IPP Information Technology holds computers intensive week

Debra Howell
May 22-26 was Spring Intensives week for the New Roots Charter School, a time when students take a break from the academic course load to focus their energy on a singular topic of interest.

May 22-26 was Spring Intensives week for the New Roots Charter School, a time when students take a break from the academic course load to focus their energy on a singular topic of interest. Ten students from New Roots spent a week with Infrastructure Properties and Planning (IPP) IT staff for a course exploring “Computers: Break, Make and Take!”

Representing IPP IT were Debra Howell, Kristi Cooley, Dan Klinger, Mike Baker, Tom Davies and Gabriel Goodwin. They created a course for students that began with dismantling computers to better understand how they work from the inside out, and concluded with the hands-on satisfaction of students making their own laptops from recycled equipment to take home.

Throughout the program, students were engaged in discussions on innovation and the latest tech news, and they visited several Cornell facilities to learn how computers are used for research, education and day-to-day work. These included Cornell server-farm tours with Rick Polcaro, Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) area manager, and Resa Reynolds, assistant director, Center for Advanced Computing systems and operations; utilities tours with Josh LaPenna, IPP central energy plant manager; visiting Cornell University Police dispatch and vehicles with Sergeant Steve Shirley and Officer Blair MacDonald; a firsthand look at Transportation Services and the Campus-to-Campus bus fleet with Carl Hoaglin Jr., assistant director, east campus service center operations; and a tour of the Cornell Dairy plant, led by Deanna Simons, quality manager and academic program coordinator. Notably, students were also impressed with the Cornell dining hall experience, a winner in the Princeton Review rankings for Best Campus Food.

Gabriel Goodwin, IPP systems administrator, enjoyed spending the week with students. “Their excitement about seeing and working on things that we take for granted is infectious,” he said. Students frequently reciprocated the positive vibe with friendly shouts of “Hey, Gabe!”

The IPP IT team is already looking forward to next year. Sharing in that sentiment, students indicated that the highlight of the program was the deep level of engagement between them and staff members. “This was the best thing ever,” said students. The experience was “amazing and conducive to learning.”

Debra Howell is the director of IPP information and technology.