g i r f t y




CENIC established its internship program in 2012, and Viet Do has the distinction of being CENIC's first NOC Intern.  His initiative and aptitude had already caught the attention of his professors at Cypress College, so it's not surprising that he was the first student they recommended to us.

Viet's excellent work ethic and determination to improve caused him to become the first intern promoted to Trainee status, with an expectation that Viet would also become the first intern to develop into a full time network engineer on our Operations team. Viet met that expectation and has continued to elevate his skill set while forging a trail for subsequent interns, a number of whom have taken the same internship path to full-time positions at CENIC.

Viet gladly serves as a key resource for incoming NOC interns, trainees, and new engineers.  He goes above and beyond in helping new team members understand the multiple technologies and complex environment we support.  At the same time, Viet continually seeks opportunities to gain additional technical skills and knowledge himself, serving as both a superb role model and mentor.

For all these reasons and more, we're proud to add Viet to the constellation of CENIC Stars!



Chris Fuenty joined CENIC a mere 16 months ago in November of 2016. In this short time he has already made a lasting impact on the Systems and Tools team and more broadly on CENIC as an organization. In particular, Chris's outstanding work in the area of IT security, through his diligence in incident response and forensic investigation, as well as his contributions to the creation of ongoing security standards, is noteworthy. In addition to his accomplishments in security, Chris has led desktop support refresh efforts and worked on projects such as systems infrastructure, perfSONAR, and MOSAIC. As Chris continues to learn and grow, we look forward to many future achievements to come. We proudly celebrate Chris Fuenty as our first CENIC Star for 2018!



CENIC Star Nov. 2017 | STELLA KWON

Stella Kwon began her employment at CENIC as a NOC intern, then moved to an internship in Provisioning, where she was promoted to Provisioning Trainee late in 2015. During her time as a trainee, Stella gained sufficient provisioning skills to be promoted to the position of Associate Provisioning Analyst in the fall of 2017. In this role Stella supports the Provisioning team, collaborates closely with the Project Managers, and generally provides excellent support to the entire PMO, which translates into an optimal service delivery experience for CENIC members. She has consistently displayed the PMO's core values of working with a sense of urgency and active collaboration within and across team boundaries. Stella is a role model for her work ethic and spirit of team engagement, and we look forward to her continued growth within the organization.


CENIC Star Oct. 2017 | STANLEY HAN

Stanley Han joined CENIC in July of 2007 as a Network Engineer on our Operations team. Over the years Stanley has been promoted three times: first to Associate Core Engineer, then Lead Operations Engineer, and finally into his current role as Manager of Network Operations. Stanley's numerous contributions over the years have led to improved processes and helped shape the culture of excellence which characterizes the Network Operations team. His values, leadership, and enthusiasm for supporting the needs of our community are infectious and ensure CENIC will provide great service to our members for years to come.


CENIC Star Sept. 2017 | James Bellon

James has been with CENIC for nearly 10 years. During the past decade, he has quietly developed into one of the NOC’s most technically proficient network engineers. He is considered an expert in optical engineering at CENIC, and has worked on countless optical maintenance events and outages.

As a long-time member of our Grave Shift, James provides stability as the anchor for the latter half of each week. His humility is evident when he asserts that he does not consider himself a leader; his actions prove otherwise. Newer engineers who have spent time with James have cited his calm tutoring methods as a big influence on their technical development. Through his work with our Core Engineering team, James gained valuable experience in network design, which has allowed him to lead and complete many projects in Operations, often times collaborating closely and collegially with Core Engineering.


CENIC Star June 2017 | Nick Plunkett

Nick Plunkett joined CENIC as an intern in our Operations group in 2013. His appetite for learning and willingness to apply the lessons learned allowed him to advance into a full-time trainee position, then earned him a promotion to full-time Network Operations Engineer. In April of 2016, Nick was promoted, once again, to the position of Network Engineer on CENIC's Internet Services team, which focuses on external interconnections. As in his previous roles, Nick continues to be quick to learn new concepts and apply them to his ongoing work. Nick is always eager to help his colleagues, both internal and external. He is diligent in handling the many details inevitable in his work, manages multiple tasks effectively,
and consistently seeks to develop and refine processes for greater efficiency. 


CENIC Star May 2017 | Phat Tran

Phat Tran has been a network engineer on CENIC's Operations team since March of 2009. His strong technical skills were evident from his first day of work and have only grown during more than seven years at CENIC. Phat is a consistently solid contributor, often troubleshooting the most difficult issues. Whether working with colleagues at member sites, at other networks, or within CENIC, he's always willing to go the extra mile. Serving as a mentor to other engineers at CENIC, often by holding technical review sessions, is one of the ways in which Phat contributes to CENIC's professional development goals. He also participates in CENIC’s Security initiative, providing the operational perspective for our internal Security working group. There are so many ways in which Phat plays an important role in CENIC's success -- he certainly deserves to be honored as a CENIC Star!


