This blog post is the seventh in a series focusing on members of the Index staff. Today we introduce Jon Niola.
What is your role at the Index?
I am the Information Technology Manager here at the Index. I manage the day-to-day technology needs of the Index. That includes everything from managing virtual machines on the cloud to deploying new computers for staff or writing code to enhance the accessibility of our web applications.
Before working for the Index, what was the most interesting job you had?
In the late 1990s I worked at a technology startup in New York City trying to improve Internet search. We used algorithms to make a search more appropriate to the context. For example, if you searched for the keyword “jaguar,” were you searching for the automobile or the animal? Our algorithms used recent searches and site visits to try and narrow the scope.
When you’re not working at the Index, what do you like to do in your spare time?
If the weather cooperates, I absolutely love to hike, and I spend quite a bit of time on the trail, getting some exercise and fresh air and enjoying the tranquility.
Do you have a favorite work of art or favorite place you’ve visited?
Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. I had always planned on visiting it when I went to Paris, but to me it was just a bucket list, “must do” item. I never expected it to be so incredible in person. I had a few thousand dollars of camera gear with me, and no photo I took does justice to the beauty of it, especially the upper chapel with the incredible stained glass.
What’s your favorite building or spot to sit on campus?
This is a tough call. I can’t choose between Nassau Hall and the university chapel.
The chapel is beautiful, and at certain times of the day when the angle of the sun is right, you get these beautiful colors on the stone as the sun filters through the stained glass.
The history buff in me appreciates Nassau Hall. The fact that it once served as the capitol of the United States is fascinating to me. We are blessed with a lot of great local history.
Coffee or tea?
Yes. I often drink coffee in the morning, but I do love a good tea.