Ohio University

Upgrading OHIO’s network: ECT students get hands-on experience

OIT's ongoing, multi-year network upgrade is all about providing increased capacity and reliability as OHIO becomes a University of Digital Transformation. The project itself is having a positive impact on students’ academic careers already, thanks to a partnership with the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies.

2019 ECT summer networking interns: Jack Stewart, Tyler Schwamberger, Manny Faza, Josie Book, Ben Kirk, Ross Shafer, Keaton Huffman Not pictured: Dillon Swatzel, Joseph Blake, Zachary Walter
2019 ECT summer networking interns (L-R): Jack Stewart, Tyler Schwamberger, Manny Faza, Josie Book, Ben Kirk, Ross Shafer, Keaton Huffman. Not pictured: Dillon Swatzel, Joseph Blake, Zachary Walters

At the end of spring 2019, OIT’s Network Distribution team realized that they would need more staff hours than they had available to complete summer network upgrades in the residence halls. Rather than bring on additional temporary staff – something that has proven difficult in the past – the team reached out to the McClure School to see if any of their students would be interested in a summer internship. After a few preliminary conversations with administrator Barb Moran, OIT network distribution manager Mike Dixon connected with associate professor John Hoag to give a short presentation about the project in Dr. Hoag’s networking class. That presentation convinced 12 ECT students to apply. Ultimately, 10 of those students joined the project for the entire summer.

The program turned out to be a great success for everyone involved. OIT was able to build a team of highly motivated student workers who quickly became a cohesive, effective unit within the larger project. For the McClure School, the project gave their students real world, hands-on experience in one of their prime fields of study. Not only did those students learn how to upgrade physical network infrastructure, they also saw what it takes to plan and coordinate a project of this size. When asked about the experience, many of the students noted that being part of an active upgrade and doing the actual work gave them new insights into concepts they studied in their classes.

The summer internship program may be over, but the relationship is not. Four of OIT's summer interns have joined the Network Distribution team as student workers for fall, and 4 others have accepted student jobs in other parts of OIT. We look forward to future collaborations with the McClure School and hope to expand such opportunities to other academic programs across the university.

Departments interested in pursuing OIT student internship opportunities should contact the IT Service Desk.