ACMS Aces: Debbie Mowry

Debbie MowryDebbie Mowry is Facilities Manager for Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS). This role has her switching hats throughout a typical day. Debbie oversees the maintenance and upkeep of the Applied Physics & Mathematics building (AP&M) where ACMS’s main offices are located, ACMS-managed computer labs, part of the Communications building (home to the Media Teaching Lab), and even some lecture halls. Included in her duties is designing computer lab floor plans and ensuring that they meet all legally mandated requirements. She coordinates repairs and maintenance for these physical spaces and ensures the security through key and lock management.

As Safety Coordinator, Debbie arranges for training to ensure the department remains properly educated about how to handle emergency situations, ensures that ACMS keeps proper emergency and first aid supplies, and maintains the ACMS Emergency Action Plan. Debbie maintains the ACMS inventory, including coordinating ACMS’s fleet of carts. She also oversees the supplies for printers in the computer lab of the ACMS large format printer to ensure that the department always has sufficient supply on hand.

This summer, Debbie completed several projects that improved ACMS spaces. At ACMS’s main offices in AP&M, she undertook a much-needed deep cleaning project that included all staff offices and the building’s lobbies and stairwells. These projects included coordinating the improvement of the AP&M basement, where students often study between classes. New furniture with built in electrical plugs make it easier for students to study in the area. Another planned improvement is new paint for the AP&M basement computer lab to brighten up the space. Debbie also helped coordinate the recent improvements to the Media Teaching Lab, which included new flooring, acoustic panel installation, painting, lighting upgrades, and lock upgrades.

Debbie has worked at ACMS for 28 years, so it is no surprise that she is part of a network of facilities professionals at UC San Diego. “I do a lot of coordination with other facilities managers throughout campus on trying to improve certain areas that we have computer labs in, as well as just maintaining a camaraderie between all of them so we all have a really good flow of communication into Facilities Management to try to help them,” she said.

Debbie plays soccer three or four times a week in different leagues. Though she sometimes plays against younger teams, she holds her own. “It’s not necessarily about speed. It’s about smarts,” she said. Debbie travels to soccer tournaments a couple of times a year and has participated in tournaments in Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, Washington, Virginia, Utah, and Nevada, as well as local tournaments around the San Diego area.

Thank you Debbie for all you do to keep ACMS spaces bright and pleasant for students and staff at UC San Diego!

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 Park

Brian ParkMany courses need computing resources, like specific software deployed in computer labs or access to labs, for students to succeed. The Instructional User Services unit works hard to get students and courses properly provisioned for the start of each quarter. Brian Park is part of this team. “We do a lot of setting up webmail, setting up [student] accounts and making sure they have the right allocations for [their] courses, and setting up courses with whatever professors request,” Brian explained.

As a former student technician with the Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) Help Desk/ResNet unit, Brian has a lot of experience helping with a wide variety of computing issues. In his prior position, he sometimes escalated issues to the User Services group. Now Brian receives requests from Help Desk/ResNet technicians. “My prior work at the Help Desk really helped [me] because I was already familiar with the issues and the solutions,” Brian explained, “but now I could finally implement them myself.”

Brian also proactively provides users with resources to address issues themselves. He recently reviewed and improved help articles on acms.ucsd.edu. Thanks to these efforts, up-to-date information on common questions for UC San Diego users is now available.

One of the things that Brian likes most about his position is that he gets to help others through his work. “What I love to do is fix things,” he said. As a UC San Diego alumnus, he knows first-hand what students go through. His goal is to provide every student with a positive experience.

A piece of advice that Brian has for current students is to take the opportunity to work at UC San Diego. “Not only do you learn what you’re specializing in very well, but you learn to field other issues because you’ve got to forward [them] to other departments,” he explained. “It helps you map out how the University is structured. That helps you a lot as a student. If I have a problem with this, I know exactly where to go to and I can help my friends out with that.”

Like many Tritons, Brian studied abroad during his college years. He brought back with him an unexpected memento of his studies in the Netherlands. He found it when he was browsing the meager pickings of the English language shelf in a bookstore. “I couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to read, so I just kept looking,” he related. “I realized there was this one book I kept skipping over because on the spine the title was worn out. I pulled it out and it was The Genius and the Goddess by Aldous Huxley and I love Huxley. He’s always been one of my favorites so I just bought it. I read it and it was so good, I read it in one sitting…it’s beautiful and thought-provoking.”

The next time you need help with your computing accounts, give the ACMS Help Desk a call. It just might be Brian who gets everything running smoothly for you again. Thanks for all your great work 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!

ACMS Aces: Pedro Cruz

Pedro CruzDepartment veteran Pedro Cruz is one of the five Assistant Directors of Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS). He oversees Computer Room & Lab Operations, Hardware Technical Services, Desktop Support, and Facilities.

Computer Room & Lab Operations and Hardware Technical Services work together to install and maintain approximately 115 computer labs throughout campus. Hardware Technical Services designs and maintains the computer networks in the labs and repairs machines with hardware problems. Computer Room & Lab Operations installs the computers, printers, projectors, furniture, and security systems. How does Pedro make sure these groups do their job? “Stay out of their way!” he reported. “I talk with each of the supervisors and the staff on a regular, daily basis and make sure that they’ve got what they need.”

