ACMS Aces: Pauline Nuth

Pauline NuthThe Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) Business Office supports staff in the department in their day-to-day business needs. With such broad responsibilities, no two days are ever the same for the Business Office’s staff. One of the people who nimbly responds to such varied duties is Executive Assistant Pauline Nuth.

Pauline wears many hats in her position. “My duties are split up between assisting Jeff [Director of ACMS] with his travel and scheduling and…business tasks, helping Elizabeth and Tina with travel reimbursements, reconciliation, and assisting them with the budget book and some other special projects,” she explained. When other departments reach out to ACMS, Pauline is often one of the first points of contact. She has a lot of experience in this role from her time as the department’s Receptionist and Administrative Assistant.

As part of her position, Pauline helps improve how ACMS delivers services to campus. To help achieve this goal, she recently she redesigned the quote that customers receive when they order Media Event Support services. “These changes were intended to make it a much more intuitive process for them to read the quote and also ask us questions,” Pauline explained. Her work helped create a streamlined ordering system that generates quotes that concisely breakdown services and charges in a new, modern statement. The system also provides data for all Media Event Support jobs, like frequently rented items and popular services. This helps Pauline and ACMS better understand customer needs and trends in requests so they can provide UC San Diego with the best service possible.

Pauline likes that she gets to work on many different projects. One of her favorite examples was ACMS’s collaboration with faculty who received Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) funding to create videos for online education. She found it exciting to help the project get off the ground through assisting with initial budgeting and to watch the ILTI videos as they have progressed.

Pauline is a UC San Diego graduate. As a former student, she recommends that more current students take advantage of the GoVirtual computing lab, which enables UC San Diego students to access many of the same software programs found in computer labs from anywhere with a broadband connection.

As the first in her family to graduate college, Pauline is thrilled to be part of UC San Diego’s staff. She was drawn to working at UC San Diego because of the fact her work would support the University’s educational mission. “You’re part of a team,” she said, “and I think that the most rewarding part is to be able to work with others to produce a successful end product. Whether that’s providing customer service or assisting with even one component of producing this new pilot project, I definitely find that rewarding and exciting.”

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

Faculty Feature: Amy Lieberman

An example of one of the Media Teaching Lab's cameras available for checkout

Mitchell Wright of the Media Teaching Lab with one of the Media Teaching Lab’s cameras available for reservation.

Dr. Amy Lieberman, Research Scientist at the Center for Research on Language at UC San Diego, had an ambitious idea for her Child Language Acquisition course: have her students experience every aspect of obtaining a language sample, in this case an example of a parent and child communicating. Though she had plenty of subjects that her students could observe to get their sample, she quickly ran into a roadblock. “I couldn’t figure out how to get access to video cameras that the students could use,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman contacted the Media Teaching Lab to see if they could support her course. Adriene Hughes, Managing Producer-Director at the Media Teaching Lab, saw an opportunity to support UC San Diego’s campus goal of improving the student experience. She used Lieberman’s class as a pilot project for the expansion of the equipment checkout service, which was planned for Fall Quarter 2014. “I was thrilled to hear this as it was the one missing piece I needed to be sure I could go ahead with assigning this student project,” Lieberman said.

The Media Teaching Lab purchased three cameras that were easy to operate and provided better quality video and audio than a cell phone video camera could provide. Adriene gave an in-class demonstration of how to use the cameras and check out equipment from the Media Teaching Lab. “There were three cameras and about 20 student groups, yet we have never had an issue with a camera not being available,” Lieberman said, “All students have been able to access a camera when needed.”

The Media Teaching Lab made the equipment checkout process easy for the Child Language Acquisition students. Students made reservations to check out cameras online through the online equipment checkout system. “The student feedback has been uniformly positive,” Lieberman said. “Everything from checking out the cameras, filming the child, transferring the files, and returning the camera has been seamless.”

Working with the Media Teaching Lab enriched Lieberman’s class. “The collaboration [with the Media Teaching Lab] has made all the difference in being able to assign students a project that I feel has been one of the most effective learning experiences in the class, in that it is hands-on and interactive,” she said. “I’m sure that there will be countless classes (including my own) that will benefit from this program in the future.”

To find out how your course can receive support from the Media Teaching Lab, contact Adriene Hughes at (858) 534-1175 or email.

ACMS Aces: Scott Calman

Scott CalmanAcademic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) provides UC San Diego with many different services ranging from student email to virtual software labs to the learning management system Ted. These services are supported by the servers in the ACMS computer room. Systems Administrator Scott Calman is part of the Computing Infrastructure team that keeps these servers running.

