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Florida State University


For the last 20 years, all electronic devices on the Internet have used the same address location system (Internet Protocol version 4). This standard for communication was created when only 10,000 devices existed, at a time when no one foresaw the astronomical growth of the Internet, which now has over 500 billion addresses. In the 1990's scientists began developing a new version, which will theoretically support a nearly uncountable number of addresses: an undecillon.

Difficulties may arise when it comes time to switch to this new protocol. Losing connection to the Internet during transition could be catastrophic for any organization, particularly for an educational institution. Florida State has an elite team of network professionals to help manage the transition, but are all State colleges and universities equipped to do so? What if some choose not to transition? If they are planning it, at what stage are they?

For his undergraduate Honors in the Major thesis, Daniel Casale is focusing his research on these questions. "By collecting data from almost 60 institutions of higher learning in the state of Florida, I hope to identify the perceived issues with the adoption of Internet Protocol version 6. This should help us work toward a streamlined solution."

Daniel will be using Diffusion of Innovations, a theoretical framework that breaks down the process of adopting a new technology. He says, "This framework is accepted in the scientific community, which will help validate my assessment." His research goals end at identification of the issues, but he plans to continue his research when pursuing a graduate degree in Management.

In the meantime, he's doing all he can to promote Information Technology, a field that is currently experiencing a shortage of professionals. Because of his efforts and his academic achievements, he was invited to attend the STARS Alliance Summer Workshop Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, funded by the National Science Foundation. The workshop brought together students from 13 schools to brainstorm solutions for increasing participation, particularly those of minorities and women.

Each participating university has a STARS Alliance with students serving as part of the Student Learning Corps (SLC). Under the coordination of Professors Lois Hawkes (Computer Science) and Mia Lustria (Information), SLC members participate in recruiting, bridging, and retention activities. This semester, Daniel is teaching four girls from a local middle school the basics of web design. "I do my best to guide them," says Daniel, "while giving them the freedom to have fun with their projects."

Such mentoring will serve him well in the future, for his "ultimate goal" is to become a high school teacher. "I have been given so much by my teachers. I want to give back to tomorrow's youth."

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