One of Pedro’s priorities is making sure that students have good computer labs to work in. He frequently observes how students are using the labs to find ways to improve them. He cited one example: “I’ll go to the Triton Lab at the Price Center and I’ll sit there for just a couple minutes just to observe how people are sitting down, where they’re putting their backpacks, how they’re using their laptops on our laptop stations and are they actually plugging in their laptops or just using it for a flat surface, and seeing how people collaborate with each other and move around.” He then makes improvements across campus so students have a better experience in computer labs.

Pedro moved up through the ranks of the Hardware Technical Services group over his long career with the department, working in “almost every aspect of Operations, Technical Services, [and] Facilities Management.” This helps him work productively with his staff, especially when he combines his experience with their view from the field. “One of my goals is to make sure that I stay abreast of what’s really going on out there, because they’re the ones that are doing all of the work and now they know better than I do exactly what’s happening,” Pedro said. “I rely on their expertise, their eyes, and their ears to keep things going. The staff is very well trained. They’re committed to providing good service to the campus.”

In addition to being a member of the UC San Diego community for nearly 30 years, Pedro has deep roots in La Jolla. His parents met in La Jolla and he was born at Scripps hospital when it was located on Prospect Street. His father built one of the original “mud huts” that served as one of the residence halls on campus. Over the years, Pedro has seen the La Jolla area change and expand with the addition of highways, buildings, and shopping centers. “From the roof [of the AP&M building where ACMS is located] I can see where I was born, where I had my first job, where I used to live, where I grew up,” he said. In fact, Pedro has never worked east of Interstate 5.

Away from work, Pedro is an avid sportsman. He is a skeet shooter, archer, fisherman, and golfer. When it comes to golfing, he says, “I’m not very good at it, but I have a good time no matter what my score is.” Pedro spends most of his free time with his family, “whether it’s going to the beach, hanging out in the backyard, or going to a park. Family is a priority for me.”

Thanks for everything you do to keep things running smoothly, Pedro!

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: Emily Mack-Maulupe

Emily MackNo two days are the same for Emily Mack-Maulupe. As an Administrative Assistant, she works with every unit in Academic Computing & Media Service (ACMS) and is one of the department’s many public faces.

One of Emily’s primary duties is to facilitate Media Event Support orders and billing. She receives requests for special event audiovisual (AV) equipment and services and creates estimates. Once the order is approved, she performs the internal scheduling to ensure the event goes smoothly. Customers unfamiliar with what AV equipment they need to order can rest easy. Emily helps each customer determine the right setup they need to make their event a success.

Emily also greets visitors to the department and answers questions from members of the UC San Diego community at the second floor front desk. Her keys to providing good customer service are to be friendly, listen to customers, and provide prompt service.

In addition to these duties, Emily assists the ACMS Business Office with a variety of tasks to make sure that the department continues to run smoothly. These include helping with the department’s finances, like making sure that accounts are reconciled and Express Card charges are in order, as well as routine supply ordering and stocking.

Emily is thrilled be a part of UC San Diego. One of the things that she appreciates most is the opportunity to grow not just professionally, but intellectually as well. She is impressed with the way that her coworkers readily share knowledge with each other.

Outside of work, Emily enjoys reading books and comparing them to their film adaptations. She recently finished The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks in anticipation of the upcoming film. The best page-to-screen adaptation that Emily has seen is Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed. When she is not reading, she keeps tabs on two dogs and one cat at home.

The next time you visit ACMS, stop by 2101 in the Applied Physics & Mathematics building and say hello to Emily!

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: Kris Formica

Kris FormicaUC San Diego has more than 100 general assignment classrooms and lecture halls. Each of these rooms is outfitted with audiovisual (AV) equipment that enhances learning. This equipment is maintained, supported, and refreshed by members of the Classroom Technology Support team. Kris Formica, Principal Electronics Technician, is part of this expert team.

“We oversee the installation and upgrade of all the technology in all the [general assignment] classrooms and lecture halls on campus,” Kris said. “We’re responsible for making sure they’re operating and functioning at all times.” Accordingly, Kris is involved in the Lecture Hall and Classroom Refresh Project. The project replaces outdated AV equipment in general assignment lecture halls and classrooms with up-to-date equipment. Kris builds the racks that hold new equipment and programs the touchscreen panels added to rooms as part of the refresh project. Kris also uses his skills to perform AV installations for departments, upgrading meeting rooms and other presentation spaces. One notable project that Kris recently worked on was to program the Prebys Music Center’s AV system so it can be controlled by iPads instead of relying solely on the booth controls.

Sometimes AV issues with classroom equipment can be complex. To decrease interruptions during classes, Kris has an audiovisual equipment setup in his office that is identical to the equipment deployed in refreshed classrooms across campus, which allows him to “recreate almost any situation.” Working on these issues remotely allows Kris to troubleshoot problems without interrupting lecture or having to squeeze his work in during the break between classes. He can also swap out a piece of equipment that is not working properly with one from his office so classes can proceed as normal while he fixes the equipment in his office. Kris also uses the AV equipment in his office to test out new ideas without interrupting classroom use.

Kris is an extensive reader of classic literature. He recently read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and is currently working his way through Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole are among his favorite books.

Before coming to UC San Diego, Kris once worked in the kitchen of a comedy club that served dinner to guests before the start of the shows. “It was the East Coast/New York circuit for comedians so we had some huge headliners,” he said. Kris still enjoys cooking even if he no longer does so professionally.

Thank you, Kris, for everything you do to keep the media equipment in UC San Diego’s classrooms and lecture halls in top condition!

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: 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!

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 its@ucsd.edu. 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!