Scott primarily supports Windows servers, with some work on Linux and Macintosh servers sprinkled in from time to time. Since starting with ACMS, one of Scott’s biggest projects has been configuring systems with VMware virtualization software to allow multiple servers and services to run on the same physical hardware. Services such as email and the campus LMS will run more smoothly and efficiently once this configuration is finished.

Scott first came to UC San Diego in 2002 when he joined the Department of Psychology. He later moved to the Jacobs School of Engineering, supporting the Structural Engineering program. “UCSD has a mission of educating young people and furthering research and those are two things I fully stand behind. I’ve never felt better about a job than I have here,” Scott said when describing why he came to UC San Diego. “I go home feeling like, ‘Well, I didn’t just make another widget today.’ I’m furthering knowledge.”

Immediately prior to joining ACMS, Scott worked for the California Institute of Technology at the Palomar Observatory. Scott lived on the top of Palomar Mountain for two years with his family while he provided technical support for the Observatory where he worked during the day shift to prepare the telescope for the night staff who would do research in the evening. The experience was fun for Scott and his family. “Two years up there was really awesome for my kids. They got to live in the snow while still being in San Diego,” Scott said. “I did a lot of hiking and really learned the area very well.”

Systems administration is not Scott’s first career. He worked as a plumbing contractor before going back to school. “I never would have really considered [IT] had I not taken a series of tests that showed I should be a programmer through a vocational program,” Scott explained. During his technical training, Scott moved to server support and networking and has never looked back.

When he is not working on computers, Scott takes pleasure in restoring classic cars. “I grew up in a family where we’ve been restoring cars pretty much most of my life so I’ve done a ’27 Cadillac, ’36 Cadillac, 1929 Graham Paige, [and] a ’26 Dodge 1 ½ ton truck,” Scott said. He is currently working on a 1930 Austin 7 (“a tiny, little English car—think clown car…it’ll go 30 [mph] downhill with the wind behind it”) and a 1964 Dodge (“my fun car”).

Thanks for all of your hard work keeping things running smoothly under the hood here at ACMS Scott!

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

ACMS Aces: Jonny Kent

Jonny KentThe Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) Computing Infrastructure team provides a host of services that keep ACMS’s core services running smoothly for faculty, students, and staff. The team recently added Systems Administrator Jonny Kent  to its ranks.

“I’m really a behind-the-scenes person,” Jonny said when describing his work with Computing Infrastructure. “I administer computers to support the labs and of course the staff as well.” Jonny’s work supports approximately 2,600 computers in labs across UC San Diego. Much of Jonny’s work is done remotely, but he sometimes installs software in labs at the request of faculty who want to deploy specific software to support their courses. “ACMS does a really great job managing the number of computers and the number of labs that [we] do,” Jonny said. “For the number of computers that [we’re] running, I think it’s great.”

To illustrate how he supports the systems that underpin ACMS’s services, Jonny spoke about one of his projects. “At the moment I’m writing some scripts to install a backup client that works on Windows to go to our existing UNIX backup system, which doesn’t support Windows.”

Jonny has a long and varied history working in information technology. He began his career in telecommunications in his native New Zealand and has been a production engineer and software engineer with several technology firms in the United States. This varied experience helps Jonny bring different perspectives to projects and tasks in his current role as a Systems Administrator.

ACMS is not Jonny’s first experience working in higher education. Earlier in his career he worked at Bond University in Queensland, Australia, where he wrote software to manage laboratory experiments that synthesized peptides.

Prior to joining ACMS, Jonny was at UC San Diego Associated Students, providing a variety of IT services.

In his free time, Jonny roasts his own coffee beans and is an active member of the San Diego Home Roasters. He combines his professional skills with this passion, using software to interact with the electronic controls of his roasting system. Jonny also enjoys traveling. His last trip was a tour of the UK that took him to London, Brighton, and Cornwall.

Welcome to ACMS Jonny!

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

ACMS Aces: Robert Davalos

Robert DavalosComputer Room & Lab Operations administers more than 120 computer labs with close to 2,000 computers across the UC San Diego campus. Robert Davalos is the newest Computer Resource Specialist to join the team.

“We ensure that all the computers are working and stable, all the programs are working, [and] that the lab itself is in good shape,” Robert said when describing his duties. Though he personally oversees 38 labs containing 402 computers across seven different buildings, Robert jumps into action to provide support for any computer lab that Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) administers. This means that he also works in department labs where ACMS provides computing resources, like Physics, Biochemistry, and Music

Though new to UC San Diego, Robert has wanted to provide computing support in an educational setting for a long time. He was thrilled to have the opportunity to put his computer skills to work in support of higher education.

