In early February, four Engler College of Business students traveled to Super Bowl LIV to work as Wi-Fi coaches for Extreme Networks. While on the job at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, these students were able to experience the magnitude of the crowd and appreciate the business side of all that goes into the largest televised event in the United States. But the story didn’t start there.
Last Fall, West Texas A&M University opened their football season in a new stadium on campus. With the continued growth in connectivity via mobile phones and other devices, Buffalo Stadium was built with technology in mind. To provide reliable and fast access to the internet now and in the future, WT selected Extreme Networks’ Wi-Fi 6 solution.
During football season, Extreme Networks suggested that WT launch a Wi-Fi coaching program to promote the new Wi-Fi network and educate the Buffalo Fans. Seventeen WT students were trained and worked at Buffalo Stadium to introduce fans to Wi-Fi 6 and to assist them with connecting their mobile devices to the network.
Extreme Networks offered WTAMU four Wi-Fi six coaching positions at Super Bowl LIV. In order to decide which four students would be given the opportunity to serve at the Super Bowl, members of the WT Wi-Fi Coaching Team voted for their peers based on their contributions and leadership during the Fall football season. The four students that were chosen to travel to Miami were Aditya (AJ) Jagdale, Beau Robbins, Tina Ward, and Matthew Webb.
According to a press release from Extreme Networks, 26.42 terabytes of data were consumed in the Hard Rock Stadium during the 2020 Super Bowl. This was the seventh year in a row that Wi-Fi usage had surpassed the amount used in the previous year.
Given the high-quality support our students provided at this year’s Super Bowl, Extreme Networks has already requested our presence next year where four more WT students will experience working at the largest annual sporting event in the U.S.
Aditya (AJ) Jagdale
Hometown: Puna, India
Major: B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems
Expected Graduation Date: 2022 – Current Sophomore
Coming to WT: I was looking for a college with good rankings and affordable tuition. The Internet is a good thing because that’s how I found WT. I was accepted to other schools on the East Coast but I was interested in Texas. I took an online tour and decided that WT looked like a great place to be. Funny story – When I first got here, I arrived early, before other students started moving on campus. When I had taken the online tour of WT, it showed people everywhere, which is what I’m used to coming from a city of 7 million people. That first day on campus, there was no one here! Another student and I decided to walk to Walmart and it took us 1.5 hours to get there. I was surprised that it took us that long and I was surprised to see that no one else seemed to walk anywhere.
Influential faculty or course: I actually switched from General Business to CIS because of Dr. Humphreys. I took CIDM 1315 from him which is an entry level programming course. He used The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to help us learn life skills along with coding. He was also very involved with getting to know me and has even kept in touch after the class ended.
Something he’s done that has changed the way he views things: Moving to the United States. When people think about the U.S., they think about tall buildings, like skyscrapers, and they think that everyone is rich. But Texas is completely different – it’s spread out and everyone drives everywhere. The first day I was in Texas, I looked out my hotel window and saw all the big trucks. They were everywhere and they were huge. Everyone in India walks or rides motorcycles. Having a big truck in India would be hard because of tight spaces.
Super Bowl Experience: First of all, it was really nice to work with the amazing Extreme Networks Team and it was awesome to get to travel with and get to know the WT CIO, James Webb. I love traveling and so I was very excited to go to Miami. We went to the beach and experienced fresh sea food while we were there. We saw huge yachts in the harbor – one was six stories high and was probably worth 40 million dollars. The owners traveled from Russia to see the Super Bowl.
As for the Super Bowl itself, it was awesome to experience such a sophisticated network that provided internet access to all those people – like 62,000 fans. I was also impressed by security at the Super Bowl – it was very organized. We saw a sniper team and the Air Force was monitoring the perimeter. Seeing the business side of the Super Bowl and all the money that is put into a single event, from food to advertising, was inspiring. It has fueled my passion to be an entrepreneur in the future.
Hometown: Fritch, TX
Major: B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems
Expected Graduation Date: December 2020
About his WT Experience: WT is big and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I moved here but it still has a small town feel. I love how connected WT is – you feel like you’re a part of the WT community, not just that you are attending to get a degree.
Influential faculty or course: I originally came to WT for the Engineering Program but once I was hired as a student worker in the IT department, I realized that the work I was doing there was more interesting. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I changed to a CIS major, but when I took James Webb’s networking class (CIDM 3385), I became especially interested. It is a very hands-on class because we used an online simulation to build networks. I realized that I would be able to use my previous engineering experience to tie in with IT.
Activities done during undergrad experience that changed the way he viewed something: Once I realized I was interested in networking, I was able to get a student worker position in networking at WT. I was working in this position when the new Buffalo Stadium was built on campus. That was the first project I had ever helped with from scratch – I saw how everything was put together from the ground up. I worked with a small team of people to install the 130 access points needed at Buffalo Stadium in order to provide Wi-Fi access. Knowing how much time and energy went into that project made me appreciate the work required to install over 1000 access points at the Hard Rock Stadium for the Super Bowl.
Advice to future WT Students: Try to work on campus. You’ll get to know more people, like faculty and staff, on a more personal basis. You’ll also learn more about the campus itself and will appreciate all the work and logistics that go into events and student life.
