ACMS Aces: Nick Colias

Nick ColiasStudents get a lot of support from Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS), whether it is a UC San Diego email account or access to computer labs. One of the biggest ways that ACMS supports students is through ResNet, which provides Internet access to all residential students (and there are almost 10,000 of them!), and the ACMS Help Desk. Trained and experienced Help Desk/ResNet Technicians are on hand to help resolve a wide array of issues that students may have. These issues can range from malware infections to connection interruptions in the ResHalls and everything in between. What happens when a nuisance is particularly tricky? That’s where Nick Colias, ResNet Coordinator, comes to the rescue.

As ResNet Coordinator, Nick provides what’s known as “third tier support” for both ResNet and the Help Desk. Issues that the Help Desk receives are first handled by Help Desk/ResNet Technicians. This is the first tier of support at the Help Desk. If the issue is more complicated it rises to the second tier, which is comprised of highly experienced and knowledgeable lead technicians. Issues that stymie the lead technicians move up to Nick. As a result, he addresses some of the most challenging conundrums that the Help Desk receives. Nick also provides first tier coverage for emergency and off-hours service outages.

Nick works closely with Administrative Computing & Telecommunications (ACT), which manages the network infrastructure for UC San Diego. Since ResNet provides service to students through this network, Nick has become very familiar with ACT’s network so he can collaborate better with customers and ACT when issues arise. When issues with the ResNet network are reported, Nick identifies the general area where the problems are occurring. He then passes this information on to ACT, who works quickly to restore service.  Nick’s initial investigation helps expedite networking issues, resulting in shorter service outages.

Among his many projects, Nick has recently been working on improving the security of the ResNet network. The goal is to decrease the amount of malware on the student computers. Malware infections often seem like something that happens to “everybody else.” However, the Help Desk removes malware from more than 600 machines every quarter. The initiatives that Nick is currently working on are designed to stop malware before it ever gets on computers.

Nick encourages students to take full advantage of the Go Virtual computing labs, which allow students to run University-licensed software like Matlab, Solidworks, and Autocad on their computer from anywhere with an Internet connection. As someone who deals with students on a regular basis, Nick feels the convenience of Go Virtual is one of the best parts of the service. “[Students] could be at their own home or hanging out with their friends instead of being in the CSE basements all night,” Nick said.

Nick first joined ACMS as a Help Desk/ResNet Technician student worker. What might surprise many people is that even though he is now the ResNet Coordinator, Nick is still an undergraduate student. Just as interesting is the fact that Nick took eight years of martial arts before arriving at UC San Diego. Take notice misbehaving ResHall networks: Nick can literally kick some sense into you.

Tritons in residence halls across UC San Diego can rest easy knowing that when there are issues with their Internet connection or cable TV, Nick Colias is on the case. In the meantime, wax on, wax off Nick.


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