By Alexa Rivetti, IT Communications Coordinator, UCOP. “It’s fun to have been part of all the changes that have taken place over the last twenty-seven years,” said Jill Hishmeh (pictured third from the left), Director of IT Communications at UCR. “I was able to start here at UC Riverside when the network was very young. There were probably less than fifty devices connected to the Internet at that time,” she said. “Now there are over fifty-thousand connected to the campus network.”
Twenty-seven years ago, Hishmeh never would have guessed she would be looking back on an expansive technical career at UC Riverside. Though she has always had a passion for education, starting at Riverside City College at age fifteen, Hishmeh devoted herself to raising her family before she finished college. After ten years of working at home, she decided it was time to reenter the workforce, and figured that the quickest way to earn a good salary was to become a computer programmer. She found the work so enjoyable that she chose to make computer communications her career, and completed her degree while at UC Riverside, graduating just one year before her son, who is also a UCR alum.
With many notable projects under her belt, it’s hard for her to pick a favorite, though she’s especially proud of the fiber network she helped build on campus because it has provided a solid foundation for today’s network. While UCR has this wonderful infrastructure of contiguous acreage, there are areas unconnected to campus proper and therefore require high-speed radio connections – another of Hishmeh’s projects. “We use radios for multiple offsite locations. These are exciting projects because we do all the work. It’s our staff who climb the towers, install radios on rooftops, and do all the configurations – none of it is contracted out, so it’s one of my favorites.”
Hishmeh’s curiosity and desire to just “get things done” have helped her learn on the job and complete projects quickly. “I like to see the fruits of my labor, and it’s nice to be sitting here twenty-seven years later and look back on all we have built on this campus.”