Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team: Day One at NBA All-Star 2015

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Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team: Day One at NBA All-Star 2015

by Austin Belisle

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Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team: Day One at 2015 @NBAAllStar via @CiscoCSR #NetAcadNBA
Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 2:00pm


This week, Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility will follow Deborah Huyler and Andrew Torres, two Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team students, as they set up wireless access points, provide network troubleshooting, and soak in the sights and sounds of NBA All-Star 2015. They’ll be sharing their stories from Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center, and other event venues through journal entries, photo slideshows, and videos! Read Deborah’s first blog post below;

Hi, everyone! My name is Deborah Huyler, and I am a Cisco Networking Academy student from Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York.

I was selected to attend NBA All-Star 2015 as a member of the Dream Team. I will be assisting the NBA’s IT team in setting up the different networks around New York City during the week of the All-Star Game. I will be working at Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center, the Sheraton Hotel, and a few other venues. We will set up access points, run cables, and whatever else may be needed to make sure the All-Star network is live!

Today, I was assigned to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York — the home of the Brooklyn Nets. I had heard about this stadium before, but I’d never been there. I had to figure out where to go once I got to Grand Central Central Station, which was a little confusing. But, I found the number 4 subway after asking a few local travelers for directions. They were very helpful and made the trip very easy for me!

I was mesmerized by Nike’s NBA advertisements as soon as I stepped off of the subway – they had transformed the tunnels underneath Brooklyn. I walked past photos of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant as I made my way up a large set of stairs – and I was at the Barclays Center and the real work was about to begin.

When I stepped inside, I met Jeff and Scott from the NBA’s IT team. Jeff was the project manager for the Barclays Center and Scott was the network/phone technician. I shadowed Scott for the morning, setting up phones and power in a few of the arena’s inner rooms.

Scott used his laptop to configure phones from another office, and after he was done, asked if I would like to join him and configure the equipment by myself. He walked me through a few things, then let me activate the phones on my own — success! I was so proud of our team.

After, I had some time to walk around and see the different areas being built throughout the arena in preparation for the All-Star festivities. It was really exciting seeing how much effort is being put into this event, from the networking equipment to the behind-the-scenes construction.

I told the rest of the Dream Team that I will never see an NBA game the same way anymore — I had no idea how much networking was involved.

In the afternoon, the IT team ran into a few logistical problems and needed to work together to come up with a solution. They held a power meeting, and I was right in the middle of it — I felt like I was one of them! After the meeting, Jeff looked at us and said, “Okay Cisco, are you ready to go?”

At first, my heart sank, because it was close to the end of the day and I thought he was telling us to go home. But I quickly realized that he wanted us to join him in carrying out the plan. We followed Jeff and finished wiring the rest of the rooms!

The members of the NBA’s IT team work very well together, and it was a nice experience to see how they pull together to get any job done. We were successful in getting the bulk of the plan laid out, and I am sure they will get it operational.  Unfortunately, my time at the Barclays Center with Jeff and Scott is over.

I’ll be heading to the Sheraton Hotel later this week and look forward to sharing more of my stories!

Be sure to follow the #NetAcadNBA hashtag on Twitter and come back here to read more about Deborah and Andrew’s NBA All-Star 2015 experiences.

Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Business & Trade | Cisco | Corporate Social Responsibility | Diversity & Human Resources | Dream Team | Events, Conferences & Webinars | Human Resources | Media & Communications | NBA | NBA All-Star