ACMS Aces: Adam Davies

Adam DaviesThe Media Teaching Lab supports undergraduate media production courses across all departments. Media Production Specialist Adam Davies recently joined the team that keeps the Lab running.

Adam’s favorite part of the Media Teaching Lab is the equipment check out service. This gives students access to cameras, tripods, jibs, sliders, microphones, light kits, and reflectors are examples of items. “We have so much great equipment and honestly a lot of people don’t know about the equipment checkout,” Adam said. Getting a piece of equipment back in the checkout rotation is a source of particular pride for Adam, especially if it was one of the pieces he has learned to repair since starting at the Lab.

The Media Teaching Lab also provides a variety of video production workshops. Adam has taught courses on some of the cameras available through the equipment checkout service as well as lighting techniques. “The lighting [is] actually my favorite,” Adam said, because he gets to demonstrate how many different pieces of equipment students can checkout from the Lab to good lighting. Interacting with students in workshops and at the equipment checkout facility has been the most rewarding part of Adam’s work. “They’re very focused on getting better at their craft,” he said.

Adam Davies teaching a workshop

Adam (left) teaching a workshop on lighting

Adam graduated from the Pratt Institute with a degree in film. Prior to joining UC San Diego, he worked as a freelance stop motion animator in New York and is currently completing a stop motion short film that has been in production for several years. “We finished shooting in October and then two or three hours after I finished the last frame of animating I had to hop in a taxi at 3:00 a.m. to come to the airport to fly to San Diego,” he recounted. The film is currently slated to be finished this summer.

Visit the Media Teaching Lab’s website to find out how Adam can support your video production needs (plus see film and video tidbits curated by the Lab’s staff).

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

ACMS Aces: Bill Homan

Bill HomanWith 18 different units, Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) does a lot to meet the instructional technology needs of UC San Diego. Examples include making sure that classrooms have current technology and running Ted, the learning management system. The department continually seeks to make the most of its resources to provide the greatest benefit it can. Technical Project Manager Bill Homan is part of realizing this goal.

Bill describes his work as “setting a structure and a foundation and coming up with standards for how we want to approach projects. The goal is to find a way to do them more efficiently and more effectively.” Since joining ACMS, Bill has helped the department clarify its priorities to ensure that resources are assigned appropriately. “We’ve recognized what our priorities are and really tried to identify across the organization what is most critical for us and understand what needs to be done first and what needs to be done immediately thereafter, and so on down the list,” he said. Since starting with the department in February, Bill has found that ACMS “has an incredibly talented team that has done and continues to do amazing things. The goal is to organize and find out if there’s a way to more effectively manage all the projects against the existing resources that we have.”

After working as a project manager in the private sector for over 10 years, Bill jumped at the opportunity to bring his skills to UC San Diego. He still has “a smile on my face because I’m walking into a university that is a student-driven, campus learning environment.” He has gotten to know the campus by running after work, taking him not just around the track, but through the paths and trails that weave throughout campus.

A longtime resident of San Diego, Bill enjoys the fantastic climate and variety of things to do and see in the area. His travels are often related to baseball, his favorite sport. Destinations have included touring Major League Baseball stadiums to see games and visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He recently caught several spring training games in Arizona.

No matter what comes next for ACMS, Bill will help the department contribute towards our student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.

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


ACMS Aces: Lara Sievert

Lara SievertLara Sievert recently joined the ranks of audiovisual professionals at Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) as a member of the Media Event Support team.

Lara brings two skill sets to her position as a Senior Producer/Director. The first is video production. Lara records special events around campus at the organizers’ request. After collecting footage, she performs postproduction work like adjusting audio levels or color correction before delivering the finished video. The second is setting up, operating, and striking sound systems for use at special events. Sometimes Lara operates the sound system and records video on the same job. In particular, she particularly enjoys covering lectures that take place on campus because they give her the opportunity to learn about the leading edge research that takes place at UC San Diego.

Lara hopes that more of the campus will start using Media Event Support’s live webcast hosting service. Some of the webcasts she has worked on have even been streamed to other UC campuses. ACMS has provided webcasting services for the Dart NeuroScience Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center Seminar Series since Fall Quarter 2014.

Recently, Lara helped develop the new photography service offered through Media Event Support, researching the equipment and software needed. Lara has long had a passion for photography. Her first exposure came in courses she took in high school and college and she has continued pursuing photography outside of work.

Prior to joining ACMS, Lara worked at University Centers supporting meetings and events. She also worked in the television industry as a production assistant and later, much to her surprise, as an audio engineer. “I didn’t think I’d ever learn anything about audio, but what I learned is that good audio is essential to any video production,” Lara said. These skills help her create excellent audio at special events with Media Event Support’s microphones, speakers, and sound systems.

To learn more about what Lara and the Media Event Support team can do for your special event, visit the Media Event Support website. Welcome aboard Lara!

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

Student Scoop: Maria Andrade

maria-andradeAcademic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) employs more than 30 students as Help Desk/ResNet Technicians who help students, faculty, and staff troubleshoot a wide range of computing, networking, and account issues. Maria Andrade is in her first year as a Help Desk/ResNet Technician.

