NMO Lab Works with Cisco Engineers to Further Student Experience

At the Network Management and Operations (NMO) Lab, established with funding from Cisco Systems, Inc., and supported by CITRIS at UC Santa Cruz, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience resolving real networking issues, while engaging industry collaborators. The Lab’s most prominent industry collaboration partner is Cisco Systems, Inc., which has been supporting the NMO Lab with equipment and funding since its inception in 2007.

Cisco engineers provide NMO Lab Interns with simulations of actual complex networking and operational problems faced at Cisco, which the students then research and work to resolve with the guidance of their faculty sponsors. In most cases, this process is initiated when faculty sponsors select projects presented by Cisco engineers that align with their areas of expertise, and then select student interns whose interests and fields of academic study also align with the objectives of that specific project. NMO Lab Interns work with Cisco management and engineers on these projects as well. This model allows student interns to gain an understanding of how to work productively with academic and research faculty, as well as industry managers. Furthermore, this collaboration between NMO Lab interns and Cisco personnel provides the students with an opportunity to learn practical business practices and establish professional relationships within the field.

Participants of the NMO Lab strengthen their academics by experiencing the real-world applications of their research, earning independent study credit, and completing entry-level certification for network technicians. The Lab currently has five undergraduate and four graduate student interns, and of the 36 interns who have previously worked in the Lab, eight are now employed by Cisco. Collaborating interns from UC Davis have recently been included in the Lab as well.

The Lab thrives on collaboration, and as such, we value these new-found University collaborations and look to expand our number of industry partnerships through the continued identification and evaluation of the practical technological and complex networking problems facing major industry today.