"College has been amazing. There are so many great relationships created in Seidenberg. I did not expect Seidenberg to be as close-knit as it is. The professors and students care. Everyone wants you to succeed."
– Mackenzie Dolishny, Class of 2020

When Mackenzie first arrived at Pace University Pleasantville campus in the fall of 2016, there is no question that she hit the ground running. With a major in computer science and a minor in mathematics, Mackenzie has quite the workload – an 18-credit schedule and extra-curricular on-campus activities.

Some of that workload is spent volunteering: as part of her Intergenerational Computing class, Mackenzie and her fellow students are required to volunteer twice a week with older adults. During these sessions, students learn what life is like as an older adult, including how interaction with computers and mobile devices can be restricted by physical and mental limitations.

Volunteering is extremely rewarding, though. While spending time with her new friends, Mackenzie got to hear about their lives, including fascinating stories about what it was like to live through the Great Depression and Second World War.

Alongside Intergeneration Computing, Mackenzie’s favorite class so far is Computer Programming II, which is taught by Dr. Mary Courtney. Mackenzie has enjoyed learning new concepts and has found the class structure easy to follow. “Dr. Courtney really creates a fun learning environment for our class,” she says.

Besides keeping busy with her classes, Mackenzie is involved with a few on-campus groups at Pleasantville. She is the Vice President of the Honors Council, where she serves as a liaison for students and helps to plan on-campus events. She is also the Vice President of Seidenberg Tech Collective, one of our computing clubs that meets every week during the semester.

In January, 2017, Mackenzie started as the lead developer in a multidisciplinary research project spanning three Pace University schools – Dyson, Lubin, and Seidenberg. The project aims to understand the effects of the environment on the pond that lies in the heart of the Pleasantville campus.

As one of the resident techies on the team, Mackenzie has been working on implementing pipe sensors in the pond that will collect data about the water temperature and store that data on a cloud-based server. Dyson’s role in the project is geared towards the environmental side, and Lubin aims to create a curriculum from this project and its findings for future students, as well as potential business projects.

That sure seems like a lot for a student in her first year to take on. You’d have to be extremely determined to sign up for more – and yet that’s exactly what Mackenzie did.

One of the results of Intergenerational Computing, which is taught by Dr. Jean Coppola, is that students can end the class having built a mobile application designed for use by older people. Those apps can be entered into competitions such as the annual #WestchesterSMART Mobile App Development Bowl and the Pace Pitch Contest. Guess who entered both with her team from the class, and guess who won a prize?

Alongside her teammates Ricky Harris and Daniel Citardi, Mackenzie presented the app VR Discover at first the Mobile App Development Bowl and then the Pace Pitch Contest. The team took home the second prize in the Mobile App Creativity category, which is an amazing achievement for a first year student!

So what did Mackenzie think about her first year at Pace? “College has been amazing. There are so many great relationships created in Seidenberg. I did not expect Seidenberg to be as close-knit as it is. The professors and students care. Everyone wants you to succeed,” Mackenzie says. “The students all root for each other and support one another in their endeavors.”

For students considering a career in computer science, Mackenzie has some advice to give: do not hesitate to ask for help. “Programming is not as simple as writing. There will be questions and it is okay to not know everything right from the start,” she says. “There are so many people willing and available to help you with any questions or concerns you might help.”

We’re very much looking forward to the rest of Mackenzie’s time with us at the Seidenberg School. After such an action-packed first year, the next three are bound to be just as exciting.

Thank you so much to Mackenzie for taking the time to chat with us!

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