An image shows a hand holding a smartphone flat in his palm, with various familiar tech icons hovering above it.

When a student comes to Adelphi University to study computer science, the curriculum is not one-size-fits-all.

In fact there are tracks to fit the interests of any budding technologist, from software engineering, cybersecurity and computer graphics programming to foundations of computer science and applied science. Accordingly, teaching students interested in these diverse areas of technology requires faculty members to have a broad understanding of the field.

Enter Sung Kim, JD, assistant professor in Adelphi University’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Kim earned a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, Mathematics and Economics, as well as a Master of Science in Computer Science from Dartmouth College, working on the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Lab on network-based security. He then went on to the NYU School of Law, after which he specialized in patent litigation involving high-tech patents.

Since joining the ranks of Adelphi’s full-time faculty in 2019, Kim’s research has largely focused on cybersecurity and human-computer interaction, though he still maintains an interest in data privacy and the intersection of law and policy with technology.

With this diverse educational background and résumé, Kim is uniquely prepared to mentor students across the field of tech. “As part of my work in law, I worked on understanding the different technology at issue to analyze the products at issue and to explain the material to the court and to the jury,” Kim said. “This experience helped inform my teaching style as I had practice getting to the heart of the matter and figuring out key issues that need to be explained and to identify potential areas of confusion.”

Kim teaches subjects from programming and cybersecurity to applied cryptography, but he finds his senior capstone course particularly rewarding because of the variety of creative projects the students develop.

“I encourage my students to find an idea that resonates with them as they will be working on the project for a full year,” Kim said. “Over the years, I’ve seen some really creative applications of what the students have learned during their career at Adelphi, and the opportunity to present their hard work at the research conference is so important to them.”

Computer Science Projects Represent the Wide Range of Tech Paths

Some students who Kim mentored for Scholarship and Creative Works Conference projects applied their personal interests to their endeavors, others developed applications to solve problems and still others sought to develop solutions to technology problems in business.

Kim said, “Over the course of a year, I get to oversee as many as 12 projects covering different topics and areas of focus. For me, this allows me to dive into different areas and play around with different areas of technology as well.”

Students Bo Nappie, Martin Genao and Giovanny Joseph developed a mobile app called Woof, which allows users to find pet-friendly accommodations and businesses when traveling.

“We aim to bridge the gap between pet owners and businesses, making it easy for pet owners to plan pet-friendly trips and excursions, whether it be a local outing or a family vacation, because pets are family too,” Nappie said. “Leveraging data from application programming interfaces, our application establishes a central repository of pet-friendly businesses, events and reviews from fellow pet owners.”

The Woof app was designed with a user-friendly interface and accessibility, and offers the ability to specify location preferences via geolocation services. It also provides local businesses with opportunities to promote their pet-friendly events and locations.

Nappie said that creating and sharing the team’s project at the conference was a deeply meaningful experience, representing the culmination of their collective creativity, autonomy and collaborative efforts. “Sharing our project with others is a moment of pride, demonstrating our ability to overcome challenges and deliver impactful results,” Nappie said. “I feel as though this project fueled an entrepreneurial spark in me.”

Jordan Rivas, Kennie Dionísio, Kaleb Gailyard and Derek Feliu developed a 3D tower defense-style game called Eternal Guardian, built using the Unity game development platform, that immerses players into a realm where strategic thinking and resource management are paramount. Players, each with unique abilities, are tasked with strategically defending various types of towers along predetermined pathways to thwart enemy advances. As the game progresses, players must adapt their strategies, utilize power-ups to overcome evolving enemy threats.

Rivas says that Eternal Guardian offers not only entertainment, but also cognitive skill development, problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills and strategic planning.

“My team and I see this conference as a significant opportunity to share our accomplishments that we have achieved over the course of our senior year,” he said. “We look forward to other curious individuals testing, enjoying and inquiring about our game that we’ve spent countless hours working on. Creating this project helped us realize that we are capable of effectively taking on challenging projects and delivering successful outcomes.”

According to Rivas, Kim was a great help in guiding the team on how to structure their effort and provided crucial feedback on the overall development process. “It was super helpful to have a third party review our progress biweekly and give comments on where we succeeded or where we came up short—overall, he was an amazing help, and without him I don’t think our project would be a fraction of what it is now,” Rivas said.

Matthew Ramnarace and Justin Torres presented a gap analysis that aimed to uncover the areas that information technology organizations struggle with around the field of cybersecurity. The main focus points of their project are cyber threats, compliance, remote work settings and cloud security.

As part of their gap analysis, Ramnarace and Torres reviewed case studies and available data to describe the current state of how organizations deal with cyber threats, and then proposed a best practices approach for organizations to prepare for cyber threats.

Ramnarace says that though he has a background in audio visual integration systems and computer networking, this project allowed him to diversify his skill set within the information technology field.

“Cybersecurity is a growing field and learning about the threats we face and ways to combat these threats promotes our safety in the online world,” Ramnarace said. “Justin and I believe that our newfound knowledge will be beneficial to others who are looking to learn more about cybersecurity and the modern threats that we face.”

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