October 17, 2019
Hundreds of participants solved problems and celebrated technology at the inaugural Hudson Valley Tech Festival, held at SUNY Orange on October 11 and Mount Saint Mary College on October 12.
The colleges partnered with Open Hub to host the festival. The two-day event demonstrated how a growing regional technology industry can spur economic growth throughout the area, and strengthen relationships between employers, educators, skilled professionals, new graduates, and students.
The festival featured speakers, panel sessions, exhibits, and interactive workshops covering the latest developments in technology, such as open data, cloud, cybersecurity, web development, and the Internet of Things. The event highlighted industries and technology activities relevant to the Hudson Valley, including education, civic tech, and creative services.
“Our mission includes showcasing local technology, businesses, and talent, facilitating job creation, and driving innovation,” said Yulia Ovchinnikova, president of Open Hub and founder of the festival. “Mount Saint Mary College is a leader in delivering educational programs in high-growth fields. Those synergies – as well as the beautiful campus – make the school an ideal partner and host for our first Hudson Valley Tech Festival.”
A welcome by Mount President Dr. Jason Adsit kicked off the “Hackathon” on the second day of the conference, wherein the next generation of technology professionals tackled the question of how to recruit, train, and retain tech talent in the Hudson Valley.
Mount Education professors Ludmila Smirnova and Sonya Abbye Taylor were instrumental in making the second day of the Hudson Valley Tech Festival a success. About 50 local students, ranging in age from middle to high school, put their heads together to solve a variety of tech problems facing the Hudson Valley today.
Smirnova and Taylor noted that pairing teambuilding skills with technology is a great fit.
“It’s not just individuals thinking of single ideas,” said Taylor. “Group thinking means ideas can become much stronger, and that’s what we should develop in all the students of the Hudson Valley. When we work with our teacher-candidates at the Mount, we try to give them the same spirit of problem solving that you see here.”
Assisting with the Hudson Valley Tech Festival fits nicely with the Mount’s tradition of service and focus on becoming the most community-minded college in the country, noted Smirnova.
“The mission of our college is to work with the community,” she explained. “This,” she said, motioning towards the groups of students working together, “is what it’s all about. As a college, we develop specialists in many areas, many of them staying in the Hudson Valley.”
One of the Mount’s newest areas of specialization is Cybersecurity. Building on the existing concentration within the Information Technology major,the Cybersecurity major will be offered by the college’s Division of Mathematics and Information Technologyinthe fall of 2020. The major builds theoretical and hands-on skills to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities in software, operating systems, networks, and more. In addition, Cybersecurity will continue to be offered as a concentration for IT majors as well.
“Cybersecurity is a global crisis,” said Sagar Raina, assistant professor of Information Technology at the Mount. “As cyber threats and attacks are continuously increasing, there is a great demand for a skilled cybersecurity workforce. The Cybersecurity major and concentration at the Mount are designed to meet these demands by producing highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals.”
A major or concentration in Cybersecurity at the Mount can lead to careers in technology, security software, defense, government, teaching, e-commerce, banking, finance, business, and more.