Robert covers the night shift for the computer labs to make sure that students get support outside of the campus’s regular business hours. He enjoys working on the night shift because it gives him a different view of campus. “The whole campus is different at night,” Robert explained. “Geisel looks amazing. It’s a lot quieter, a different crowd.”

One of Robert’s first projects was being part of the ACMS team that set up the computer lab in the Raza Resource Centro. “We helped position all of the computers, we helped move all the desks, and we did all the networking and cable management,” he said, describing his involvement. After ACMS’s Computing Infrastructure team configured the computers, Robert helped test them to ensure they connected to the network, all the programs worked, and they were able to print.

Since he works the night shift, Robert enjoys his daylight hours as much as possible by getting outdoors. One of his favorite activities is skimboarding, which uses a thin surfboard for skimming along shallow water on the beach. He also enjoys snowboarding in the winter, off-roading in the desert, and fishing.

Another of Robert’s passions is music. He plays the guitar and is working on mastering the piano, but he is also an experienced DJ, having mixed music at parties, weddings, and even the occasional club.

Look for Robert when he is out and about in the ACMS-managed computer labs keeping everything in tip-top shape. Welcome to the team!

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

ACMS Aces: Quyen Tran

Quyen Tran of ITSA major function of the ACMS Instructional Technology Support (ITS) group is providing faculty assistance with Ted, UC San Diego’s learning management system. Instructional Technology Support Assistant Quyen Tran is a new member of the ITS team and an addition to the first line of support for Ted.

“A big part of my job is helping faculty with everything related to Ted,” Quyen said. “I answer a lot of their questions through email or phone. Sometimes I [provide] in-person help.” Many times, this involves helping faculty navigate inside of Ted to find the feature that they need. When faculty encounter more complicated issues, Quyen works with other ITS members to ensure that Ted is running as smoothly as possible.

As a UC San Diego alumna, Quyen was familiar with Ted from the student side before she joined ITS. “As a student I didn’t know much about it, except that you could upload stuff on it,” Quyen said, “but now working on the other side with instructors I can see that you can do a lot…with it, such as facilitate really useful discussions.” Quyen is particularly impressed with the feature that lets faculty create tests inside Ted and save the questions for use in future courses. She also recommends that more faculty try the surveying tool and Ted’s i>clicker integration, which Quyen said is very easy after a little practice.

Quyen loves the fact that supporting faculty is a significant part of her job. “I get really, really excited when a professor is really happy about the work I did,” she said. Quyen can get a wide variety of requests assisting faculty with instructional technology needs and she often collaborates with other departments to find the right solution.

Though Quyen is new to ITS, she is an ACMS veteran. As a student, she previously worked at ResNet/Help Desk as a lead technician, providing first tier support for all of ACMS’s services. “The biggest difference is as a Help Desk technician you are expected to know a little bit of everything, to troubleshoot everything from networking to software to hardware,” Quyen explained. “Working at ITS, the main thing is that you have to know a lot of one thing, which is Ted and what it does.” Her time at the Help Desk prepared Quyen for her role with ITS by developing her customer service skills and ability to explain technical details to people who may not have a technical background.

Quyen spends much of her free time with her two dogs Belle the Husky and Lemon the Shar Pei/Golden Retriever mix. The trio can often be found at dog-friendly beaches, like Fiesta Island and the Ocean Beach Dog Beach. When not frolicking with her pups, she regularly dances and does yoga.

When you stop by Quyen’s office, check out her favorite item on her desk: a ninja star supporting two ninjas on springs, left there by a former occupant of the space. Quyen described her first encounter with it, saying, “I thought, ‘This is weird,’ so I tried to pick it up, but it’s stuck there. Now it’s actually becoming my favorite part of my desk because I like to bob it around.”

When you need help with Ted, give ITS a call at (858) 822-3315 or drop them an email Quyen and the entire ITS team are ready with their ninja skills to dispatch whatever issues you may encounter.

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

ACMS Aces: Rik Barnes

Rik Barnes of ITSTechnology has become a big part of teaching and learning at UC San Diego. Identifying and using tools to their best advantage can sometimes be a challenging task for faculty. Instructional Technologist Rik Barnes works with faculty to determine their instructional technology needs for a course and identify what tools are available to meet those needs. He supports their teaching by helping them to find the right tools to assist in managing their courses and provide a good student experience.

