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.

 

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.

Pace University Students Win IBM 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge

It’s our honor to congratulate four Pace University students on winning IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge. Three Pace alumni, Ajinkya Datalkar ‘20 (MS in Computer Science), Manoela Morais ‘20 (MS in Financial Risk management), and Chimka Munkhbayar ‘20 (MS in Entrepreneurial Studies), worked in collaboration with one of our current students, Helen Tsai ‘21 (MS in Computer Science), to develop their game-changing project.

The team worked together to develop their app, Agrolly, with the intention of helping farmers with little resources combat issues caused by climate change. Unlike larger farming industries, small farming businesses have limited access to information that can increase their chances of making smarter business decisions. That’s where Agrolly comes into play.

The team’s app provides a low-cost solution to providing farmers with long-term weather forecasts that can be used to make better judgments about the crops they should grow and when they should grow them. Other features of the app include information about crop water requirements, which is dependent on factors such as location, the type of crop, and the stage of the farm. Additionally, farmers can use Agrolly to keep in contact with other farmers and share solutions using a text and image-based forum. Agrolly also has an algorithm in place to calculate most of the risk assessments for farmers using the app.

In response to the team’s major achievement, Seidenberg Dean Dr. Jonathan Hill says, “One of the really exciting things about our team’s win is that it was a combined team of Seidenberg students and Lubin students. One of the great values of a Pace education is that it can be so interdisciplinary. Our technology students benefit from working with students who are being educated in business, the arts, healthcare and the other disciplines at Pace. It makes for a real world experience and it makes for strong, winning teams.” IBM’s Call for Code Challenge offered Pace students of varying disciplines the opportunity to collaborate and make use of their unique skills and assets.

With the development of their app Agrolly, these students have made an impactful step towards addressing climate change, which is becoming more and more of a concerning issue. Our only hope is that their accomplishment inspires more students to make a positive change by finding solutions to real-world problems. Once again, congratulations to Team Agrolly and we hope to see this amazing app grow in both use and development.

Seidenberg’s New Graduate Degrees: a Masters in Cybersecurity and a Masters in Data Science

This year, Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems has introduced two new graduate degrees to its list of programs: a Masters in Cybersecurity and a Masters in Data Science. With these new degrees available, students will get a chance to explore concepts they may have previously touched on in other courses regarding computing theory or web security. By pursuing one of these graduate degrees, those wanting to expand their knowledge of these subjects will have the opportunity to learn more about their favorite topics, while also increasing their chances of making a livelihood from them.

Potential Careers With Masters in Cybersecurity and Data Science Programs

With a masters in either cybersecurity or data science, the careers you wish to pursue can expand significantly. If you’re interested in studying cybersecurity, then maybe being a cyber crime analyst or incident analyst is perfect for you. Or, if you decide to study data science, you might consider becoming a data applications architect or a machine learning engineer. Whichever path you choose, the potential careers down below can give you an idea of the jobs you can get with one of these degrees.

Why a Masters Degree in Cybersecurity?

One of the biggest advantages of specializing in cybersecurity is that it expands your list of employers significantly. With a majority of services being held online, especially during the wake of the ongoing pandemic, those with a concentration in web security are needed now more than ever. It is important to know that cybersecurity is necessary for a majority of the applications and services that we enjoy today. For example, it’s essential for securing your financial information when online banking or shopping, and it also ensures the protection of your medical records when using healthcare services. The Cybersecurity Curriculum also includes a variety of electives for students to explore. From classes like Introduction to Homeland Security to Web and Application Security, the range of electives offered helps students study aspects of cybersecurity that most align with their career aspirations.

By the end of this graduate program, students are encouraged to complete their capstone project, which is essentially a real-world test of the knowledge they’ve acquired on cybersecurity. Participating in this project prepares students for the expectations that will be required of them in their future careers. Also, as a way of replicating a team-oriented working environment, students are expected to work together in groups, which will teach them the importance of effective communication, delegation, and compromise.

Why a Masters Degree in Data Science?

Just like cybersecurity, data science is becoming increasingly relevant in the online services we frequently use. This field of computer science, which is the application of collected data, is essential to helping organizations know how to further improve their services. These improvements are determined by studying the patterns of the information gathered and assessing the most effective way to utilize it. The Data Science Curriculum here at Pace not only touches on the fundamentals of data science, but it also provides students with the chance to take an elective outside of the given computer science options. This opportunity lets students explore a topic outside of computer science, where data science can still be applicable.

The capstone project at the end of this program is more of an independent course that provides students with the freedom to take their assignment into a multitude of directions. Despite it being a less group-oriented project, assistance and recommendations from the instructors of this course are still an option for students. With this project, students will be tasked with analyzing existing data and determining the best methods needed to identify and solve potential issues. Completing this project will encourage students to make use of their data science knowledge in practical work situations, thus preparing them for a smooth transition into the workforce.

The Takeaway

If you have a love for cybersecurity or data science and want to further your knowledge on these subjects, then pursuing one of these degrees may be perfect for you. Working towards one of these graduate degrees can open up a wealth of opportunities. Becoming an expert in your field can make you much more marketable to employers, and it can increase your chances of being promoted to higher-paying positions. If you’re interested in learning more about either of these programs, please feel free to check out Seidenberg’s website for additional information.