g i r f t y




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.  She is a role model for her work ethic and spirit of team engagement, and we look forward to her continued growth within the organization.  We are proud to name Stella Kwon our CENIC Star for November!



Stanley Han joined CENIC more than 10 years ago -- 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 | 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.

We are happy to award James the CENIC Star for September 2017, and it's a great way to celebrate James's 10 year work anniversary!


CENIC Star | Christian Mercado

Christian came to CENIC in November of 2008 with little background in network engineering. He started out in an entry level position on our Network Operations team. Over the course of almost nine years, he has transitioned from a novice to a very capable network engineer.

Christian always displays a positive demeanor in handling any task or project and a helpful attitude with everyone with whom he interacts. Whether he’s assisting our associates with network troubleshooting, training a new hire, or helping our NOC interns, Christian has a unique ability to relate to everyone.  CENIC interns and new hires consistently cite Christian's positive influence on their development.  On the technical side, his knowledge of networking has advanced tremendously, and he can often be found working major outages, resolving network performance issues, or providing guidance to newer engineers on troubleshooting network alarms and events.

We congratulate Christian on being the CENIC Star for August, and we look forward to his ongoing contributions for many years to come!


CENIC STAR | Gary Chin

Gary Chin joined CENIC in February of 2016 as the second Project Manager in our Project Management Office. He brought with him seventeen years of project management experience and an enthusiasm for handling tough assignments.  We've done our best to meet Gary's expectations by assigning him several demanding projects! For his part, Gary has done an excellent job of managing his projects and delivering results. He works closely with our member institutions to understand their project requirements and is equally attentive to internal coordination with other CENIC teams. By closely tracking action items across organizations and workgroups, coordinating communications and schedules, and identifying and obtaining a resolution on roadblocks, Gary exemplifies the ethos of project management. We're proud to name Gary our CENIC Star for July!


CENIC STAR | 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. As a rising star at CENIC, Nick is an excellent choice to be named the CENIC Star for June.


CENIC STAR | 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 | Simon Hernandez

Simon first came to work as a network engineer at CENIC in August of 2004. His enthusiasm for our community and his love of learning allowed him to grow quickly.  Although a move out-of-state caused Simon to leaveCENIC, when he planned his return to California in 2011, we were happy his first thought for employment was to return to CENIC.

During his years here, Simon has contributed in innumerable ways.  When CENIC decided to develop a Project Management Office, Simon volunteered to transition into a new Project Manager role, working closely withCENIC management to develop both the position and the new group. As an added benefit, Simon's work as the PM for the library broadband project has led to the vastly improved handling of library recruitment and deployment activities. Individually, each of these efforts presented significant challenges, all of which Simon has handled with his usual enthusiasm and rigor.

Simon has brought a higher level of accountability and transparency to the library project, has actively participated in recruitment and development of new members of the Project Management team, and continually seeks new opportunities for professional growth. It's easy to see why Simon is the CENIC Star for April -- Congratulations, Simon!


CENIC Star | Parinaz Gharagozlou

Parinaz Gharagozlou joined CENIC almost five years ago in mid-2012. During her time here, she has grown her technical skills and actively sought new opportunities to expand her scope of work. For example, she is currently leading technical training sessions for new employees in Operations.  She consistently volunteers to assist the Core Engineering group on any projects requiring additional resources.  Her customer service skills are second to none when it comes to assisting our associates, several of which have suggested that she is a great candidate for the CENIC Star program.  We happen to agree -- there is definitely a bright future for Parinaz, our CENIC Star for March of 2017, at CENIC!


CENIC STAR | 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 the February CENIC Star. Congratulations, Gary!



Ron Esteban has been a valued member of the Operations team at CENIC for more than thirteen 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 Grave 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. It is no wonder that Ron is the first CENIC Star for 2017. Congratulations, Ron!




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 | Wayne Wilson

Wayne has been working as a Network Engineer in our Operations group for just over 2 years. During this time he has been highly motivated to develop his technical skills and has quickly proven himself a valuable resource.  Wayne constantly volunteers to work on complex maintenance activities, volunteering to assist Core Engineers whenever needed. Along with his day-to-day responsibilities, Wayne consistently identifies additional ways to help out.  He has taken the lead on implementation of our Content Delivery infrastructure, handled a number of high priority Core requests, and improved documentation in Twiki.

Wayne holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology from Queensland University of Technology. Prior to joining CENIC,Wayne was an avid rugby player, and he has traveled to several countries as a member of a demonstration rugby team.

These are just a few reasons why Wayne is deserving of being a CENIC Star.  Thanks & Congratulations!


CENIC Star | Joseph Goodwin

Joseph joined CENIC in 2005, starting his career as a Network Engineer in our Operations group. He has been promoted multiple times, first to Core Engineer, then to Infrastructure Engineer, and is now the Manager of our Infrastructure and Provisioning team. In his current role, Joseph juggles management responsibility for his group with individual work in the area of fiber infrastructure and management of our colocation facilities. His efforts to design fiber solutions for the University of California Health Systems has been instrumental to the success of this demanding project. His ability to assess complex situations, escalating when appropriate, and to make good decisions that strike the balance between the requests of our members and CENIC's operational imperatives make him a CENIC Star.

These are just a few reasons why Joseph is deserving of being a CENIC Star.  Thanks & Congratulations Joseph!


Cenic Star | Will Black

CENIC is pleased to name Core Engineer Will Black the CENIC Outstanding Achievement Awardee for the Month of June 2016.

Will Black started his career at CENIC in 2008 as a network engineer on our Operations team, supporting NOC services. He has worked his way up in the organization, receiving promotions to Associate Core Engineer and then Core Engineer.

Since becoming a Core Engineer two years ago, Will has been taking on responsibility for some of the highest levels of engineering activity in the organization.  He is now among the most valued senior network engineers at CENIC, regularly assuming primary ownership of large-scale projects, such as layer-3 backbone capacity planning, space and power capacity planning, and leading efforts related to some of the most complex layer-3 troubleshooting incidents.  Other CENIC engineers and our colleagues within the larger community have come to rely on the deep technical skills and experience that Will provides.

These are just a few reasons why Will is deserving of being a CENIC Star.  Thanks & Congratulations Will!




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!



Cassandra Patrizio

CENIC is pleased to name Contracts Manager Cassandra Patrizio as a CENIC Star!

Cassandra joined CENIC in 2006 as our Video-conference Coordinator, but her role rapidly grew to encompass multiple operational aspects of the organization. In addition to maintaining CENIC's contracts, Cassandra Patrizio also coordinated most aspects of CENIC's 2015 Annual Conference.  If you enjoyed your experience at the CENIC Annual Conference, you have Cassandra to thank for her dedication, amazing organizational skills, and proactive attitude. Thanks, Cassandra!


Joe Gradillas

CENIC is pleased to name Coordinator, Administrative Services & Office Facilities Joe Gradillas as a 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. Always helpful and willing to go above and beyond the day to day.