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 Andrew’s first post below:

Hi everybody, my name is Andrew Torres. I’m currently enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses at SUNY Adirondack in upstate New York with hopes of earning my Cisco CCNA certification in routing and switching within the next few months.

andrewFB 2

About three weeks ago, my instructor, Karen Woodard, approached me with the opportunity to work with Cisco and the NBA’s IT team to help prepare and set up the venues in New York City for NBA All-Star 2015. It’s an event so large that millions of people from around the world tune in to watch some of the league’s best basketball players take the court.

It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, especially after finding out that I would be part of the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team. It sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime experience!  I now have a chance to work in a live environment with skilled engineers to find out how much networking and technology goes into an event like this. I’ll learn everything from designs and topology, all the way down to the equipment and services that will be implemented for everything to function seamlessly.


Several years ago, while I was enlisted in the military, I often wondered what I wanted to do with my life after serving my country. I thought that I could possibly go into law enforcement or stay within a field that revolved around the military, but as time passed, I realized how much I enjoyed technology and the way it’s changing the world.

I wanted to dive into the world of networking and understand exactly how things work. At the time, I would have never imagined myself going to New York City to work side-by-side with some extremely talented engineers before the NBA All-Star 2015 festivities. Now, just a few years later, I’m beginning a new path in my life, doing something that very few people get the chance to experience.


I start my first day at the Barclays Center tomorrow, followed by Madison Square Garden this weekend. I don’t think I could be any more excited! I’ve never been to any of these places, and I was fortunate to touch base with a few fellow Dream Team members. I was intrigued to hear how their days in the city had gone, and it made me even more excited.

Visiting the city is new for me, and being able to say I’m going to help set up the NBA’s network  makes me feel like I’m involved in something so amazingly large. The Dream Team experience is bigger than I would have ever imagined, but with it, I’m hoping to walk away with new insights into networking from the perspective of the NBA’s engineers and IT teams.


Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to get some hands on experience with new equipment that I’ve never dealt with before. This is my first event working on anything networking-related, and I want to soak in as much information as possible.

I’ll be sure to take as many pictures as I can to remember this amazing experience for the rest of my life. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and meet a basketball player or two along the way!

Be sure to follow the #NetAcadNBA hashtag on Twitter for updates!

Read Deborah’s blog from Day 3 at NBA All-Star 2015.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco