Summer Interns Discover Many Functions of viNGN

vingn 2019 interns lianni gardner and brandon joseph
Lianni Gardner and Brandon Joseph receiving certificates of achievement

The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN, Inc.) welcomed four young Virgin Islanders as interns for the summer of 2019! We were pleased with their enthusiasm and focus on their goals, and put them through the paces, sharing a realistic look at what it takes to maintain the territory’s only 100% fiber optic network.

Our two senior interns were Brandon Joseph and Lianni Gardner.

Brandon Joseph became fascinated with technology as a 6 year old, and spent his young life constantly expanding his knowledge. He selected to intern at viNGN after spending time in the service industry, in hopes of stepping fully into the technology field.

Lianni Gardner was recommended by the office of Senator Myron Jackson due to her deep interest in technology. She is inspired by enhancing service delivery with tech, and her innate skills are complimented by her open curiosity and intelligence.

viNGN Network Engineers Dalma Simon and Abed Hussein provided the training foundation with input from Field and Network Technicians and other staffers. The pair also learned about viNGN’s public service components, ongoing digital literacy and Public Computer Centers.

Brandon and Lianni were noted by staff to have a high level of technical facility, while at the same time possessing the ability to work with a team on a personal level. These qualities will serve them well in the ever-changing landscape of Information Technology as they interface with diverse individuals.

Brandon and Lianni – advanced tech perspectives

According to Lead Field Technician Celestino White, Jr., Mr. Joseph was active in OSP (Outside Plant) operations: “He pulled, and routed several different types of fiber… He constructed fiber enclosures, spliced in the enclosures, and mounted them at customer premises. He was exposed to, and trained in generator maintenance, and Facility Access Point maintenance. He also sat through flag men training, and conducted flagging operations. Lianni got to do a ride-along with one of our other Field Techs Pam Woodward as she was splicing the backbone, and she also learned about safety procedures.”

Brandon and Lianni received training in cutting-edge technologies, per viNGN Network Engineer Dalma Simon. “They both were learning Arduino programming and electronics, and were introduced to the Raspberry Pi micro-computer. They learned about Linux distributions and performed server installs as well. We also showed them the ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana and Filebeat) and its uses for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM); IDS/IPS Software Bro and Suricata for Cyber-security; integrating Open Threat Exchange (OTX) for security monitoring; and for fun, we did some 3D printing technology using the Enders 3D Pro.”

Lafwa and Masai – robust networks support business

viNGN also hosted two more interns from the non-profit Youth Arise, the Economic Development Authority and the Office of the Public Defender “EntrepreNow” program. The purpose of this initiative is to provide young men (15-19) with entrepreneurial skills and personal growth.

We were fortunate to receive students whose goals complimented each other. Lafwa Rolle is very interested in becoming an electrical engineer supporting telecommunications and other services, while Masai Ubiles wants to one day own a live streaming and gaming company.

vingn interns with lead field tech celestino white
viNGN Lead Field Tech Celestino White demonstrates fiber optic splicing for interns Masai Ubiles and Lafwa Rolle

The two of them spent time with Lead Field Technician Celestino White witnessing fiber optic splicing and learning about the strength and resiliency of the network. They then saw how the network is connected from the outside, to Facility Access Points (or customer premises as delivered by an ISP) to be distributed over an internal network.

The young men were also instructed on ways to guide and protect their respective clienteles throughout the establishment of a business with an online presence that includes web, cloud-based services, and social media. They each completed a viNGN training seminar for taking a business online, participating fully in the interactive session. “There is no question that their enthusiasm and brilliance will lead to great things for both of them,” said viNGN PCC Manager Anita Davis. “They will make their families and the community very proud.”

We have truly enjoyed our time with these exceptional young people and we wish them all the best as they continue to pursue their own excellence.

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