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Engage With ENA: Local Students Connect with Industry Professionals

Engage With ENA: Local Students Connect with Industry Professionals

Over the summer, teachers from the Northeast High School Computer and Information Technology Academy (NEHS CITA) in Clarksville, Tennessee, visited ENA for a two-day externship. The group met with ENA’s technology leaders to discuss ideas for upcoming “challenge projects,” which are completed by students as part of final exams.

“Our next challenge project will be based on what we learned at ENA,” says Stefi Outlaw, one of four visiting teachers. “The students will get their first taste of networking by setting up mock Internet access to the new wing of our school. It is our first challenge focused on networking, and I am excited to see how well the students respond.”

Fast forward to September, and the students were set to begin their networking projects—kicking things off with a trip to ENA. Over two days, ENA welcomed 50 freshmen and more than 30 sophomores from NEHS CITA. Full of anticipation and curiosity, the students toured the office, learned about ENA’s network design methodology, and discussed career opportunities with some of ENA’s expert engineers.

The freshmen were eager to explore ENA’s main distribution frame (MDF) room, despite its characteristically chilly temperature.

“The MDF holds our core networking devices and servers that we use to run our office and develop our product offerings,” said Josh Lawrence, a principal engineer at ENA. “On our tour, we covered some of the room’s key features, including raised floors, battery backup, racks of servers and networking equipment, secure access, cabling, and air handling. The MDF is a small slice of our network and grants perspective on what a student studying technology can expect to see in their professional careers.”

The next day, sophomores took a deep dive into ENA’s scrum system with DeAndre Stevens, ENA’s senior business analyst. The purpose of scrum is to deliver outcomes with the highest level of value to the organization. This is achieved by a team comprised of a scrum master, developers, and a product owner that all work within an adaptable framework called the scrum framework.

“It was an honor and a privilege to spend time with the CITA students from Northeast High School and sharing my knowledge and experiences of scrum,” said Stevens. “The students actively participated in the discussion and it was apparent early into the session that they had some experience with scrum—which is no doubt the result of Mrs. Cloud’s implementation of scrum in her classroom. I look forward to working with Northeast High School and the Computer & Information Technology Academy in the future.”

With newfound networking know-how and bellies full of pizza, the students left prepared to design and execute a mock Internet access plan to benefit their peers and teachers.

We were thrilled to be a small part of NEHS CITA’s exploration of cutting-edge technology, and we are eager to see where their curiosity and knowledge lead them.

In 1996, ENA began with a vision to provide Internet access to every K–12 school in Tennessee. ENA made that vision a reality by creating the first statewide K–12 network in the nation. We consider this our bread and butter. ENA’s special brand of connectivity is tailored for educational access. It is an approach that goes far beyond bandwidth: it begins and ends with a commitment to customer care ultimately designed to enhance student potential.

Meredith Martin is a member of ENA's Customer Engagement team. She is passionate about creating memorable and meaningful experiences for customers and the education communities they serve.
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