AT&T; has been busy at its Bedminster Global Network Operations Center (GNOC) and AT&T; Labs in Florham Park mentoring New Jersey students.
The communications giant hosted a job shadow event last week for approximately 100 local high school students, many from Passaic County Technical Institute (Wayne), as part of its ASPIRE program.
It also invited another 60 students from Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Woodbridge High School and Lincoln High School in Yonkers, N.Y. to Florham Park for an “Inventibles” education and mentoring program.
The ASPIRE students received a tour of the GNOC, which NJTechWeekly.com can confirm, is a 21st century marvel. Huge screens monitor AT&T;’s backbone network which show all traffic including wireless, landline, IP, Internet, undersea cables, and so on. AT&T; says that on an average day its IP backbone network carries more than 23.7 petabytes of data.
The event celebrated the milestone of reaching 100,000 students nationwide through the AT&T;/Junior Achievement Worldwide Job Shadow Initiative, one of ASPIRE’s programs. Bedminster joined 62 other locations across the U.S. highlight the national dropout crisis and demonstrate how Job Shadow is helping students connect the dots between school and the world of work.
At the “Inventibles” event, students were able work with seasoned AT&T; scientists. “The scientists at AT&T; Labs in NJ average two patents a day; hold eight Nobel prizes and have 120 years of technology experience. The students have only known a “digital age” of cell phones, virtual reality and constant connectivity,” an AT&T; spokesperson said.
Students heard about good and bad inventions, some from AT&T;, and then were divided up into small groups working in “invention” workshops on ideas that might be possible 5 years from now, such as remote education, wearable wireless (personal assistants) and live two-way web casting.
Each workshop was timed. The students heard the scenario and then had 15 minutes to come up with an idea before going to the next workshop. AT&T; likened the event to speed dating for inventions. Judges from AT&T; selected a winner: a group of students who invented an interactive refrigerator, a spokeswoman said.