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Humans of SCinet: Q&A with SC20 Edge Network Volunteer Angie Asmus

humans of scinet

angieAngie Asmus, cybersecurity team lead and security analyst at Colorado State University, is this year’s chair of the SCinet edge network team. Angie was introduced to SCinet in 2016 as one of seven women selected to participate in the NSF-funded Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program. During the past five years, her trajectory on the edge team has included serving as deputy chair in 2018 and chair in 2019 and 2020.

Due to the virtual nature of SC20, we will not be building the cutting-edge SCinet infrastructure that our attendees have to come to expect as part of their SC experience. This feature aims to spotlight the dedicated volunteers and generous contributors whose tireless efforts and enthusiasm have helped shape the SC experience over the last 30 years.

  • Years as a SCinet Volunteer: 5
  • SCinet Team(s): “Born and bred on the edge team”
  • If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess? Healing


How would you explain SCinet and what you do as a SCinet volunteer to a family member or friend?

We are a group of volunteers working together over the span of a year to design and deliver the fastest network in the world for the SC Conference.

 

What was your path to start volunteering with SCinet? What keeps you coming back as a SCinet volunteer each year?

I was introduced to SCinet as a WINS awardee in 2016, which supported my participation and landed me a spot on the network edge team. I keep coming back because it provides me an opportunity to do something different from the cybersecurity-focused role I have in my day job, administering our campus security infrastructure, including our firewalls, VPN solution for remote work as well as site-to-site VPNs for third-party integrations, two-factor authentication, F5 load balancers, and security within our NSX-T environment. SCinet is an environment where I can take my technical skills in a different direction, and with the edge team I am able to do hands-on work by providing Layer 2 access for the conference. Also, the people are what makes SCinet special. We are one big family, and we learn from and rely on each other. It’s something really unique to be a part of.

 

You are co-chair of the SCinet network edge this year. Tell us more about your team and responsibilities.

In a typical year, the edge team provides commodity network connectivity for the SC Conference. This includes wired connectivity for the conference workshops and tutorials, Student Cluster Challenge, SC Committee spaces, and SCinet Network Operations Center, as well as the infrastructure for the conference wireless network. To deliver these services, our team deploys switching equipment in all of the network closets around the convention center, exhibit hall, and meeting rooms.

We do a lot of work ahead of the conference to design our architecture and switching configurations based on the convention center layout and network requests. During the conference, we typically spend our time deploying switches and troubleshooting any issues to ensure a positive experience.

All seven volunteers on this year’s network edge team are returning SCinet volunteers. Most were on the edge team last year, but we also have a volunteer who transitioned from another SCinet team. I think this speaks to just how rewarding the SCinet volunteer experience is. They are a great group who know how to make the hard work a lot of fun!

With SC20 going virtual, our team won’t be designing and delivering that commodity network connectivity this year. Instead, we’re pivoting to provide virtual content and support to our colleagues who are preparing for a great virtual SC experience this year.

 

The SCinet edge team has been working hard since January in preparation for SC20. What is one accomplishment that you are proud of?

With SC20 going virtual, we won’t be building SCinet in Atlanta this year, but I’m still proud of the work our team did to prepare for SC’s newest host city. We learned a lot about the layout of the convention center in preparation to design the switching architecture—and we were able to conduct most of that work virtually in lieu of on-site visits. We documented all this information, along with lessons learned, for future SCinet teams that may need it.

Ultimately, I’m also really proud of our SCinet and SC volunteer community, which has continued to work well together despite the challenges introduced by the pandemic. This is a unique time that has necessitated new strategies for communication and collaboration to keep us all together as we strive to deliver the best SC experience possible.

 

In addition to volunteering with SCinet, what do you do for fun?

I have four kids, so most of my free time revolves around them. As a family, we enjoy anything sports related, both playing and watching. We are avid Minnesota Vikings and Iowa State Cyclone fans!

Learn more about SCinet and Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS).



Amber Rasche, SC20 Communications, SCinet Liaison

Amber Rasche is a technical writer with N-Wave, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s enterprise network. In 2016 she had her first SCinet volunteer experience as a participant in the NSF-funded Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program. SC20 marks her fourth year volunteering with the SCinet communications team.

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