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 about Deborah’s third day below:

Hi again, everyone. It’s my third day working with the NBA’s IT Team as a member of the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team, which means I only have two more days left in New York City.

I really wish it wouldn’t end; it would be a dream-come-true to do this everyday.


Networking with industry professionals

Earlier this week, I met with the Network Administrator in charge of the Barclays Center’s network. His name was Dan, and like all the NBA IT members, he was open to discussions and willing to give his thoughts on getting into a networking career.

I was surprised to learn that Dan is a Cisco Networking Academy graduate! It gave me hope to meet someone from the Networking Academy and see how he took advantage of the opportunities in front of him.

When Dan graduated, he wanted to join a consulting firm, specifically one looking for Cisco certified employees. Consulting firms require people to learn different technologies, and Dan started his career running cables. He worked his best at it, and when other areas became available, he jumped on them, learning all he could while enjoying the work.

My final question to Dan was, “Are you still happy coming to work in the morning or are you getting tired of it?”. His smile grew wide and he said, “I love it!” — I knew immediately that he truly meant what he had said.

Dan’s passion is exactly what I’m looking for in a career, and to see it personally made me really happy for Dan and excited for myself. Thank you for your time, Dan, and for showing me that finding your dream job is possible.

Putting networking skills to the test

My assignment on Monday was to work at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel — home to some of the NBA players for the week! The rooms were being set up with switches, printers, access points and IP phones.


The Dream Team assisted in running the cables and crimping the ends before plugging them into the phones. At one point, a phone jack in one of the rooms stopped working. We spent the afternoon checking cables, swapping out our equipment with store-bought cables, and verifying that the phone jack was properly wired to the closet.

Nothing seemed to work, so we decided to take the jack cover off and check the jack itself.  After inspecting the equipment, an NBA technician rewired the jack and tested again, to no avail.

It was interesting to get an up-close look at the wall jack, as I had never seen how they were wired. It is much different than crimping the patch cables, and I learned a lot about the design of the hotel’s network.

After re-wiring the jack, it still didn’t work, and the technicians checked their bags for one last wall jack. They installed it, and this time, everything worked! It was amazing to see how the NBA’s IT team went through the troubleshooting process and finally figured out the correct solution.

Near the end of the day, the NBA technicians had to go to one of the other venues and asked us to set up a room on our own. We brought down the switches, access points, phones and boxes of cables. Then, used our lessons from the engineers to run the cable and set up the room — it looked good, but we had to leave before the technicians came back to test the configuration.


I will have to reach out to the project manager to ask for any feedback on what they found when they returned to the room. Hopefully, it worked perfectly!

I am really enjoying the experience and cannot wait for each day to start. However, I am dreading next week when I go back to my regular days without all of this excitement. It’s motivated me to start looking into networking careers!

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

Read Andrew’s blog from Day 4 at NBA All-Star 2015.



Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco