March Staff Highlight - Jeanne Casares

This month, we are pleased to bring you an interview with Jeanne Casares, Associate Vice President & CIO for the Institute.  The Office of the CIO is a fairly busy spot but Jeanne was happy to sit down for an interview.

Tell us a little about your RIT career.

I just celebrated my 10th year anniversary here at RIT (which went by in a blink – time flies so quickly!) and have held the role of CIO at the helm of the Information Technology Services team since my arrival.

What do you enjoy the most about your role here?

Easy answer.  The people.  The ITS people are bright, funny, interesting and dedicated, just like our partners on campus.  This is on top of having great skill in their area of expertise.  They make it a great atmosphere to work in.  Our students are smart and interesting to work with.  It’s definitely the people that make RIT a great place to work.  Our folks are very engaged and a great team to work with.

Tell folks a little about “who” you are outside of your RIT experience.

Family is really important to me.  I have a great family - my daughter, siblings, parents, nieces and nephews.  My family means the world to me.  I have a wonderful extended family of friends and they are all true sources of joy.   Cooking is a passion of mine.  I love spending time with multiple generations making dishes that can be enjoyed and handed on down.  Family and food, what can be bad about that combination?  I love to cook and enjoy hosting Sunday dinners.  Making time to get together and break bread is important to me.

What project are you most excited about lately?

The DUO Multi-factor authentication project.  It was a smooth rollout and an important step for RIT to take.  We have over 24,000 MFA users here.  In today’s world, every step we take securing our activities and validating our own transactions ensure we are aware of our technological footprints. 

It is difficult to select from the various projects and areas at times.  Folks may not realize that we handle 70 project requests annually.  Typically we complete 50 projects.  RIT has 23,000 concurrent wireless users at any given time on campus.  We have over 42,000 unique wireless devices connected and 7,000 access points.  RIT receives 2.3 million inbound messages to 43,000 mailboxes.  Today we stop 86% of the inbound spam.  We currently have over 1400 websites in production. 

Our student coops are an integral part of our efforts.  We have SITO (Student IT Offices) support in our Web, Security and Tiger Center areas.  It is a great win/win for both teams – the student is able to use their skills and get “real-life” work experience and we benefit from their work too.

Information Security is important to RIT relative to how we manage risk. .  Not just for the Institutes’ regulations but overall protection in today’s global informational landscape.  We are always adding a number of initiatives to continually strengthen our security landscape. 

What is your favorite RIT event and why?

Without a doubt, it is welcoming the new students each year in the annual Tiger Walk.  I love watching our students at the start of their college career.   To watch bright new faces arrive and know what is in front of them … I find it to be a touching moment.   It gets me every time.  Tiger Walk never gets old and I try to never miss it. 

What is one thing about the RIT community might not know?

I lived in Mexico for 3 years.  I really enjoy Yucatan food and culture.  It’s muy bueno! 

To date, what are you most proud of?

My daughter Olivia.  While she is grown there is no greater joy than to see your child happy and successful. 

I take pride in her achieving her own goals and building out the life she wants.