MAY 2015

SJR State IT student advances in NetRiders competition


St. Johns River State College student James Debruhl is one step closer to winning the ultimate prize for aspiring IT professionals – an all-expense paid study-trip to the heart of the Silicon Valley. Cisco’s NetRiders competition began in April with students throughout the United States and Canada vying in an online global networking challenge. Two rounds later, Debruhl is the only student from Florida advancing to the third and final round of the competition. Debruhl will compete against 20 other finalists today for a trip to Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California.

Created by the Cisco Networking Academy, the NetRiders competition gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their IT and networking knowledge through simulation activities in which they build, configure and troubleshoot virtual networks. Out of the 30+ eligible colleges and technical centers throughout Florida, SJR State is the only college in the state advancing in the competition.

“James is an outstanding student,” said SJR State computer science and technology instructor Stan Greenawalt. “He has the unique capability of solving the intricacies of network design, operations and troubleshooting.”

Debruhl has completed all four Cisco courses at SJR State and has earned several industry certifications, including CompTIA A+, Network + and the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT). “He will be a tremendous asset to any company he joins because of his work ethic and professional knowledge,” said Greenawalt.  

While Debruhl and four of his fellow SJR State classmates reached the second round of the competition, Cisco only allows one student from each college to advance to the final round. Martin Gagnon, Bradley Jewell, Christopher Jordan and Brian Newman were the round two participants from SJR State.

SJR State students were eligible to compete in the competition due to the College’s status as an authorized Cisco Networking Academy partner and after training in the Orange Park campus Technology Building.

According to Cisco, the rapid growth of networks has created a global shortage of people who are qualified to implement and maintain solutions, especially in places where networks are being built to promote economic development. At the same time, people need access to better training and career opportunities to successfully compete in the global economy. The Academy helps address the growing demand for information and communication technology (ICT) professionals while improving career prospects in communities around the world.

The coursework prepares students for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) industry certification exam. For more information regarding the Academy and the computer science program, call (386) 312-4183 or visit the website at



SJR State student James Debruhl advances to the third and final round of the Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders competition.