One tool already broadly used at UC San Diego is Ted, UC San Diego’s learning management system (LMS). Over 24,000 students at UC San Diego have at least one class that uses Ted. Rik helps faculty and TAs use Ted better. He demonstrates different features that faculty can use to manage their course and help students learn. This can include delivering course content through short videos, uploading slides or a syllabus, and creating online discussions through Ted.

As a member of the Instructional Technology Support (ITS) team, Rik is currently evaluating the training available for Ted and identifying how it can be improved and added to. “We’ve identified what we have now. We’re almost done identifying where we want to be,” Rik said. “Once we finish with that we’ll have the gap analysis to dissect, categorize, and prioritize the kind of training that the faculty” need to get the most out of Ted.

Rik was excited to join ITS and work at UC San Diego. “My favorite working environment is a college campus. The environment is just so energizing and optimistic,” he said. “UC San Diego is a wonderful institution and I knew I’d be surrounded by smart, intelligent, innovative, and questioning people and all that’s invigorating to me.”

Prior to joining ITS, Rik worked as an instructional designer in a variety of industries in the public and private sector. He worked directly with faculty in the field of online education at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District where he worked on fully online and hybrid courses. Rik’s hands-on work is bolstered by his master’s degree in instructional technology from San Diego State University.

Outside of work, Rik enjoys mountain hiking. Around San Diego he enjoys hiking Black Mountain, Iron Mountain, and Cowles Mountain, but he hasn’t limited himself just to the county. “One of the [hikes] that I’m proudest of is climbing up to the top of Half Dome,” Rik said. “That was a big challenge for me. I felt very good about completing that.”

Striving to reach new heights is clearly something that Rik does naturally, no matter whether it’s enhancing instruction or conquering a mountain. Faculty who want to find out how Rik and ITS can help them can contact the team at or (858) 822-3315.

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

ACMS Aces: Ernie Luna

Ernie LunaWhen upgrading or designing audiovisual (AV) systems in rooms, it is often hard for departments at UC San Diego to identify the best system to meet their needs. Audiovisual Design & Engineering, a recharge division of Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS), is here to help UC San Diego understand AV systems and make the right choices. They design and install AV systems across campus. Ernie Luna is the head of AV Design & Engineering.

“If it comes to anything audio and video, we do it,” Ernie said. He starts with a meeting to understand the needs of a department. “We really spend a lot of time talking to the people, finding out what they need to accomplish, what their expectations are, what type of people will be using the room. Then we can help them find something that’s going to do the job,” Ernie explained.

Ernie helps departments understand what different AV systems entail so they can make the right choices for their needs. AV systems are more than just a display on the wall. Electrical work is needed to provide power and receive content or perform videoconferencing. Additional equipment like cameras and a sound system are sometimes required as well. Ernie guides departments through the process of choosing a solution that fits their needs and budget.

AV Design & Engineering recently finished working on the new Biomedical Research Facility in the School of Medicine. They designed and installed the AV systems in 12 rooms, covering the spectrum of available systems. Two of the rooms have high-end videoconferencing equipment including dual cameras, dual LCDs, and a projector. “There [are] also some smaller rooms that are used for basic conferencing needs,” Ernie said, “as well as a presentation area, digital signage, and breakout areas in the lobby.”

Ernie began his career in AV engineering with an entertainment company that installed theme park entertainment systems. “It was fun,” Ernie said. “I traveled all over the world. I would do long stints installing these systems and they were high-end audio systems, 3D projection screens, and video motion simulation seats. It was a good use of AV technology for a very fun purpose. I liked that because it was a lot of work to do these systems, but the end result was people coming in and having a good time.” Ernie came to work at UC San Diego because of the investment that the campus was making in its future. “There’s been a lot of new research buildings, high-end education buildings,” Ernie explained, “and it’s definitely something you want to be a part of.”

If you want to explore AV solutions for your spaces, contact Ernie at or (858) 354-8498. Thanks for all that you do Ernie!

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

ACMS Aces: Brian Parent

Brian ParentAcademic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) provides a variety of services to UC San Diego to enhance teaching and learning. The foundation for many of these services is the network of servers and hardware that is overseen and maintained by the Computing Infrastructure group. One of the programmers who ensures the smooth operation of ACMS’s services is Brian Parent.

Brian’s team is responsible for systems administration for many of ACMS servers. “We take care of the LINUX and Solaris machines and keep their systems patched and up-to-date,” Brian said. These servers support services like student email, centralized file services, and perform tasks such as logging and monitoring. Brian’s team maintains servers used for various disciplines (including engineering, programming, and social sciences among others) to write and compile programs. The team also maintains data backups and supports student printing. Brian’s hard work behind the scenes prevents disruptions in service through planned maintenance and minimizes downtime when problems arise.