CENIC Star Feb. 2017 | Gary Kazaryan

Gary Kazaryan began working at CENIC in January of 2014 as a Network Engineer on our Operations team, where he demonstrated a high degree of expertise and analytical skill. In February of 2016, Gary was promoted to Associate Core Network Engineer on our Engineering team, where he continues to distinguish himself. He is a hard working and motivated team player and a highly technical engineer who remains invaluable to CENIC's success. Gary is always available to his colleagues within CENIC for consultation on technical issues and consistently uses his technical expertise to provide efficient, high-quality solutions to CENIC member institutions. His "can-do" attitude and collaborative nature make him an obvious choice as a CENIC Star.


CENIC Star Jan. 2017 | RON ESTEBAN

Ron Esteban has been a valued member of the Operations team at CENIC for more than 13 years. He is one of the initial group of engineers hired by CENIC, and he helped develop many of the processes and procedures that we still use today. As the Lead Engineer on the overnight shift, Ron is invaluable in both his leadership and technical expertise. He works closely with our Core Engineering team on optical planning, providing valuable insight from an Operations perspective, as well contributing his vast knowledge as a subject matter expert on DWDM technologies.




Kao Saefong began his employment at CENIC in early 2015. His combination of experience working in higher education and private industry allows Kao to move seamlessly between "dot com" and "dot edu" interactions. We especially appreciate the way in which Kao maintains calm in hectic situations, often with deadlines looming. He is resourceful, hard working, and always focused on providing quality work.  Those who were at the 2016 CENIC Conference got to see Kao's fun side -- he manned the photo booth. What many people don't realize is that he also designed and built his own custom photo booth from scratch.

Kao graduated from one of our member institutions: Sonoma State University, with a double major, an early indication of the breadth of his skill set. It is not surprising that Kao has risen so quickly to become a CENIC Star!



Tunde began employment at CENIC in July, 2010, as an Operations Engineer.  In January, 2012, he was promoted to a new position at CENIC: VOIP Engineer. Subsequently, Tunde transitioned onto the Engineering team as an Associate Core Engineer in September, 2014.

Tunde has proved to be a valuable addition to the Engineering team. In January, 2015, he successfully completed a complex backbone router upgrade. This project included new elements not previously encountered at CENIC, and Tunde's thorough research and careful planning allowed for minimal impact to the community. Along with his proven knowledge of SBCs, IADs, call processing and termination platforms, Tunde has demonstrated the advanced knowledge of routing and switching so necessary in his current position. Tunde is extremely proficient and productive in completing deployment work and has developed into the key person anchoring deployment efforts on the Core team.  In addition to his technical expertise, Tunde consistently exceeds standard support levels to help CENIC members.

It's no wonder that Tunde is the CENIC Star for November!



Bill Graboyes began his employment at CENIC in 2013 as a Systems Administrator. He has been instrumental in developing and implementing key systems upgrades, from enhancing servers to replacing Apple OpenDirectory authentication with FreeIPA to implementing the Eduroam infrastructure here at CENIC and integrating it with our FreeIPA authentication system.  Bill is also leading the way in developing a software methodology for distributed server/VM management, which will improve efficiency for the Systems team. Bill is also one of the friendly staff assisting at CENIC conferences; he provides technical support for live video streaming of the conference program.

In recognition of his value to CENIC, Bill was recently promoted to Senior Systems Administrator. We look forward to his continued contributions to CENIC's success!



CENIC Star | Paul Nguyen

Paul Nguyen was hired as an accountant at CENIC in October of 2008. Since joining CENIC, Paul has worked diligently as a member of the Accounting team and been promoted to Senior Accountant. He has been equally diligent in pursuing professional development opportunities, and during his time at CENIC, he has attained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.

Paul’s teamwork mentality and his ability to take on and manage multiple tasks simultaneously have been critical to his, and CENIC's, success. This is especially true in his handling of the myriad responsibilities he assumes during audits, while continuing to handle all his other responsibilities, such as helping prepare financial reports on a timely basis.

His professional demeanor, knowledge, and reliability make Paul the epitome of a CENIC Star!


Cenic Star | Mark Lozada

CENIC is pleased to name Network Engineer Mark Lozada the CENIC Outstanding Achievement Awardee for the Month of May 2016.

Mark has been a network engineer on the Operations team with CENIC for over nine years. Because of his hard work, initiative, and willingness to help mentor new employees, Mark was promoted to Lead Engineer.Mark has continued to develop his technical expertise as a Lead Engineer, focusing on complex tasks such as network performance issues.

