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Cisco Intern: From Homeless to Helping Others

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Tia Pope loves being a Cisco IT Engineering Intern, not only for the opportunity it gives her, but for the opportunity she has to share her story with young girls just like her to help excite them about technical fields. And boy, does she have a story!

Tia was raised in a single-parent family with seven siblings where they moved around a lot and were even homeless for a time.  Often, her education was secondary to ensuring her younger siblings were taken care of after school which left her with very limited time to complete her own homework. There were very few encouraging figures in Tia’s life as a child and frequently she was left to learn by trial and error, yet she was determined not to let her circumstances define her and continued to persevere.

Tia excelled in IB and AP level programs that were, unbeknownst to her, putting her on the right track for a higher education.  After graduation she thought she would simply join her siblings working on an assembly line – that’s where she was wrong.  A high school guidance counselor called her into his office one day and showed her a list of colleges that wanted to give her scholarships and enable her to continue her education due to her incredible GPA and time on the track team.  Prior to this moment, Tia wasn’t even aware of colleges beyond the technical school in her local community.

“I knew I wasn’t any of those things that others said I was – I wasn’t stupid, or lazy, or irresponsible.  So even though they discouraged me with those words, I didn’t want to believe them.  I had a dream and I knew not to ever give up on that dream,” Tia asserted.

Tia was living in a laundry room at the time she decided to attend the University of South Carolina for Civil Engineering, and took that acceptance letter to refuel her passion and ignite the direction of her future.  She was going to do something with her life!

Even in college, as the seemingly lone-female in predominantly male courses, Tia was given grief with a professor who even proclaimed that he “didn’t have to teach her” as she was already behind her classmates.  Again, Tia accepted the challenge and walked away with the second highest grade in the class.  On the verge of dropping out due to lack of support and guidance, however, Tia was then encouraged by her Dean to change her major to IT after she had helped to fix his computer one day, not even realizing who he was.  She took his advice and later, upon graduation, received 27 job offers in the midst of a tech boom.

Tia took the role that perhaps was not the shiniest, however it was where she knew she would learn and grow the most within the industry.  She became a Process Control Engineer and though she had no academic or professional background in this position, she was promoted four times in two years and became a Lead Engineer and managed multi-billion dollar, continuous improvement projects.  This lead to even more doors opening for Tia as she wanted to expand her knowledge even further.  She applied for grad school at Georgia Tech and is now working on her masters in computer science, which landed her an internship with Cisco.

What drew Tia to wanting an internship with Cisco was seemingly simple, of course, she loved Cisco’s products, but beyond that she loved the culture and dedication in giving back to our community, “I haven’t met another company that compares, yet,” says Tia. “There are a lot of cool tech companies that computer science students can choose.  I’m interested in security and networking, so that makes Cisco a prime candidate.  But this is the place to be!  Culture is what makes you want to stay with a company and build your entire career.”

Tia also loves that she’s been able to go to several schools and talk to young children about Cisco and what we do here.  It’s brought back memories of where she has been, and continued her passion into where she is going. She says many of the children aren’t quite sure about the tech industry but when they finally learn a little more about it and can understand how they can make an impact it truly opens their eyes.  Tia loves teaching the community about tech, but also how to gain further knowledge and opportunities in connecting and applying that knowledge.

She began a Google community called Nerdy Bones just for this very reason. What started as a way for women in tech to connect has now become a group with over 100 members that was recently designated as an official Georgia Tech campus organization that inspires both men and women to chase their dreams in the tech industry.

As Tia finishes her internship here at Cisco and heads back to complete her masters at Georgia Tech she is looking towards the future, and while she hopes to return to Cisco someday as an employee, she knows she will take forth the skills and attributes she has learned here.  She will continue to give back to her community, and empower and encourage women in computing and technology and the passions they possess.  Her advice to future interns?  “Don’t give up.  There is nothing that you cannot do, and you are capable of learning it all.  It is not impossible to learn.  Search out opportunities to grow – don’t just ask for help, go out there and find your own answers.”