A Computer Engineering major from Sixth College, Maria applied to become a technician because she was looking for a campus job that allowed her to work in a very technical field. Not having a lot of experience diagnosing and fixing computer issues did not put her at a disadvantage when applying for the position. She received extensive training after being hired. “[The Help Desk has] tons and tons of tutorials and step-by-step instructions [for technician training] and everything’s at your disposal,” Maria said. “If there’s something I don’t know they’re able to teach it to me and better my skills.”

Maria’s favorite part of being a technician is working at the front desk in Applied Physics & Mathematics 1313, which takes students, faculty, and staff who walk in with computing issues. She frequently helps her fellow students with the campus Wifi network and computing accounts. “I like [the] front desk because you’re able to interact with the user and it’s less explaining or trying to navigate without being able to see what the user sees,” Maria explained. “Once you fix the problem it’s nice to see their face light up and the sense of relief and I definitely love that satisfaction.”

Being a Help Desk technician means that Maria has learned awesome tricks that she can share with other students. One of her favorites is the “lost and found” folder on computers in ACMS-managed computer labs. “A user’s computer crashed at Geisel and she lost her file. She hadn’t saved it recently so she was in panic mode,” Maria related. “We have a lost and found folder in all the computers so when a computer crashes you go into the lost and found folder [on that computer] and there’ll be a folder with your name and anything that was recovered during the crash…. She was able to recover the majority of her work and only a few paragraphs versus pages were missing.”

To other students considering becoming a Help Desk/ResNet technician, Maria encourages them to apply. “It’s definitely a challenging process, but once you make it through the training’s amazing and the work is amazing.It’s very rewarding. A few calls will be different so something exciting happens every day.” When you work at the Help Desk, “you gain a lot of knowledge, you meet awesome people, [and] the environment’s great.”

The next time you have a computing issue, visit the Help Desk where Maria and her fellow technicians will assist you. Keep up the great work Maria!

The Student Scoop features UC San Diego students and explores how technology provided by Academic Computing & Media Services intersects with their lives on campus. Keep checking back for more interviews to find out what students really think about technology at UC San Diego inside and outside of the classroom!

ACMS Aces: Rafal Tamulski

Rafal TamulskiThe Computing Infrastructure team supports the technology services that Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) provides to UC San Diego. Rafal Tamulski has recently joined Computing Infrastructure to contribute his software expertise to keep everything running smoothly.

Rafal helps manage the software deployed in ACMS computer labs throughout campus. He ensures that software is reloaded when needed and installed correctly so it is ready for use by students. He pushes software updates from ACMS servers to lab computers, which minimizes downtime. Rafal also responds to requests from faculty to load specific software in computer labs to support their courses.

Though he can perform many of his duties from the ACMS offices, Rafal sometimes has to work on problems in the labs themselves, working around scheduled courses. He takes great pleasure in troubleshooting issues and solving them, especially persistent issues.

Rafal is one of the many long-time UC San Diego career staff who work at ACMS. Prior to joining ACMS, he worked with an academic department and the School of Medicine. Rafal was excited to join ACMS due to the number of computers he gets to work with and the opportunity to use his skills in remote management of computers.

When he is not on campus, Rafal enjoys taking weekend trips to points far and near. One of his favorite trips is to Julian, especially in the winter to get a taste of snow. He also enjoys regular trips to the deserts around San Diego County.

Welcome to ACMS Rafal!

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

ACMS Aces: Robert Magallanes

Robert MagallanesAcademic Computing & Media Services supports over 1,900 computers across 120 labs throughout UC San Diego. Senior Electronics Technician Robert Magallanes is part of the Hardware Technical Services team that repairs the hardware on these computers. Thanks to the variety of operating systems deployed across campus, Robert regularly works on Windows, Linux, and Apple workstations. As a certified Apple and Dell technician, he can perform repairs on in-warranty computers, servers, and printers on campus, minimizing downtimes and increasing access to computers in the labs.

Another large part of Robert’s job is installing network cable in computer labs. Whenever a computer lab is renovated, he installs cable from server cabinets throughout the lab to individual workstations. When labs have outdated cables, newer generation cables are installed to accommodate the computing demands of UC San Diego students. Making sure that these cables are organized neatly to present a clean and uncluttered space is a point of particular pride for Robert. “When…everything’s all neatly piled up and running smoothly to the outlets and everything works perfectly, that’s just the best.”

Robert has been at ACMS for 12 years. Over the course of his career he has worked on a large variety of projects that allow him to learn new things constantly. One of the best parts of his job is the fact that he gets to go all over campus when visiting computer labs and see what makes UC San Diego incredible. “Sometimes you walk into [a place like] the Engineering buildings and you’re like, ‘Wow, look at this. It’s amazing,’” Robert said. “If you take just a little time and look, you’d be amazed at what’s on campus.”

In his spare time, Robert is an avid sailor. Having been on the water all his life in one form or another, he became involved in the sport after joining a sailing club. Recently, Robert has participated in the Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally, which runs from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, serving as a sail trimmer for his team. Robert described his duties saying, “You have to look at the sails when you’re sailing and see how [they] fill and what shape they’re in. That determines whether you let the sail out a little more [or] bring it in…to get the best wind out of it so you go as fast as possible.”

