Tour of NAP brings students to the start of the Internet.

“I can say that I have been to the beginning of the Internet,” said Kevan Edwards, office assistant in the Downtown Center and a student in the college’s Downtown MBA program.

With an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, Edwards has had a long-standing interest in the Internet. However, he never had the chance to see it up close until a recent visit to the Network Access Point (NAP) of The Américas. The facility routes Internet traffic among The Américas, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe for more than 450 customers—including the college.

Irma Becerra-Fernández, associate professor, Department of Decision Sciences and Information Systems, made the arrangements with support from the Natalia Echeverría Sol, director, corporate relations. Attendees included students from the Downtown MBA and the Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MSMIS) programs along with some of their bosses and colleagues.

The experience exceeds visitors’ expectations.

“I waited six months to see the start of the Internet,” said Elena Turcu (BA ’99), an MSMIS student and substitute teacher. “I was supposed to go on a tour in another course, but it fell through, so I was very excited by this opportunity, which gave me the chance to see one of the points where all Internet communication begins.”

The tour included a view of the equipment housed at Terremark Worldwide, Inc., in a hurricane-proof structure designed to protect the fiber optic cables that bring the Internet into the building and the control room where Internet traffic is managed.

“A lot stood out about the place, but I especially liked seeing where they keep all the servers,” Edwards said. “It’s so isolated.”

“I had heard the tour was amazing,” Becerra-Fernández said, “so I decided to set up an event for our MSMIS students, and since the facility is almost within walking distance of the Downtown Center, it made sense to include students in the Downtown MBA.”

She praised people at the NAP for making the experience so positive.

“Security is very tight there, and mostly, they do tours for prospects, so it was wonderful the way they accommodated us. They cleared all the students and organized the tour,” she said. “We study the Internet in class, but you really begin to understand how vast it is when you visit the NAP.”

MSMIS program offers inside view of technology and more.

For Turcu, the field trip was one more positive aspect of the college’s MSMIS program.

“The program is a good blend of business and technology,” she said. “Technology changes constantly, but the tradition has been to learn what you need to know today. Many other programs just focus on the technology—rather than on how technology integrates with business—which means that, in about three years, you have to start all over.”

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