Danielle S.

Network Specialist, Enterprise Command Center (ECC) — ISC Technology Services
Portait photo of Danielle S.

ISC service(s) or programs/projects:  Unified Communications, Spectrum (internal monitoring system) administration, IRIS internal endpoints database, Tier 2 support for network management, on-call after-hours support for network connectivity on campus

Length of time in ISC:  Joined ISC and Penn in 1999

Penn service outside ISC:  Setting up workshops for Bring Your Children to Work Day

Previous work experience:  I was in a high-school internship program in ISC and joined the department full time when I graduated. That worked out really well for me and for other students in that program..

Tell us about a challenge at Penn that made you proud to be part of ISC.

A number of users, mainly in the Wharton School, reported performance degradations and disconnects on the wireless network. To get a more precise view, we set up a live demo and performance snapshot with client participants, all our engineers, the Local Support Providers (LSPs), and with vendors on standby.  We were able to do a live capture of what was going on with traffic. We could relay key information to the vendors in real time. By bringing all the stakeholders together in the investigation and analysis session, everybody felt heard, they knew we were giving it our full attention, they could see and understand the challenges, and they felt involved in the solution. That was a great success.

What’s an interesting technical or business problem you’ve faced with ISC?

Quite a while ago, there was an incident of widespread intermittent network connectivity being reported. A user would leave for the day and when they came in the next day, they had no network access. We tried everything: swapping out cables, moving computers to switch ports, different stacks. Nothing worked. It turned out to be a driver issue for a specific model of computer. By default, the machine’s Network Interface Card (NIC) goes to sleep when there’s no activity, and the software driver wakes it up when needed. The software was failing to wake it up — so when the drivers were updated for that model of computer, the problem was resolved.

What do you like best about working with clients?

The level of cooperation — they are happy to help with the troubleshooting. Penn’s LSPs are very hands-on and supportive, and willing to help to remedy situations and resolve networking issues. They want to be involved, to understand our challenges, and to offer as much help as they can.

What lasting effects did the pandemic have on your role and your work?

Speaking as a single mother of two, it’s allowed for better work-life balance. It’s more seamless. On the other hand, getting the onsite work done can be more challenging, and sometimes delayed due to post-pandemic scheduling issues, such as backups in the supply chain.

What are you passionate about in your free time?

I enjoy my fishing! Local creeks and streams — we get mostly catfish and eels, either from the Schuylkill or its tributaries. It’s all catch-and-release: there are warnings on the PA Fish & Boat Commission website not to consume fish from those waters. So it’s just for fun.

I also love taking my kids to museums and supporting their passions. My son has taken part in Mighty Writers, since he wants to write for movies. My daughter and my son also participated in a Penn program for playwriting and performing arts on campus. It’s wonderful the opportunities Penn offers, not just to staff, but to families.

What would you like people at Penn to know about you?

I like to work hard. That’s what I can think of at the moment — maybe because I’m at work!