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McMurry University AITP students show off their computer skills


ABILENE, Texas –McMurry University’s team of Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) students tied for an overall 3rd place finish out of 20 schools (McMurry being the smallest) that participated in the AITP Region 3 Student Conference, October 11-13, at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette. About 240 students competed in eight different computer-related contests. McMurry had only three students participating.

Joseph Delong, a senior dual-major in Computer Science and Mathematics, earned 2nd place in the Mobile Applications contest and also participated in the Applications Programming contest. The Mobile Applications problem statement required him to determine the current GPS location, retrieve and display a riddle from a database, check the users answer, and keep score. The Applications Programming problem statement required him to create a user interface that allowed a user to interact with a movie theater system database. But that was not enough computer programming for him – he started competing in another online programming competition sponsored by State Farm while we were on the highway just west of Eastland TX. He logged into the contest site at 8:00 p.m. via his cell phone, downloaded the instructions, and transferred them to his laptop. He then spent the last hour of the trip working on his laptop, with the project submission due by midnight!

Nathan Leetsch, a senior Business Computer Information Systems major and Computer Science minor, and Kim Martinez, a sophomore Business Marketing major, participated as a team and earned 2nd place in the Microsoft Office Solutions contest. They qualified as one of the top 10 teams during the initial round of competition, advancing to the final round where the problem statement challenged them to use many of the advanced features of Microsoft Office. They had to integrate data from Excel and Access with a PowerPoint presentation that served as a company’s IT proposal to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8. After the award was presented, the contest judge told them that they were the only team that produced all of the correct numbers from the analysis of the data!

In addition, students attended lectures that addressed “hot” topics such as making money building apps, building a startup gaming studio, and the next big job boom in the IT industry. Recruiters from numerous potential employers like GE, USAA, and State Farm accepted résumés and answered questions about career opportunities and internships – some of them even conducted job interviews. Thestudents even visited the “Alligator Pond” in the middle of the campus and managed to experience some authentic Cajun food.

The AITP Student Chapter would like to extend a special “Thank You” to the Science and Math Advisory Board for funding this trip. The students plan to start practicing for even tougher competitions at the National Computer Conference next April in St Louis MO.