One of the best parts of Brian’s job is that he gets to solve problems as he administers systems. “Being stumped presents a challenge and it’s like a puzzle,” Brian said. “If you like to do puzzles, then you like to do this kind of work.” Brian added that, “we pretty much always know there’s a solution. There’s some way to fix [the issue at hand] or do it differently.”

Brian’s expertise comes in part from his long history working for ACMS. He has worked for the department for over 30 years, starting as a student worker with the department when he was an undergraduate at UC San Diego. “I saw some other students using fancy typewriters that would type everything for them. They were using word processors, which were new to me at the time,” Brian said. “I found the people at the Computing Center, which [would become ACMS], and I asked them questions. ‘How do I get an account? How do I do this word processing thing? Where do I get the paper?’ And on and on. I guess I asked enough questions that eventually they said, ‘Why don’t you come and work for us?’” When Brian graduated, he accepted an offer of full-time employment with the department. “I thought, ‘I’ll give it a shot. I’ll put in two or three years here and then I’ll get a “real job.”’’ And here I am, 29 years later, still at it,” Brian said with a smile.

LightRider picture

“LightRider” – Photo by Chuck Rose

Brian is an avid bicyclist, commuting to UC San Diego daily on his bike. “It’s good exercise and I get the best parking place on campus: my office. It’s the way to go,” Brian said. He encourages others to try biking, saying, “Anybody can do it who wants to.” Brian strongly recommends that people take a bike safety class, even though it may not seem like it may be unnecessary. “There are very specific behaviors that cyclists can use to improve their safety that are not intuitive and are against, in some cases, existing culture,” Brian explained. In the past, Brian has done his part to help promote bike safety, serving as a class instructor.

The next time you log onto your UC San Diego email or use a LINUX or Solaris machine, think of Brian and his team and the hard work they do keeping the servers that support these services running smoothly. Thanks Brian!

ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!

Faculty Feature: Zeinabu Davis

Professor Zeinabu DavisZeinabu Irene Davis, professor in the Department of Communication, teaches a wide array of courses to undergraduate and graduate students on subjects including film history and theory. An accomplished filmmaker, Professor Davis offers media production courses where students create their own video productions. Collaborating with the ACMS Media Teaching Lab enriches her students’ educational experience.

“I could not teach my courses without the Media Teaching Lab,” Professor Davis said, “Adriene [Hughes], Lev [Kalman], and Mitchell [Wright] are basically the other parts of my hand in terms of teaching here at UC San Diego.”

The Media Teaching Lab’s mission is to collaborate with all faculty in their courses. “In production it’s all about teamwork, and everyone plays a very important role in making a film happen,” Adriene Hughes, manager of the Media Teaching Lab, said. “Teaching is the same [kind of] effort.”

Professor Davis’s students take advantage of the numerous workshops offered by the Media Teaching Lab each quarter. With only three hours in class per week, Professor Davis does not have enough time to cover all of the aspects of video production that her students need. The Media Teaching Lab bridges that gap. “They are my teaching partners, that’s what I like to think of them as,” Professor Davis said, “because they will get the students through editing situations or they’ll get them through learning how to use the camera, the microphones, the lighting equipment, all those sorts of things.”

Some of Professor Davis’s students have a critical need for the Media Teaching Lab’s services. “Even though I’m in the Department of Communication, all of my students do not necessarily come from the department. Some of our courses service students outside of the major,” Professor Davis said. Winter Quarter 2014 saw graduate students from the Departments Ethnic Studies, Literature, and Sociology, as well as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, enroll in her courses. Media Teaching Lab workshops gave the students without a media production background the skills they needed to succeed in courses like those offered by Professor Davis. In fact, the Media Teaching Lab can support any UC San Diego course that has a need for video production resources, not just those from the Departments of Communications or Visual Arts.

In addition to training, the Media Teaching Lab provides students enrolled in media production courses with access to the Equipment Checkout Facility. Students can check out cameras, microphones, lights, and other equipment needed to create videos for their classes. They can also reserve time in one of the Lab’s editing suites to do post-production work on their projects.

Professor Davis could not overemphasize how much the Media Teaching Lab enhances her courses. “It’s really, really important to me that the Media Teaching Lab exists,” she said.

To find out more about how the Media Teaching Lab can support students enrolled in media production courses or graduate students who use media in their research, visit the Media Teaching Lab website or email them at

Faculty Feature is a series of articles highlighting faculty and their creative use of technology in the classroom. Check back regularly to find out how UC San Diego faculty are moving the future of education forward!