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Panhandle State Programming Team Brings Home Two National Championships

Submitted by Kaley Conner, Panhandle State Collegian on 04/09/2018 Back Row: Jakob Popple, Elias Pitterle, Sean Skipton. Front Row: Kim Tuttle (advisor), Martin Jurado, Madilyn Rider, Melody Ethley, Grant Sparkman, Vicki Pasque (advisor). —Courtesy photo Back Row: Jakob Popple, Elias Pitterle, Sean Skipton. Front Row: Kim Tuttle (advisor), Martin Jurado, Madilyn Rider, Melody Ethley, Grant Sparkman, Vicki Pasque (advisor). —Courtesy photo

Goodwell, Okla. — The Oklahoma Panhandle State University Programming Team traveled to San Antonio this past weekend to compete in the U.S. Information Technology Collegiate Conference (USITCC). The conference hosted 31 colleges and universities with 225 students in attendance.

Panhandle State brought 20 students to compete in eight different competitions: PC Troubleshooting, Security, Microsoft Office Solutions, Database Design, Network Design, Business Analytics, Application Development and Systems Analysis and Design.

Two students, Sean Skipton and Grant Sparkman advanced to the Top 10 finals in PC Troubleshooting out of 90 competitors; Skipton and Sparkman both received Honorable Mentions.

Three students, Jockson Bilbrey, Sean Skipton and Grant Sparkman advanced to the Top 25 in Security Contest out of 90 competitors; Skipton took Second Place and Sparkman received an Honorable Mention.

Madilyn Rider and Melody Ethley competed as a team in Business Analytics against 20 teams and received an Honorable Mention.

Martin Jurado and Madilyn Rider competed as a team in Microsoft Office Solutions against 50 teams claiming Second Place.

Elias Pitterle and Martin Jurado competed as a team in Systems Analysis and Design beating out 25 teams for First Place, a National Championship.

Jakob Popple and Sean Skipton competed as a team in Application Development with 35 teams. They were selected as first place claiming the National Championship.

Advisor Kim Tuttle comments, “The CIS Faculty are very proud of ALL 20 students that attended the conference. Friday was an intense competition day and most students put in 12 hours of brain power towards three competitions back to back with only small breaks. We definitely pushed the students beyond their typical comfort level and the results show the competence and intelligence of our students.”

Rider states, “The hard work paid off. Now my name will forever be on the Carter Hall Wall of Fame! None of it would have been possible without my incredible CIS and Business Professors who’ve all taught me a tremendous amount. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to bring back some bling for Panhandle State!”

The conference also hosts guest speakers and a Career Fair for internship opportunities. Outside of the competition, the team was also able to have some fun through a team building exercise at Extreme Escapes solving several problems inside themed rooms to escape within an hour. Additionally, a tour was set up with several Panhandle State Alumni at USAA to give the students a sneak peek behind the scenes at IT operations at USAA.

Skipton, a first time competitor, reflects on his experience, “Even if you don’t think you know enough about a particular contest, you might end up surprising yourself with how much you actually do know.”

Panhandle State students remain among the most well-educated and well-prepared computer information students in the entire country.