Mark exemplifies the term "lead by example;" he will never hesitate to take on complex maintenance tasks himself, to assist his colleagues, or to remain on shift after his normal shift has ended until any issues are resolved (even though he has three daughters waiting for him at home).

Recently, Mark has taken on the task of working on Pacific Wave related projects.  He attended the Pacific Wave meeting to represent CENIC and discuss the transition of operational support for the Western Regional

Network.  He is also working with Pacific Wave to create documentation for CENIC’s role in their disaster recovery plan.  These are just a few reasons why Mark is deserving of being a CENIC Star.  Thanks & Congratulations Mark!



CENIC Star | Julia Staats

CENIC is pleased to name Network Engineer Julia Staats the CENIC Outstanding Achievement Awardee for the Month of April 2016.

Julia joined CENIC as a network engineer in Operations, working in CENIC's 24x7 NOC. Through demonstrating initiative in developing her technical skills, Julia earned a promotion to Associate Core Engineer. She is extraordinarily productive and adept at juggling multiple assignments. At the same time, she makes each customer feel that her work on their behalf is the most important task at hand.

Along with competently managing her usual workload, Julia has also enthusiastically undertaken a new role:  serving as the technical engineering point of contact for non-technical staff who are working with libraries to collect data in order to connect more than 100 library sites to CalREN this fiscal year. Quickly following her work supporting libraries, Julia also assumed responsibility for providing technical consultation services to the University of California in support of the University's plans to connect the many Agriculture and Natural Resources field stations to CalREN.  Thanks & Congratulations Julia!


Brian Ismay

CENIC is pleased to name Systems Administrator Brian Ismay the CENIC Outstanding Achievement Awardee for the Month of March 2016.

As a  Systems Administrator at CENIC, Brian is always ready to step-up when needed and makes the effort to be aware and available during emergency situations. A power outage last year provides a good example of Brian's dedication. He had left the office for the day and was shopping in a store a short distance away when the store and surrounding neighborhood lost power. Brian was back in the office before we could press "send" on the text message asking him for assistance! His deep understanding of CENIC's systems and the needs of the organization, coupled with his "always available" attitude, make Brian an invaluable member of the Systems & Tools team.


Sana Bellamine

CENIC is pleased to name Core Engineer Sana Bellamine the CENIC Outstanding Achievement Awardee for the Month of February 2016.

After joining CENIC as an Associate Core Engineer, Sana further developed her skill set and was promoted to Core Engineer. She has since distinguished herself by developing a strong understanding of optical networking and taking over the optical design role for CENIC, which previously relied heavily on consultation with Cisco optical engineers. Sana was primarily responsible for engineering decisions related to optical equipment for the 100 Gbps CalREN backbone upgrade. She has also taken on primary responsibility within CENIC for the Pacific Wave infrastructure and for CENIC's support of SCinet, the high-performance network built each year in support of the annual Supercomputing Conference.

In 2015, Sana was recognized nationally when she was selected to participate in a National Science Foundation-funded collaboration called “Women in IT Networking at SC,” or WINS, a program dedicated to expanding the diversity of the SCinet volunteer staff and to providing professional development opportunities to highly-qualified women in the field of networking.


Michael Gong

CENIC is pleased to name Network Engineer Michael Gong the CENIC Outstanding Achievement Awardee for the Month of January 2016.

Michael is a network engineer in CENIC’s Operations group, a position he did not stumble upon randomly. Through a friend who was an employee at CENIC, Mike learned about the organization’s work and vision and made it his mission to work for CENIC. He was hired in October 2011 and has been a stellar employee ever since. 

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Mike has made notable contributions in several important areas to improve CENIC's operational capabilities, including optical tools development, CAMEL documentation, the development of case studies, and by developing a new deployment process for libraries.

For the last four years, Mike has continually worked to enhance his technical skills and consistently sought to utilize his broader set of skills in innovative ways to benefit the Operations team and the organization. Thanks, Mike!



CENIC Star Dec. 2015 | Cassandra Patrizio

Cassandra joined CENIC in 2006 as our video-conference coordinator, but her role rapidly grew to encompass multiple operational aspects of the organization. Now as CENIC's contracts manager, Cassandra Patrizio also coordinated most aspects of CENIC's recent annual conferences. If you enjoyed your experience at the conference, you have Cassandra to thank for her dedication, amazing organizational skills, and proactive attitude.


CENIC Star Nov. 2015 | Joe Gradillas

CENIC is pleased to name Coordinator, Administrative Services & Office Facilities Joe Gradillas as our first CENIC Star! Since joining CENIC in 2003, Joe has become a foundational member of the organization in such vital roles as purchasing, accounting, facilities management, administration, event planning, and a myriad other functions, in addition to coordinating the logistics behind the opening of CENIC's new Berkeley office. Joe is always helpful and willing to go above and beyond the day to day.