Super Bowl Experience: The whole experience was awesome. It was my first time to fly and my first time to see the ocean. The day of the Super Bowl flew by way too fast. I walked over 30,000 steps that day and was so impressed with the amount of work put into the infrastructure of the stadium to get it ready for the Super Bowl. They added special Super Bowl LIV signs to the outside of the stadium and they even planted roses in the shape of “Super Bowl LIV.” All the Extreme Networks workers were bussed to the stadium together and we got there around 12:30. They didn’t start letting fans in until 2:00 so we got to see the stadium when it was pretty empty. We worked through the first half and most of the third quarter but we were able to watch the 4th quarter.
IT at such a large event was a well-oiled machine. If we had user issues, it was easy to contact the Extreme Networks engineers that were set up in a box site near the press box. Experiencing this event solidified my throughs to become a network engineer.
Hometown: Amarillo, TX
Major: M.B.A. – Management (currently) – may change to a C.I.S. emphasis
Expected Graduation Date: May 2021
Coming to WT: I grew up in a foster family so I knew I wanted to go to college in Texas so I could use tuition assistance that is provided to foster alum. Originally, I didn’t even think about going to WT – I’m not sure why – but my counselor at Amarillo High School encouraged me to apply. I liked that it was a decent sized university but that it was close to home. I’m the oldest of eight so I wanted to be near my siblings.
I found out quickly that I loved the community at WT. It’s not a huge university but it’s not tiny either. I made a ton of friends and got very involved – I joined the Wesley where I became a leader on the worship team, the international team, and the mentor ring. I worked at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, and I was an Residential Adviser at Founders Hall.
I graduated with a degree in Corporate Communications and two minors – Psychology and English. Now I’m in graduate school at WT and I’m planning to go to law school next.
Successes in life she is proud of achieving: I lived a very hard life before being placed in foster care. Even still, I was taught important characteristics, like following my dreams, showing respect along the way, and never forgetting where I came from. However, I didn’t really have any role models to show me how to be successful. I am the first person in my whole family to graduate from high school and the first person to graduate from college. My siblings are following my lead and I’m showing them that it is possible to get out of the situations they are in. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I hope my siblings will see my example and believe in themselves enough to finish school and change the course of their lives.
Super Bowl Experience: When I first found out that I was one of the Wi-Fi coaches at WTAMU to be selected, I was stressed about how the trip was going to be paid for. However, the hospitality of West Texas A&M University and Extreme Networks, and others made it possible for us to go without having to worry about fund.
I didn’t go with many expectations and I was super nervous because I didn’t know who I’d be talking to. The stadium was so big! The amount of people there was surreal – we heard that every seat there was full and that the last seat was sold after halftime for $5600.
We met Richard Sherman’s parents. His mom had on a studded 49ers jersey that said “Mama Sherman” and big 49ers earrings. We were also pretty sure we saw Wiz Khalifa. He walked by Beau and I three times while we were standing in a tunnel. We finally saw his necklace that said “CAM” so that’s when we knew it was him. I offered to help him with the Wi-Fi but he nicely said no thank you.
The most impactful moment was not just meeting the famous, but being able to work with and learn from Extreme Networks and utilize that knowledge during the game to help patrons connect to and properly utilize the Wi-Fi.
Hometown: Amarillo, TX
Major: B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems
Expected Graduation Date: May 2020
Coming to WT: WT is close to home and convenient. Not only that but we are well-accredited – the Engler College of Business has AACSB and ABET accreditation. It is an accomplished university that offers lots of opportunities to students. I’ve been able to study abroad, find an internship in the Networking and Telecommunication Department, and attend the Super Bowl.
I transferred from Amarillo College and I’ve learned a ton of skills at WT. The College of Business teaches you how to teach yourself – some professors give ambiguous instructions on purpose to help you learn to find the information and research things yourself. This will be important to me in the future because I plan to work in cybersecurity which is always changing and I will always need to keep learning.
Biggest challenge in college: I haven’t done well in math and even had to re-take a few courses. It’s also hard to balance work and school. Sometimes you’ll work an awkward shift which causes you to get home at 2:00 a.m. and you still have an assignment to complete.
Advice to future WT Students: Check and use your student e-mail! I used to work at Best Buy and I talked to tons of students that didn’t realize they got 1 TB of storage and access to Office 365 for free. Learn what resources there are for students and use them.
Super Bowl Experience: The Super Bowl was fast-paced and crowded. Each person paid $5,000 – $10,000 to be there. so to think about the amount of money spent and the numbers overall was overwhelming. This was the first time Extreme Networks brought in students as part of the Wi-Fi coaching team and it’s not for everyone – you have to be willing to scan a crowd to identify people to approach and help with the network. You have to be willing to walk up to strangers to try to promote the network and be able to help if there is an issue with a fan’s device.
Also, the magnitude and raw energy of the crowd was amazing. The crowd was so loud at times that it felt like a fighter jet flying past. This experience has made me realize that I’m not aiming high enough. It gave me the motivation to aim higher with my career goals.
For more information about the CIS Program or other Undergraduate Programs in the Engler College of Business, contact COBundergrad@wtamu.edu or 806-651-2525.