School of BITM students are getting an athletic start to their careers

More than 10 Durham College (DC) students assisted in upgrading and stabilizing the wireless network at the Abilities Centre – a state-of-the-art sports and recreation facility in Whitby, Ont., – in preparation for the 2015 Parapan Am Games.

Thanks to Cisco Systems, Inc. – a leader in communications and Internet solutions and services – nearly a dozen third-year Computer Systems Technology students from the School of Business, IT & Management (BITM) received the opportunity to work on various aspects the centre’s existing network including, stabilization as new equipment was introduced; suggesting support mechanisms; and configuring the network in its new state. Students will also help to maintain the system throughout the event. 

As well as upgrading the current network at the Abilities Centre, students from this program, as well as from the Computer Systems Technician program, will volunteer alongside Cisco employees during the games as technical volunteers. DC students will assist spectators, competitors and media with any issues in connecting to and using the networks at a number of venues, including the Oshawa Sports Centre (GM Centre) and the President’s Choice Ajax Pan Am Ballpark as well as the Abilities Centre. 

This experience has also led to a partnership between DC and the Abilities Centre to provide third-year students with an ongoing opportunity to provide technical support, so they can gain valuable hands-on training. Current and future work at the Abilities Centre will also be used in case studies to teach real-world examples of how to upgrade and support such a large network. 

“This is a great hands-on experience for our students so they can not only see, but also have a hand in supporting, a real production environment network before they graduate,” said Laura Franks, coordinator of the Computer Systems Technology program at DC. “We’re also very pleased to partner with the Abilities Centre for ongoing opportunities for our students to learn real-world applications of what they study in the classroom.” 

Fifteen students from other DC programs will also be involved in the Pan Am Games, including three students from the School of Media, Art & Design who will assist the CBC in broadcasting the events and 12 students from the School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship & Renewable Technology who will help build and maintain residences for the athletes. 

The 2015 Pan Am Games run from July 10 to 26 followed by the Parapan Am Games, which run from August 7 to 15.