IMPACT
Cisco Networking Academy Provides Experience of a Lifetime July 3, 2019 | LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.

While the world-class athletes competing on golf’s grandest stage undoubtedly were the focus at this year’s U.S. Open championships, there was another group of all-stars working tirelessly behind the scenes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of their own: the Cisco Dream Team.

The Dream Team is a group of top students from Cisco’s Networking Academy, which for the past two decades has empowered more than 9.2 million students in 180 countries around the world by providing education, technical training, and career mentorship. Only the very best students are chosen for the Dream Team, which works side-by-side with Cisco engineers at major events around the world to ensure the world-class network performance that partners and customers rely upon. Thanks to Cisco’s role as the Official Technology Partner of the United States Golf Association and its championships, a few lucky Dream Team members were chosen to support the on-site network at both the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston and the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“[Cisco’s Networking Academy] was an attractive option for me because I have prior service in the military, and we dealt with Cisco routers and switches. So when I heard that my college offered a program where I could learn more about them, I was able to take advantage of that,” said Dream Team member Tiffany London, who worked on-site at the U.S. Women’s Open. “It has opened me up to different opportunities, and allowed me to put what I’ve learned with in a real-world experience.”

“I love being at the U.S. Open,” added Tim Clark, a member of the Cisco Dream Team at the 2019 U.S. Open. “I grew up in this area, and I have basically been surrounded by golf my entire life, so it’s nice to be a part of an event like this.”

The students gained invaluable hands-on experience working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment where downtime is not an option. At the U.S. Open, the Cisco networking team installed 400 access points throughout the course to create the first-ever Connected Course with end-to-end wireless connectivity for fans, including the first test of Wi-Fi6 at a major sporting event.

"The USGA strongly believes in preparing tomorrow’s leaders and annually provides hundreds of internship opportunities across the association, our championships, and with Allied Golf Associations, so we were excited to debut the Cisco Networking Academy at our Open championships this year,” said Bryan Miranda, senior director of USGA Partnerships. “With Cisco, we have built a first-of-its kind connected championship experience and it was rewarding to know that the network not only benefited our fans, but also provided invaluable career training for rising technology students.”

Past Dream Team members supported other major global events such as the 2018 Global Citizen Festival New York, the NBA All-Star Game, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and more. Cisco’s Networking Academy has been training the workforce of the future since 1997, and is committed to fostering the technical and entrepreneurial skills that people, educators and companies need to change the world for the better.

Click here for more information about Cisco’s Networking Academy.