West Virginia University at Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive Parkersburg WV 26104
Phone: 304-424-8203 | Fax: 304-424-8315
WVU Parkersburg students "wire" Chad Embassy.
CONTACT: Doug Weaver, assistant professor of computer science/coordinator of CIT program, 304-424-8330.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A small country in Africa now has a computer network in its U.S. Embassy thanks to West Virginia University at Parkersburg's Computer and Information Technology program.
Students in the college's CIT program recently returned from Washington, D.C. where they wired and installed the first ever computer network in the Embassy headquarters of the Republic of Chad.
Five WVU Parkersburg students and two faculty members were involved in the project. As a result, the CIT students can add "installed computer network in a foreign embassy" to their resumes.
"Learning outcomes for the students went far beyond computer networking," said Doug Weaver, coordinator of the college's CIT associate degree program. "They learned embassy protocol, international relationships, foreign politics and cross-cultural communication."
The project was the result of an on-going relationship with the college and Chad diplomatic officials. At the invitation of WVU Parkersburg, Mahamoud Adam Bechir, ambassador of Chad to the U.S., visited the Mid-Ohio Valley last fall. During a tour of the campus, he suggested the student project of networking the Chad Embassy.
General objectives for the project were to install a computer network which included both wiring as well as setting up computers on all four floors of the Chad Embassy, Weaver said. Connecting to the Internet and securing the network was also a requirement, he added.
"Skills assessment objectives from many of the studentsí CIT courses were included as part of this project," Weaver noted. "Essentially, the students performed exactly what the CIT programís purpose is all about."
In addition to Weaver, the project team included Joe Yglesias, student team lead, and a junior in the CIT/Bachelor of Applied Technology programs; Bethany Rae, CIT sophomore; Albert Sutphin, CIT sophomore, Luke Bailey, CIT sophomore, and Nichol Meeks, junior, as well as faculty member Jenny Dawkins.
The on-going relationship between the African country and WVU Parkersburg may result in additional learning and cultural opportunities for CIT students.
Weaver said Chad officials are interested in WVU Parkersburg helping to establish a program similar to the Parkersburg campus' CIT program where Chad students would learn how to set up and manage computer networks.
"Currently, Chad hires foreigners to manage any computer networks in its country because there is no available network engineering program," Weaver explained.
As thanks for their assistance, the WVU Parkersburg project team was a special guest at the ambassador's residence for a traditional Chadian dinner and received certificates of appreciation from the government of Chad.
Funding for the trip to the Chad Embassy came from several sources. NCT Consulting donated monies to cover renting a vehicle as well as the fuel costs. Hertz reduced the cost of the rental vehicle and State Electric discounted the cost of purchasing equipment needed for the installation. Wood County Schools donated surplus computers and various other equipment.
The Parkersburg campus is a Cisco certified local and regional networking academy. Local academy courses prepare students for both Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) national certifications. As a Cisco regional academy, WVU Parkersburg also trains and certifies Cisco Certified Academy Instructors (CCAI) both locally and worldwide.