Given his love of the ocean, it may not be surprising to learn that Robert is also a proud Parrot Head. He has attended several Jimmy Buffett concerts, as one might guess from the Parrot Head mug in his office. “It’s just upbeat, fun-loving, and it’s all about having a good time. It’s sailing and enjoying life.”

For all his work keeping computer labs in top condition, we think that Robert deserves a cheeseburger in paradise. Thanks Robert!

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

ACMS Aces: Alvin Angeles

Alvin AngelesAlvin Angeles is one of the video production experts in Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) who constantly creates engaging videos. He creates videos for campus departments through the Media Event Support recharge service. Typical projects include recording live events (like lectures, seminars, or special events) and producing scripted videos that highlight what makes UC San Diego amazing.

One of his favorite projects was a video showcase of the School of Medicine’s Biomedical Research Facility II, which opened earlier this year. “Visiting the building during its final stages up until it got occupied and even being there for the ribbon cutting ceremony was pretty cool,” Alvin said. He also enjoyed creating a video for UC San Diego’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility, which is housed in a dome structure near the ACMS offices. “I got to go take a peek and see what equipment is in there, how it’s run, what everything is about, and put together a video about the facility so that the [facility’s Principle Investigator] could use it to renew their grant,” Alvin said. “It was really cool getting to see a new place that I park in front of every day from another perspective, working with the [researchers and] seeing what it is they do.”

Alvin recently filmed instructional videos for use in a flipped course in the Department of Economics. He got to work with the innovative Learning Glass system when making the videos. “The coolest part [of the job was] knowing that these videos are viewed by hundreds of students and that they’re really learning the material. It’s something they can go to as often as they need to, at their own convenience, to reinforce the content.”

One of Alvin’s favorite pieces of equipment to work with is the jib camera mount. “Whenever we’re out in the field with it, people stop…and say how cool that is.” The footage he records with the jib is just as impressive as the equipment itself. The jib allows Alvin to create smooth moving footage, often from interesting and unusual angles.

Alvin also collaborates with departments across campus to install digital signage systems. He helps them understand the capabilities of UC San Diego’s digital signage and how they can take advantage of them. “Once they learn about the different things they can do with digital signage—besides text you can have photographs [and] videos—a lot of people get excited about the variety of options and the ease with which [they] can add or update content.”

Another way Alvin applies his media expertise is assisting with in-person audiovisual support. He responds to trouble calls received by Classroom Technology Support, addressing problems with the projector or other media equipment in classrooms and lecture halls. He also performs day-of event services, setting up and operating sound systems and media equipment.

Contact Media Event Support to request Alvin’s help with creating an amazing video, setting up digital signage, or recording a special event for your department. Whatever media service you need, he can help make it happen. Thanks Alvin!

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

ACMS Aces: Chase Livingston

Chase LivingstonElectronics Technician Chase Livingston installs and supports audiovisual equipment across campus. Projectors, projection screens, touch panel control systems, and audio systems are primary examples of what he handles on a daily basis. Though classrooms and lecture halls represent the majority of his work, he has also worked in computer labs, which allows the labs to be used for courses as well as individual study. One of the Chase’s favorite pieces of technology are the touch panel controls that are added to all refreshed classrooms and lecture halls. “All the touch panel stuff is pretty cool. [They] beat the heck out of analog buttons,” Chase said. A feature that he particularly appreciates is that the touch panels are customized for UC San Diego’s instructional environment.

Chase also provides in-person support for faculty when they have a problem with audiovisual equipment in a lecture hall or classroom. Though he has only been with Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) for three months, Chase has already experienced what an impact this support can have. He has received “two full auditorium ovations,” for providing support during lectures. “It was pretty cool.”

Chase comes to ACMS from a local low voltage electrician company where he was a foreman, lead installer. “We were in the process of building charter schools and installing their data and AV infrastructure,” he says. He appreciates the UC San Diego environment, location, and getting to work in one location (something he didn’t get to do previously).

A guitar and bass player, Chase enjoys listening to live music throughout San Diego. He prefers the intimate atmosphere of smaller venues, his favorites being the Casbah, Winston’s, and House of Blues. Recently, he has been listening to La Sera, who he says has “really pretty melodies.” He even caught The Protomen in person. “Their first two albums were very theatrical, dystopian, based on a Megaman story and that was cool.”

If you ever have trouble with the audiovisual equipment in a classroom, just call Classroom Technology Support to get immediate assistance. You might even meet Chase yourself if your problem requires in-person troubleshooting!

ACMS provides audiovisual installation services not just for classrooms, lecture halls, and computer labs, but also for department meeting spaces. To learn about audiovisual solutions for your space, contact Fred Marques.

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: Mark Hendrickson

Professor Mark Hendrickson of the Department of History uses Peer Instruction in his courses to increase student engagement. He recently shared how and why he applies this pedagogy to his courses this video interview.

Academic Computing & Media Services (ACMS) helps faculty integrate the i>clicker student response system into their courses. Learn more about clickers and how they support Peer Instruction 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!

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!