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Developing a new angle on an established relationship

Over the past few years, Cisco and Intel’s collaboration has extended into the realm of Internet of Things, allowing the strength of each organization to bring the industry as a whole, forward. In the Internet of Things, devices need applications, analytics, network connectivity, security, storage, and computing power.  The partnership of Cisco and Intel offers comprehensive solutions working alongside several ecosystem partners.

Recently, during Cisco Live in San Diego, CA, we jointly showcased innovative IoT solutions and highlighted our collaboration on NFV:

  • A smart city demonstration, featuring Legos and Fog Computing, was on display in the Intel booth showing how easy it is for cities to implement IoT solutionsLego Smart City
  • Carlos Morales presented a captivating “Pre-Zen-tation” on Fog Computing, elaborating on how companies can extend the cloud to the edge
  • A highlight during the show was partaking in a #CiscoChat with Brad Haczynski, Intel’s Global Account Director, Sales and Marketing Group, encompassed around making IoT and IoE tangible with the power of collaboration. brad and jaishree

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Fog Can Help Shape the Future of IoT

Whenever I hear about a serious train accident, mugging or shootout on the streets of a city, my thoughts often turn to Fog Computing.  The same is true when I too am stuck idling in a traffic jam or at home and there’s a power outage during a winter storm or a summer heat wave.

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Why do I think about Fog Computing?  Well, my job at Cisco is to not only identify the latest disruptive Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, but also to validate where they might be applied to improve overall quality of life..  Whether it’s drones, artificial intelligence or robotics, my passion is to accelerate the art of the possible.

 

Lego Smart City shows what is possible

Consider Fog Computing.  Fog extends cloud computing to the edge of the network.  This provides a virtualized platform for compute, storage and network services between devices and data storage centers in the cloud.  Because of its low latency, location awareness, real-time interactions and wide geo distribution, Fog Computing can sense and respond to situations in the real physical world almost instantly.

The speed and power of Fog to connect people, data, processes and things opens up a new world of practical solutions.  For example, Fog Computing, when combined with sensors and wireless networks, can immediately alert the train operator as soon as there is trouble on the tracks, such as a slow-walking pedestrian or a stalled vehicle.   With Fog, energy loads can be automatically re-balanced or re-routed to alternative sources during spikes in demand or low availability.

In a Smart+Connected Community, acoustic sensors deployed around streets that are connected to Fog Computing infrastructure can identify gunshots, perpetrators, victims, accidents, or even cries for help with high accuracy while also alerting appropriate authorities.

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Cisco Delivers Improved Lync Interoperability

Did you know that Lync is a fully supported client in Cisco Collaboration Meeting Room (Cisco CMR) meetings.

When we say interoperability we mean it. Even when that means supporting proprietary protocols. For instance, to ensure that Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business users can fully experience the power of Cisco conferencing.

IDC released the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Unified Communications and Collaboration 2015 Vendor Assessment last month. In it, Rich Costello notes that Cisco is “perennially the worldwide market share leader in enterprise IP telephony solutions, as well as advanced capabilities such as telepresence, Web conferencing services, and enterprise session border control (SBC).” (Thank you IDC.)

That doesn’t mean we’re the only option. People sometimes need to use third-party endpoints and applications to connect to Cisco meetings. We’ve enabled Lync users to participate in Cisco conferences with high-quality voice and video for years. Now we’ve enhanced that experience by enabling them to also fully share and view content.  Read More »

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Cisco Honored at 20th Annual XChange Conference

I’ve had a great few days here in Washington, D.C. at XChange 2015. You might have seen David Durham’s blog from Monday with the event details, but if not, take a look at his post to get up to speed on the XChange event and Peder Ulander’s keynote that kicked off the event for Cisco.

On Monday and Tuesday we continued with excellent keynotes, tech symposiums and breakout sessions. I was also able to participate in some fantastic meetings where I got great feedback from partners on Cisco’s security strategy. You can rest assured I will take that back with me and continue shaping our strategy.

Your input is invaluable and I love coming to events like XChange in order to get that information directly from you. You never hesitate to let us know how we’re doing and it is much appreciated. It’s how we continue to provide partner programs that work for you.

While we’re talking about your feedback, I also wanted to thank you for providing your insight to The Channel Company, sponsors of XChange. They hand out the Annual Report Card (ARC) awards each year and those awards are based strictly on feedback from our partners. Read More »

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