reference materials. I also played an active role with our log management on the day of the competition. I found it particularly satisfying when either my materials or advice allowed another team member to overcome an obstacle or properly counter red team actions.”

Alexs Wijoyo ’22, who specialized in Linux operating systems on the team, explained that “the best part of my task was that I was able to get my hand dirty with the tools and operation of the competition. I love these types of things.”

To start, the team had to tame bots with correct command lines to obtain clues and access resources. After that, it was up to keeping systems secure and services up against several rounds of attacks, over five hours.  By round 7, the team had 26/28 services up and running, by round 20 it was down to 11/28, and by round 27, the team rebounded to 17/28. However, by round 41, it was down to 9/28, then up to 15/28 by round 52 –  they were never gonna give those services up! Business tasks, called injects, were as important as keeping services up, especially when competing against great teams. Ultimately, the performance on both technical and business tasks contributed to the team’s qualification to the NECCDC regionals.

NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat
NECCDC Team Discord Groupchat

Alex, who recalled the experience of “the continuous monitoring of the possible attack angles” as a combination of exhilarating and strenuous, explained that the team was ecstatic when they learned of their qualification.

“When I read the news that we had made it to the next round I was elated. I knew the team was capable but this just proved me right,” Logan said of the team’s excitement.

“We love working together and we sure do get a thrill from it,” Alexs chimed in.

Overall, the competition was challenging; however, ‘the core eight’ succeeded to communicate and collaborate, in a virtual environment, under pressure – any IT team would be lucky to have them on board. (Note: for a red team review of last year’s competition and advice for competitors, check Tom Kopchak’s (Hurricane Labs) post.

Seventeen teams from the Northeast region participated in this competition.  Ten qualifying teams, including Pace, will now have the opportunity to participate in the 2021 Northeast Regional CCDC, taking place virtually, March 19-21, through the Cyber Range and Training Center, part of the Global Cybersecurity Institute (GCI) within Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – the host organization for 2021.

As reported by current and former participants, competitions like NECCDC are some of the most impactful learning experiences. Pace students interested in participating in cybersecurity competitions are encouraged to connect with BergCyberSec, the Pace Cybersecurity Club (Discord: BergCyberSec) to learn of opportunities for training and collaboration.

Are you interested in pursuing a course, a degree, or a career in the exciting domain of cybersecurity? Check the Seidenberg School at Pace University’s cybersecurity course and program offerings here.

Pace University recently launched a Master of Science in Cybersecurity that aims to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to join an ever-growing workforce.

Surviving Online Learning for the Fall Semester

A majority of Pace University students are now taking some, if not all, of their classes online. The switch earlier this year in March has made many of our matriculating students more than familiar with the concept of remote learning. However, the transition for our first-year students may not exactly be the same. Fortunately enough, our new students have done an amazing job adjusting to this new learning environment. During those few months of online learning throughout the previous semester, in addition to my learning experience over the summer, I’ve accumulated a handful of tips that can be beneficial to my peers here at Pace. Whether you’re a first-year student or not, these tips have the potential to improve the online learning experience of any student for the fall semester.

Tip Number One: Make a Schedule 

A calendar on a desk.

Building on the advice of one of our earlier articles, having a schedule is essential to keeping track of your work for the following months. In addition to that, using a planner can also make a world of a difference when organizing your tasks for each day. I’ve found that having a calendar makes it easier for me to know when I’m free to catch up on homework, and having a planner allows me to make a list of assignments that need to be tackled each day.

Tip Number Two: Try to Wake Up At a Reasonable Time

A woman waking up in bed.

Waking up at a reasonable time should not be out of the question, even for online learning. Resist the urge to stay in bed and try waking up early enough to do somewhat of a morning routine. Whether that includes grabbing coffee or doing yoga, having a morning routine should give you enough time to become fully alert for class.

Tip Number Three: Dress Up for Class

A woman standing at the entrance of her closet.

Even though classes are online, dressing the part can put you in a more productive mindset for learning. When getting ready, try wearing a piece or two that signifies that it’s time to work. This should be something comfortable, but not too comfortable, that way you don’t feel inclined to crawl back into bed afterwards.

Tip Number Four: Find Proper Lighting

A desk with a laptop on top of it and a large window in the background.

This one is not just for the sake of looking decent during a Zoom call. Lighting has a significant impact on our productivity. If you’re getting ready for class, try to stay in a well-lit area so that you are alert and focused. Dimly lit areas can make you feel sleepy and unmotivated to do work so try your best to avoid them if you can.

Tip Number Five: Use Headphones

A student wearing headphones and doing work.

If you own a set of headphones, try using them, especially when you’re in a noisy environment. Noise-canceling headphones are especially helpful with blocking out sound so that you can stay focused during lectures.

Tip Number Six: Let Others Know When You’re Busy

A sign that says "Do Not Disturb."

If you live with other people, let them know when you’re busy so that they don’t interrupt you while you’re working. One way you can do this is by sharing your schedule with them so that they know in advance when not to disturb you. Or, if you have a room to yourself you can try putting a note on your door to let others know that you’re preoccupied. 

Tip Number Seven: Make Time for Yourself

A man relaxing in the outdoors.

Setting aside time for yourself is one of the biggest keys to being productive. Little things like designating times for work and self-care can help you feel more focused when you’re working and more relaxed when you’re not. Figure out ways to destress and try implementing a few of them into your daily routine.

Tip Number Eight: Unplug When You Can

A woman reading in a hammock.

One of the biggest issues I faced when transitioning to online classes was the burnout from using technology way too much. I was on my laptop for school and work, plus a majority of the ways I de-stressed included the use of my laptop, TV, or Switch. When you can, please try to take a few moments out of your day to do an activity that doesn’t require a screen—like reading a book (paperback or hardcover), going for a walk, playing a board game, etc.

Tip Number Nine: Set Timers When Working

An orange clock.

This trick has worked wonders for me during my time in high school up until now. The method I’ll be sharing is heavily inspired by the Pomodoro Technique. When I have an assignment to do, I usually set a timer for about an hour and commit myself to working with no breaks during that time frame. After an hour is up, I take a fifteen to twenty-minute break and then repeat. I find that doing this makes me way more productive than doing work for hours on end.

Tip Number Ten: Boost Your Productivity

A woman sitting on her bed with her laptop and a cup of coffee.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, but still want to get some work done, try doing other tasks that are not as difficult to complete. This should be something easy for you to do both physically and mentally, that way you can still get things done without overworking yourself. If at any point you’re feeling too overwhelmed to do anything at all, then taking a break is certainly the most productive thing you can do.

Online learning has definitely been a learning curve for everyone, however, these tips can help make the adjustment into this new learning environment a lot easier. With so much uncertainty surrounding the continued practice of learning online, growing accustomed to it from now can help normalize its use until it is safe to return to regular in-person classes.