Learning with Third-Graders (Video)

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Watch how this OneCommunity summer intern played a critical role during a demonstration of fiber optic technology for the youngsters at Charles Mooney Elementary’s Career Day event

By Jeremy Apple, OneCommunity Intern

—My visit to Charles Mooney Elementary for its Career Day event coincided with the end of my first week interning at OneCommunity. Prior to that, I had only peripheral knowledge regarding fiber optic networks. Luckily I had the chance to learn the fundamentals at one of the most basic levels: along with a class of third graders. If my easily-distracted counterparts could understand the presentation, surely I at least had a shot at grasping the intricacies of fiber optics.

The two Toms, my coworkers who accompanied me that fateful Friday (a former teacher and an engineer, respectively) both had significant experience in boiling down complex ideas into layman’s terms. This expertise was put to the test as expert engineer Tom Trusnik dove right in, starting out explaining exactly what fiber cable is (a series of thin glass threads in a plastic coating) and how it is used to transmit information (beams of light are shot through the cable, reflecting down to the other end where a receiver translates the light into something intelligible). To drive his point home, Tom brought along an actual receiver and let the class see up-close how the light is transmitted through the cable, which the kids examined with the awe of witnessing a real-life lightsaber.

The second part of the presentation was designed to show the “fiber ring,” or the network of fiber cable across a municipality, linking buildings and data centers for internet connectivity.

Little did I know that I would also have critical role in this educational operation, passing out glow sticks to the class for them to connect together to create their own ring on a smaller scale. Perhaps the most engaging part of our show, the ring of glow sticks represented the importance of connectivity between data centers, and was used to explain how a broken connection is pinpointed and fixed in the event of an outage.

By that point, I felt like I had been exposed to a whole new frontier of technological possibilities. At the end of the presentation, I was informed along with the rest of the audience that with this new-found knowledge, I had what it took to become a OneCommunity engineer.

Jeremy AppleAbout the Author: Jeremy Apple, a Cleveland Heights native, is spending this summer as a marketing intern at OneCommunity. He recently completed his second year as a Business/Finance major (IT Minor) at Syracuse University in New York State. Jeremy met OneCommunity’s CMO Jane Passantino last January at a Syracuse alumni function here and was intrigued by her description of OneCommunity. He reckons this is his first “real” job, and he’s excited to be working downtown, since he’s a big fan of everything Cleveland.

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